Written reply by Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to Parliamentary Question on Construction Noise and Mosquito Breeding at Construction Sites on 2 October 2017

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Question by Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) in the last five years, how many construction companies have breached the rules on (i) noise levels at construction sites; (ii) dengue breeding at work sites; and (iii) causing disamenities by working on Sundays and public holidays, and (b) what proportion of these companies are recurrent offenders.

Answer:

1     The National Environment Agency (NEA) stipulates maximum permissible noise limits for construction sites. In September 2011, the NEA introduced the “no-work rule” whereby work activities are not permitted at construction sites located within 150 metres of residential premises and noise-sensitive premises such as hospitals and schools on Sundays and Public Holidays. In January 2017, the “no-work rule” was adjusted to permit a list of quieter works such as painting and wall plastering in such sites on Sundays and Public Holidays.

2     Between January 2013 and June 2017, the NEA penalised 411 construction companies for exceeding the noise limits at construction sites and 723 companies for breaching the “no-work rule”. Of these, about half were repeat offenders. The maximum penalty for violating the construction noise limits or the “no-work rule” is a court prosecution with a fine not exceeding $40,000.

3     Besides enforcement, the NEA has set up a fund to encourage and incentivise the construction industry to control and reduce noise at source. The Quieter Construction Fund (QCF) provides subsidies to contractors who invest in quieter construction technologies, noise control equipment and other innovative solutions.

4     Construction sites with poor housekeeping are potential grounds for mosquito breeding. Over the last 5 years, the NEA carried out over 45,500 inspections of construction sites and issued more than 4,500 summonses to contractors for mosquito breeding. Over 420 court prosecutions have also been taken against errant contractors for repeat offences and more than 380 Stop Work Orders (SWOs) have been issued. The majority of these enforcement actions were taken after 2013 as a result of a tightened enforcement regime.

5    Notwithstanding the attention given to construction sites, many mosquito breeding sites are in fact found in homes. It is, therefore, important for everyone, including businesses and home owners, to remain vigilant and play his part to prevent mosquito breeding.

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