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Unbearable drilling from neighbour's renovation

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AnnabelG
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Unbearable drilling from neighbour's renovation

Postby AnnabelG » Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:23 pm

I live in a landed property and my neighbour in front of us is making massive changes to their house, attempting to add another level to make it 3-storey high.

Their workers have been drilling non-stop from 9am-6.30pm daily, including Saturdays for the last 4-5 weeks. The noise made is just unbearable, especially when I am home almost all the time daily. I downloaded an app and measured the noise level; it borders around 60-70dha on average and at peak points, reached almost 100 dha.

I know I could complain to NEA about this, but I'm afraid that this will delay their progress and many more days of drilling. I'm not sure there is much NEA could do. Of course, people will say noise is unavoidable when your neighbours renovate and we have to be considerate; but imagine listening to a powerful drill 24/7.

I think the noise is a huge strain on my mental health and sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy listening to that drill.

Could someone (preferably a builder) tell me roughly how long it takes to demolish enough to add another level? I just hope to hear some positive news that could probably save my sanity. If this continues for another month, I think I will go crazy.

Side note: Sometimes I feel like even if noise is unavoidable in any renovation or construction, having a bit of consideration like informing your neighbours on the duration of noisy renovation wont hurt. I know no one really does this in Singapore cos people dont care. Noisy work shouldnt be allowed on Saturdays too. But again, people dont care.

- Ranting from a person who is going bonkers soon -

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sundaymorningstaple
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:36 pm

http://app2.nea.gov.sg/data/cmsresource ... 532365.pdf

Remember, time is money. The longer they take the more it costs and the longer it will last.

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:47 pm

Get in contact with the owner, via the builders. Find out the work being done, and the timetable.

Just being in touch and more involved will help a lot. It's being the 'total uninvolved victim' that can really get to you.

That's step one. I don't know about 'noise enforcement' action in this country, or if it even exists. But M-F 9-5.30+Sat 9-12.30 is pretty standard for 'permissible noise beyond the boundaries of the property' in the UK.

ps Good luck! Been there done that, it's horrible to feel a victim of such a situation.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 21 Oct 2013 11:59 pm

For those who complain to NEA on the noise level at the construction site, here is NEA's standard reply.

2 We are sorry to learn of your unpleasant experiences on noise from the construction activities at the above sites. We also apologise for the delay in responding to you as we are monitoring the situation at the sites for a longer period.

3 The National Environment Agency (NEA) controls construction noise using a set of maximum permissible noise limits stipulated under the Environmental Protection and Management (Control of Noise at Construction Sites) Regulations. The allowable noise limits are more stringent for the night time (10.00pm to 7.00am) and on weekends than the noise limits for the daytime during weekdays. The noise limits are also more stringent for premises that are more sensitive to noise disturbances, e.g. hospital, home for the aged, schools and residential areas.

4 Construction companies are required to take noise abatement measures and manage their works to comply with the noise limits. However, the Regulations do not restrict the working hours for the contractor at the construction site.

5 You may wish to visit NEA’s website: http://app2.nea.gov.sg/topics_noise.aspx for more information on noise control at a construction site.

6 The contractor responsibles for the project at the above worksite has installed two real time noise monitoring equipment at the nearest buildings to the site, to measure the noise levels generated from the construction works on a continuous basis. NEA would monitor and check the noise reports continuously for non-compliance. The contractor at the site had been fined $5,000.00 for causing loud noise exceeded the permissible noise limit in Mar 2010.

7 Notwithstanding the above, we have required the contractor to implement necessary measures to further minimise causing noise nuisance to neighbouring residents, especially at night and during weekends. NEA will continue to monitor the construction site closely and will take another stern enforcement actions against the contractor should he carry out works that generate noise exceeding the permissible noise limits again.

8 If you need further clarification or would like to provide feedback on the noise situation at the construction site, please call NEA hotline at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255 632).

9 We thank you for your feedback.

Pollution Control Department. National Environment Agency


http://app2.nea.gov.sg/anti-pollution-r ... -pollution

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Postby AnnabelG » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:19 am

Thanks SMS & JR8 for the info and advice given.

I think the idea of getting updates from the builders on the work progress might work. You have just saved me from insanity Jr8! I wonder why something as simple as this has not occurred to me :shock:

Last Sat when the noise was so loud it startled my young daughter who started crying, I almost flew next door to shout at the workers. Luckily I cooled down enough not to do it. It's not their fault anyway. This is what frustration and anger could do to you!

I hope to avoid getting the NEA involved and display some neighbourly spirit. I have children and I guess it wont be nice to ruffle the feathers of the new neighbours and breed some neighbourly hostility. :o

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:50 am

When you're in the thick of it, riled up on adrenalin, it usually doesn't occur to you, you are instinctively seeking dispute and combat; retribution.

Bite your lip, and try and be friendly to the builders, they likely don't even know they're causing a problem, they're usually just pawns.

So be nice to them, and then politely raise the issue with the owner.

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Postby Wd40 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 1:06 am

I think there are noise cancelling headsets. May be you want to try them.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 6:27 am

Simple ear-plugs may also help a lot (check Guardian) but what kills is the duration.

We had an entire school knocked down by pneumatic hammers just next to our condo. It took them close to 6 months to do this, 8-7, every day (shorter on Sat nothing on Sun). We lived at the last floor (16th) and after few weeks we just felt incredibly tired. I simply could not imagine how people closer to the ground level survived this.

Perhaps your neighbor could install some noise shielding screens (if not in place already) but if he is a private owner I doubt he would be willing.

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Postby Max Headroom » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 9:43 am

Not sure just how true it really is, but I've heard that noise is worse the higher you go. I do know that my mate's place in the next tower, on the 15th floor is super noisy, traffic-wise, compared to mine, although mine is just on the 3rd floor. His place is unbearable. Weird.

Noise here in Singers really is an on-going thing, part and parcel of such a young dynamic place I guess. I find Singaporean peeps are way more impervious to noise of any kind than outsiders, perhaps as a result of being in the thick of it for most of their lives.

But goodness, it feels so good to be in a place where the silence is deafening. It's positively therapeutic.

During the n-bloc craze everybody seemed to be upgrading; it was endless days of non-stop drilling, jack-hammering and grinding din. Lucky things have calmed down considerably.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 10:48 am

@MaxH
Noise transmission is a very complicated matter IME. I say that as it behaves in quite an unpredictable way. As a baseline there are two kinds, ambient and impact.

Ambient is like a neighbour having a loud argument, or playing music. Another example is a school close by, they have outdoor assembly in the playground with the Head addressing them via a PA. Her voice carries a loooong way, certainly half a mile. It goes past our building, over the road, and is reflected back off a big condo there, back over the road, into our building, on the side *opposite* to the school.

Impact is like, the neighbour upstairs lazily bouncing a golf-ball on the floor, over and over, or walking around in stilettos. Or builders using hammers. It can travel through the buildings structure, and can take unpredictable routes via structural walls, steel beams and even plumbing.

There's plenty of other info out there on the web. Googling something like 'Soundproofing noise transmission' might work. Some of the companies that sell soundproofing, have helpful FAQs explaining in consumer-terms re: the subject of noise.

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Postby Max Headroom » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:02 pm

Thanks for that JR. Our neighbors prefer bouncing marbles over golf balls. But apart from that, our place isn't too bad.

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:46 pm

Max Headroom wrote:Thanks for that JR. Our neighbors prefer bouncing marbles over golf balls. But apart from that, our place isn't too bad.


We're pretty lucky too here. We get the aforementioned assembly-PA each morning, but little else. In comparison I've previously had from neighbours, the golf-ball, noisy sex*, saxaphone practise (midnight, a few nights a week), piano practise (all day, most days), loud/deaf granny-chatter from an adjacent window all afternoon, every day, a ballet-choreographer upstairs practising 12-step routines across the ceiling above, over and over, cabled auto-door closers slamming doors every minute each morning from the flat below, neighbours who had open house parties to 3am 4* a week with 50 random people traipsing in and out of the house at ALL hours. ... and so on!

* Short fat Fugly Aussie chick, with a big black boyfriend... 'Oh Marvin, Marvin! [thump thump thump, as the bed-head hit the wall above], Oh Marvin, Marviiiiin [thump...]' etc from 1-3am.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 12:49 pm

Sounds just about normal to me. For Singapore, anyway.

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Postby Max Headroom » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 1:16 pm

Wow, 1-3 am. :shock: Hats off to Marvin :)

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 22 Oct 2013 1:38 pm

The external noise is very much surrounding based. You may have it just amplified and channeled through by the walls of the buildings around or just opposite, shielded by greenery or some other buildings. An example, the condo I wrote about with the school being demolished was separated from the busy street by a few low-rise buildings and a number of trees so I believe the noise from this street was lower on the 1st-2nd floor then in our apartment. But when it came to the hammering it was just directly behind the fence so it was a pure distance factor with no obstacles in between.
Where we stay now (high floor again) the busy street is directly next to the condo. Our flat is much more quiet comparing to the previous place but I don't think it is better on the lower floors as there is nothing in between them and the street and there are buildings probably 10 storey high all along the street so they got not only the direct noise but also what bounces from the opposite buildings (our floor is above).


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