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Beating Home Renovation Noise While Working from Your Flat

Beating Home Renovation Noise While Working from Your Flat

Many things changed over the course of 2020 and some of these changes will remain a part of our lives for many years to come. Work from home increased in popularity over the course of the Circuit Breaker period and many have setup their own home office. Even today, some Singaporean companies have decided to give their employees more flexibility and freedom regarding workplace selection.

There’s a reason why such flexibility is starting to take over.

According to an October survey carried out among Singaporean workers, eight out of 10 people still prefer to work from home or be offered some flexibility. Only one in 10 people is keen to return to the office full-time.

This new dynamic is providing amazing opportunities but it is also contributing to the emergence of new challenges.

Environmental noise when trying to complete professional duties from home is one of these issues. The problem becomes even more difficult to cope with when a neighbour is attempting to carry out a home renovation while someone is trying to concentrate on strategic work tasks. This issue issue was made worse when all renovation work was stopped during Circuit breaker and then recently allowed to proceed again, causing a sudden rush in people resuming home renovations at the same time.

Home Renovation Noise – A Bigger Problem Than Ever Before

Are you experiencing problems with noisy renovation contractors while trying to work from home? If so, you’re not alone.

Some restrictions on office work still apply in Singapore. On December 15, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo announced these could be loosened in the upcoming Phase 3 of the Circuit Breaker period.  Previously, the government announced that the new phase is set to commence on December 28, bringing back a sense of normalcy to everyday existence and work.

For the time being, however, many Singaporeans still work from home. For a professional who isn’t used to this method of getting the job done, work from home can be challenging. There are lots of distractions and finding the balance between work and life balance is definitely a challenge.

Adding new home-owners who recently got keys to their new BTO flat and starting or re-starting BTO renovations at the same time to the mix – paints an even more troublesome picture.

A Mountain of Complaints

The number of complaints about renovation noise have been going up steadily ever since the commencement of the Circuit Breaker.

A Channel News Asia report suggests that from June 2 to October 31, 286 renovation noise complaints have been submitted to the National Environment Agency (NEA). The number represents an increase of 60 per cent on an annual basis.

NEA found out that in about 10 per cent of the cases, the home renovation noise levels exceeded official limits. In these instances, the agency undertook enforcement actions against the renovation contractor responsible for the violation.

HDB hasn’t provided figures about such complaints yet. A feedback provider can reach the HDB more than once with the same signal. As a result, the board is finding it difficult to calculate the number of unique noise complaints it has received.

According to HDB, contractors are constantly being reminded about best home renovation and construction practices aimed at reducing disturbances. Some of these requirements for renovation contractors include the provision of a written notice about the upcoming work at least three days before the commencement of the project.

Best Ways to Beat Renovation Noises While Working from Home

Doing work from home often necessitates a lot more concentration than spending time at the office.

Even if a home renovation team isn’t violating noise regulations, hacking and drilling in the neighbouring flat can be exceptionally difficult to handle when you need to manage calls, virtual meetings and the completion of mentally-challenging tasks.

If you’re dealing with such an issue right now, several strategies can be employed to reduce the effect of the renovation noise.

One of the easiest and quickest short-term solution to handle the renovation period is to get out of the house while the noisiest types of work are taking place.

There are cafés, libraries and other social spots providing good conditions for a short working sessions. The fact you’ll get to enjoy a delicious beverage is an added bonus. Plus, some people find that a change of scenery can actually contribute to productivity and stimulate creativity.

You should also get in touch with your neighbours who are doing renovation work to plan your work weak ahead of time. Contractors will usually be more than willing to cooperate and provide information about the duration of the project and the types of work that will be taking place. Based on this information, you’ll find it much easier to schedule calls and determine when getting out of the home office will make the most sense.

Finally, consider a few simple tricks to employ at home for better noise reduction.

If The Flat is Opposite Yours

The right approach depends on where the renovation is taking place. If noisy work is taking place in the flat opposite yours, close all doors and open the windows. Some of the sound and the vibrations can be mitigated this way.

If The Flat Is Directly Above or Below You

Whenever the construction work is taking place in a flat above or below yours, open both the windows and the doors. Otherwise, vibrations will be limited to the internal space and they’ll be felt at a higher intensity.

Earplugs and noise-cancellation headphones can be used as a final line of defence when nothing else seems to be getting the job done.

Finally, don’t resist the possibility of talking to your neighbours about the renovation.

Most people will be willing to accommodate for the needs of others within a reasonable extend. If you need 30 minutes to have a virtual meeting, chances are that the construction team will oblige. You’ll never know if such a little gesture would be possible unless you ask.

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