THE National Environment Agency (NEA) will soon start prohibiting construction activities from 10pm on the night before a Sunday or a public holiday to 10am on the day itself. This new prohibition will apply to construction sites within 150 metres of residential areas and noise-sensitive developments that start work from Sept 1 this year.
‘We will implement the changes progressively to give the construction industry sufficient time to adjust,’ said Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, while announcing the ministry’s latest measures in Parliament yesterday. ‘NEA will extend this prohibition to the rest of the day on Sundays and public holidays for sites starting work from Sept 1, 2011,’ Dr Yaacob added.
According to the minister, NEA received 14,000 and 12,000 complaints about construction noise in 2008 and 2009 respectively, compared to 9,000 and 6,000 such complaints in 2007 and 2006 respectively.
This change in policy will create a need for construction firms to rejig their work schedules, CSC Holdings Ltd CEO See Yen Tarn noted.
‘There are certain activities that have to be carried out continuously, one process after another. You cannot excavate something and then let it sit there for 24 hours, for example,’ said Mr See.
Tan Wey Pin, executive director of Lum Chang Building Contractors, also noted that almost all construction sites in Singapore will be situated within 150 metres of a residential area. Currently, his firm’s workers end work any time between 7pm and midnight on Saturday and work from 8am to 5pm on Sunday, excluding overtime.
NEA will also tighten noise standards for new and in-use vehicles, from Oct 1, 2010 and April 1, 2011, respectively. The new-vehicle standards will be based on those currently used in Japan and the European Union.
On the industrial front, there will be a mandatory requirement for companies in the industry sector using more than 15 gigawatt- hours of energy each year to appoint an energy manager that will monitor and report energy use to NEA from 2013, as part of the Energy Conservation Act that will come into force in the same year.
‘NEA will introduce the Energy Efficiency National Partnership, or EENP, in April to help companies build up the necessary capabilities before the mandatory energy management practices come into effect,’ said Dr Yaacob.
Several companies that fall in this category appear to be ahead of the curve.
‘We do more than an energy manager’s job. We have monitored the consumption of energy from Day 1,’ said CV Jagadish, CEO of Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Co Pte Ltd. This year, the company aims to reduce energy usage by almost 4 million kilowatt-hours.
STMicroelectronics will also have no trouble complying with the requirement. ‘Our site electrical manager is our resident Energy Conservation Champion, who constantly drives energy reduction opportunities at our wafer fab,’ said Renato Sirtori, group vice-president and chief financial officer of Asia STMicroelectronics.
Source: Business Times, 9 Mar 2010