Tag Archives: National Environment Agency

Haze: Developers take precautions

Singapore’s property developers are closely monitoring the haze situation that has seen the city-state blanketed in smoke from forest fires in Indonesia for much of the week.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached a record high of 401 at noon on Friday lunchtime – putting air quality in the city-state will into the “hazardous” range.

Chng Kiong Huat, Executive Director, Property Services, Far East Organization, told PropertyGuru: “In view of the poor air quality conditions, Far East Organization is working closely with our partner contractors to conduct thorough risk assessments of all on-going projects.

“We consider the health and safety of our construction partners an important priority and support all contingency and mitigation measures to protect the construction workforce from the unhealthy levels of pollutants rendered by the haze.

He added that possible measures being considered include issuance of protective masks and the imposition of stop work orders if the air quality persists at the very unhealthy level.

“Together with our partner contractors, we will continue to monitor the situation and implement the necessary safety measures as recommended,” he said.

A spokesperson for CapitaLand said: “CapitaLand is closely monitoring PSI readings to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of our staff, tenants, shoppers and serviced residence guests are safeguarded.

“The Group is making appropriate masks available to all its 1,960 staff in Singapore and has informed them of precautionary measures. Staff at all of our properties have also been briefed to advise our tenants, shoppers and guests on these precautionary measures.

“To ensure that the Group responds to such contingencies in a timely and effective manner, CapitaLand Group managers are empowered to assess and allow staff to work from home when the need arises.

“At our worksites, we have worked closely with our main contractors and sub-contractors and stepped up vigilance over workers’ health, safety and well-being. Besides briefings on precautionary measures, we are working with our contractors to ensure that appropriate masks are issued. We have also stopped work temporarily when visibility is affected and at some parts of our projects that are under construction.”

A spokesperson for City Developments Ltd (CDL) said: “In response to the worsening haze conditions, CDL has issued an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) alert to all our builders to remind them to be vigilant and to comply with all advisories and guidelines issued by the relevant government agencies including the National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Manpower.

“The builders are to monitor the situation closely and must conduct risk assessments to take the necessary EHS measures to protect the welfare of their workers on the worksite which is a top priority.

“CDL employees have also been activated to keep a close surveillance on all worksites to monitor the situation.

CDL has advised all its builders to take appropriate protection measures which include the provision of masks, identification of more vulnerable employees, e.g. those with heart or lung problems, avoiding non critical outdoor works involving high physical effort, assessing the exposure of outdoor works depending on PSI level as well as implementing more rest rotations.

“With poorer visibility, there is also more safety monitoring onsite,” the spokesperson added,

A spokesperson for the Housing Development Board (HDB) confirmed that its contractors are required to abide by Ministry of Manpower guidelines. HDB is continuing to monitor the situation closely, the spokesperson added.

Source – PropertyGuty – 21 June 2013


Shhh! No noisy work near homes on Sunday mornings

An ongoing construction project in Woodlands with a housing block next door. In Singapore, one is never far from a construction site. But residents will be able to sleep easier on weekends once new measures are in place to cut construction noise. — ST PHOTO: TERENCE TAN

THE noise from construction projects has long been the bane of residents hoping to sleep in on Sundays.

But there is hope for some peace soon.

From Sept 1, all new projects will have to stop work from 10pm on Saturday to 10am on Sunday.

This ban applies to any building project within 150m of a residential area. It also applies to the eve of public holidays and public holidays.

The duration of the ban will be further extended next year, with the stop-work rule stretching from 10pm on Saturday till Monday morning.

It will start from Sept 1 next year and apply to new projects that begin work then.

These measures, announced by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim in Parliament yesterday, were greeted with equanimity by contractors.

Mr Andrew Khng, president of the Singapore Contractors Association, told The Straits Times: ‘I don’t think it’s a huge burden. Contractors and workers also need time at the weekend to rest.

‘We will probably work harder during weekdays.’

Currently, contractors can bang away on Sundays as long as the noise level from 7am to 7pm stays under 75 decibels, which is close to the sound of a car travelling on a road.

After 7pm, the noise level has to go down to 65 decibels till 10pm, when all work must stop.

But, said MP Hri Kumar Nair, ‘there will be instances where the work will from time to time exceed the limit but not break the regulations because it is sustained’.

Added the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP: ‘This is of little comfort to those who have had their rest disturbed.’

Dr Yaacob admitted as much when he disclosed that 12,000 complaints were received last year. That is around 33 a day.

It was worse in 2008, when the National Environment Agency (NEA) received 14,000 complaints, up from 9,000 in 2007 and 6,000 in 2006.

MP Lim Biow Chuan (Marine Parade GRC) noted that construction noise in the middle of the night seems louder, as there is no other background noise to drown it out.

The NEA estimates that the new measures will raise construction costs by 2 to 2.5 per cent, and projects will take 10 to 17 per cent longer to finish.

While residents interviewed welcomed the move, they felt more could be done.

Mr David Seah, 54, whose Farrer Road home is a stone’s throw from the construction site of a Circle Line MRT station, suggested that the Government plant more trees and shrubs in his estate to act as a sound buffer.

Mr Seah, who works the evening shift in the food business, said: ‘They should consider people who do shift work.’

To reduce noise from cars and other vehicles, the NEA will introduce standards to match those of Japan and the European Union.

These will take effect from Oct 1 this year.

Source : Straits Times – 9 Mar 2010