About Community Advisory Panel on Neighbourhood Noise

Neighbourhood noise can be a complex issue, and may be the cause of unhappiness between neighbours. There has been an increased number of feedback cases pertaining to noise since 2020, which is likely due to the increased number of residents staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The set-up of a Community Advisory Panel (CAP) on Neighbourhood Noise was announced by Senior Minister of State for National Development, Ms Sim Ann, at the 2022 Committee of Supply Debate on 8 March 2022.

The Panel aims to define what is deemed as unacceptable noise disturbances and what constitutes good community norms that residents should observe to reduce noise disturbances to their neighbours. In particular, the CAP will look at noise from neighbours and congregational noise in common areas.

In terms of deliverables, the CAP will be looking to:

a. establish a set of norms on acceptable or unacceptable noise levels when living in a community; and;

b. propose a set of community norms on noise management to foster harmonious living, i.e. good habits for neighbours to show consideration for one another and reduce noise disturbances.

The norms recommended by the Panel will help neighbours to have a common expectation of acceptable noise levels, and better communicate with one another, as well as facilitate mediation and decision-making at the Community Disputes Resolution Tribunal.

The CAP will conduct extensive consultation with the public in the course of developing the proposed community norms, and will submit their recommendations by end-2022.



About Community Norms on Neighbourhood Noise

Neighbourhood noise can be broken down into two categories:

a. Noise from neighbours, which refers to noise from neighbouring units. This can include noise from daily activities (e.g. noise from television, music or gatherings), noise from movement or items (e.g. furniture dragging, heavy footsteps or slamming of doors) and noise from renovations or DIY works.

b. 
Congregational noise, which refers to noise generated in residential common areas such as void decks, basketball courts, exercise areas, multi-purpose halls etc.

We recognise that neighbourhood noise is inevitable in a densely populated country like Singapore where residents stay close in proximity with one another. However, the issue is worsened when there is a lack of consideration or communication between neighbours. Some examples of noise issues faced by residents include noise from the dragging of furniture throughout the day, karaoke sessions at night, children playing along the common corridor, congregation of people at common areas at night, and noise from pets. The noise generated can disturb work, study or rest time of neighbours, and have a negative impact on their lives.

As part of an integrated response to mitigate neighbourhood noise, the Panel will explore and recommend a set of community norms to address neighbourhood noise. These will serve as a reference point for the community in resolving conflict and disputes among themselves. Practising consideration for each other, based on a shared set of norms, is important for creating a harmonious and considerate living environment for everyone.

These norms will seek to establish an acceptable set of best practices that residents should abide by to minimise noise levels.

The table below suggests some possible norms for discussion and have been drawn from public education materials overseas.


Category Topline norms Suggested Best Practices
1. Movement-related norms Do not run, or stomp on the floor at all times Use carpeting or wear bedroom slippers to reduce the noise of footsteps.
Do not slam doors or windows at all times Use door stoppers to prevent the wind from slamming doors.

Install soft pads on door frames to reduce the noise when doors are closed.

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Do not drag furniture, and other heavy objects on the floor at all times Lift your furniture, or use rubber/felt pads on the base of your furniture to absorb noise

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2. Activity-related norms Do not speak loudly/shout, especially during quiet hours This applies whether you are within your home, or in common residential areas such as the void deck, stairs, corridors, fitness area, and other facilities such as basketball courts and parks next to residential areas.
Avoid noisy recreational activities in or around residential areas, especially during quiet hours If you need to do so, please abide by the following:

Audio equipment such as TV, Karaoke, stereo

- Reduce the volume in the early morning and late-night hours.
- At night, use headphones or earphones instead of speakers.
- When not using headphones or an earpiece, set the bass control at a low level as a loud bass can be annoying.
- Try to put the AV equipment in an area/room which would minimise the impact on neighboring homes.

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Musical instruments

- If you play a musical instrument, avoid practice early in the morning or during the late evening/night.
- If the instrument has an amplifier, turn the volume down or preferably use personal headphones.
- When playing, close the windows and doors.
- Use a carpet or a thick curtain to improve the sound absorption in the room.

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Parties

- Inform your neighbours if you are looking to hold a party.
- Minimize the noise made during the party.
- Do step out of the house to check if the noise generated is reasonable for your neighbours

Exercise

- Do not use fitness equipment during quiet hours.
- Use a soft yoga mat or carpet when exercising

Play

- Ensure that your children do not disturb your neighbours when playing in common areas within residential blocks such as common corridors and stairs.
- Ensure that your children do not make too much noise while playing.
- Avoid throwing toys or marbles on uncovered floors. Use a soft mat or carpet when playing games or with toys on the floor.

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Avoid doing noisy household chores especially during quiet hours Vacuuming

- Do not vacuum during quiet hours. If cleaning is necessary, consider a more quiet alternative such as using a broom or mop instead.
- Close your windows when vacuuming.
- When choosing a vacuum cleaner, look for a model that is quieter.

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Cooking

- Avoid heavy cooking during quiet hours. If cooking is necessary, try to minimize the amount of noise made e.g. by being gentler with cooking equipment such as metal pots and pans.
- Avoid using noisy appliances such as blenders, juicers, coffee grinders etc.

Laundry

- Avoid using washing machines and dryers at night as the noise and vibrations caused may affect your neighbours

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Gardening

- As lawnmowers are very noisy, avoid mowing the lawn during quiet hours.

3. Renovation-related norms Do not carry out repair/DIY works involving drilling and hammering during quiet hours Do these during non-quiet hours and inform your neighbour beforehand if possible.

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Inform your neighbours of your plans to carry out approved contractor renovation that might generate noise -
4. Other norms Do prevent your pets from making noise Dogs

- Keep your dog active during the day e.g. by walking it once or twice a day.
- Send/take your dog for obedience classes.
- Use training to modify your dog’s behaviour – Reward your dog when he is quiet. Withhold treats, toys etc. until your dog is quiet.

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Birds

- Move your birds to a dark room, or cover birdcages with a black cloth to block out light at night. The darkness is necessary to let the birds know that it is time to go to sleep.
- If your birds tend to squawk loudly, move the birdcages to an enclosed room.
- Lower the volume on your TV or music at night to allow your birds to wind down at night.
- Train your birds: (i) Reward good behaviour, (ii) reward quieter sounds, and (iii) do not reward or give the bird attention if it is squawking.

Cats

- Provide essentials like food and water as some cats will cry at night if they are hungry or thirsty.
- Clean your cats litterbox, especially before bed, as cats prefer a clean “bathroom” and may cry if their litterbox is dirty.
- Keep your cat active and awake during the day e.g. by playing with them. This way they will be more likely to sleep at night.

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Adhere to the quiet hours of 10.30pm to 7am -
Maintain your air-conditioners or other appliances in good working condition to avoid causing noise nuisance to your neighbours. -

Members of the Community Advisory Panel

The members of the Community Advisory Panel are as follows:

Dr William Wan
Chairperson
General Secretary, Singapore Kindness Movement
Dr William Wan
Dr Foo Fung Fong
Member
Executive Director, Filos Community Services
Dr Foo Fung Fong
Prof Gan Woon-Seng
Member
Professor of Audio Engineering and Director of Smart Nation Lab, School of Electrical Electronic Engineering, Nanyang Technological University
Prof Gan Woon-Seng
Mr Isman Bin Abdul Rahman
Member
Vice Chairman, Woodlands Community Club Management Committee
Mr Isman Bin Abdul Rahman
Ms Lela Kaur
Member
Master Mediator, Community Mediation Centre
 Ms Lela Kaur
Dr Leong Chan-Hoong
Member
Head of Policy Development, Evaluation and Data Analytics, Kantar Public
 Dr Leong Chan-Hoong
Ms Susan Ng
Member
Presenter, CNA938, Mediacorp Pte Ltd
 Ms Susan Ng
Mr Raymond Poh
Member
Vice Chairman, Tampines Central Citizens’ Consultative Committee
Mr Raymond Poh
Dr Sathish s/o Sritharan
Member
Chairman, Taman Jurong Zone D Residents’ Network
 Dr Sathish s:o Sritharan


Public Engagement

More information will be available soon. The public engagement is scheduled to begin in June 2022.



FAQs

1. Why did the Government set up a Community Advisory Panel to address the issue of neighbourhood noise?
We have seen an increase in feedback pertaining to noise from neighbours and congregational noise in common areas, likely because more people are staying at home in view of the ongoing pandemic. The Panel is one of the initiatives that we are exploring to address noise-related issues faced by residents and create a better living environment for everyone.

There are challenges in addressing noise issues. Firstly, noise is subjective, and everyone has different tolerance for different types of noise. Secondly, noise is transient, and it can be difficult to pinpoint and enforce against. Thus, the Government is looking at establishing a set of community norms nation-wide to provide a reference point for the community. The norms will guide residents and government agencies on acceptable noise levels and considerate behaviour towards one another in the context of noise.

As this concerns all residents, the Government has set up the Community Advisory Panel to work with Singaporeans, and to enable Singaporeans to have conversations with one another in co-creating these norms which we can own as a community.

2. How big is the problem of neighbourhood noise?
In 2020, HDB received about 2,500 cases of feedback per month relating to noise from residents’ activities, including renovation noise. Such feedback increased by about 25% in 2021 to 3,200 per month. The increase was likely due to more people staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The most common reason for complaints is renovation noise. Other common reasons include noise from dragging of furniture or dropping of items, noise from slamming of gates/doors/windows, noise from children playing or babies crying, noise from TV/radio, and noise from gatherings.

3. What are the key deliverables and when will the CAP be expected to submit their recommendations?
The Panel will submit a report with the set of recommended norms on noise from neighbours and congregational noise in common areas by end 2022.

4. Will the public’s views be sought as part of the process? How can I get involved?
The Community Advisory Panel will involve members of the public through open surveys and public consultation sessions, to ensure that the views of the public are taken into consideration when developing the recommended norms.

More details of the engagement process will be released at a later stage. Please look out for more details on this page or on our social media channels (FB, Instagram).