Oral Reply by Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Construction Noise Limits, on 14 October 2020
Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment (a) how are the current specified maximum permissible noise levels for construction work determined; (b) how are the noise levels measured; and (c) when were the noise limits and penalties last reviewed.
The National Environment Agency (NEA) stipulates maximum permissible noise limits for construction sites to protect public health. The noise limits take reference from the World Health Organisation’s guidelines and are tailored to the local context. To minimise noise nuisance to residents, the noise limits are further differentiated based on time bands, with more stringent limits imposed at night from 7pm to 7am and on Sundays and Public Holidays, which is when people are more likely to be resting.
To measure the noise levels generated from their worksites, construction companies must install noise meters at the nearest affected buildings and monitor the noise levels regularly. For projects of contract value more than $3 million or those which involve demolition or piling, contractors are required to install noise monitoring systems, which allow real-time monitoring of the noise levels by both NEA and the contractors.
My Ministry regularly reviews the construction noise limits and penalty regime. For instance, NEA tightened the noise controls and implemented the no-work rule in 2011 to prohibit work activities at construction sites located within 150 metres of residential premises and noise-sensitive premises, such as hospitals and nursing homes, on Sundays and Public Holidays. The penalty regime was also reviewed in 2014. NEA is working with other agencies and industry stakeholders on an ongoing review of the construction noise limits and penalty regime.