More funds to fight noise pollution at building sites

Complaints about noise dropped from 16,600 in 2013 to 14,900 last year, new figures from the National Environment Agency (NEA) reveal.

One of the reasons for the fall, according to NEA, is the Quieter Construction Fund (QCF) which will be extended until 2018 and have its funding cap increased.

QCF was introduced two years ago by NEA to encourage companies to adopt innovative technology to reduce the impact of construction noise.

Since its inception, 41 applications have been approved to receive grants totalling more than $1.3 million. It has also helped to reduce violations of permissible noise limits from 483 in 2013 to 330 last year.

The enhancement of the fund will benefit companies purchasing more expensive equipment such as the silent piler, which costs about $750,000 - around $550,000 more than conventional ones.

Said Fong Peng Keong, NEA director of pollution control department: "If you are on a site where a contractor has applied for QCF and has already put in place solutions, you will experience a drastic drop and feel the noise level has improved."

From next month, the funding cap of the purchase of quieter equipment will be raised from a maximum of $50,000 to $150,000 per item.

The average grant given to date is $32,000.

NEA chief executive Ronnie Tay said: "We are aware the costs of quieter construction technology and noise mitigating measures have remained high and the industry welcomes more funding assistance."

MA Builders attracted more than 20 complaints and a fine from the authorities while working on a development in Jurong in 2013.

Since successfully applying for a $40,000 QCF grant to buy an $80,000 noise control barrier, which it has implemented at its new River Valley construction site, it has received less than 10 complaints and has had no legal noise violations.

"It's almost impossible to meet the limits in residential areas where our construction site is only 30m away from other buildings," said manager Kent Ang.

"QCF complements productivity because work will not be stopped for noise violations and there will be no monetary loss through fines as well."

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