KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — About 90 Taman Desa residents gathered today outside the construction site of a new condominium project set to dwarf their residences next door.
In their peaceful sit-in protest, the residents complained the loud noise from ongoing construction work has taken a toll on their physical and mental health. They also alleged the developer was flouting construction conditions set by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
“This has been our safe haven. We have been gravely distressed by the noise, the vibration; and not just noise pollution, but also there’s fumes, the dust.
“And now our home has become like a prison and we are subject to these noise and vibrations. Our concern is for the wellbeing of the elderly, the disabled and young people, children,” Valerie Low who has been living the past 17 years in Tiara Faber, an adjacent apartment complex, told a news conference at the site.
She said her special needs child had sensitive hearing and was forced to wear earphones due to the construction noise.
Other residents complained of suffering from migraine, insomnia, distress and discomfort owing to the construction works, she said.
“This is only the beginning. We don’t know what is going to happen to our health, our well-being in the long-term.
“Why are they working such long hours in a residential area and so close to the school? It should be 9am to 5pm, five days a week, not 7am to 7pm, six days a week,” Low said.
Tiara Faber is one of the three existing condominiums — with maximum height of 13 storeys — that are nearest to the new condominium project called The Address.
There are also three schools nearby the under-construction condominium, the first phase which is to comprise two 37-storey towers with 376 units and the second phase to be a third 37-storey tower with 202 units.
According to Tiara Faber management council chairman Kervin Chong, the typical acceptable noise levels for a normal urban area is 65 decibels in the daytime and around 55 decibels at night.
He said the pounding noise from piling works typically ranges between 100 to 120 decibels, but noted the actual noise levels can vary according to the piling method, type and condition of the machines, and distance from the project site.
“The authorities say they are complying with the requirements. As part of our efforts, we will be doing our own independent noise and vibration monitoring in this location to show proof whether they actually complied,” Chong, who is also an engineer, told reporters.
Today, Taman Desa residents handed over a memorandum with 91 signatures to representatives of the project developer Kaisar Maxim and one of its two contractors, Keller (M) Sdn Bhd.
The memorandum lists 17 conditions for Kaisar Maxim and Keller to adhere to, failing which the Taman Desa residents said they would apply for a stop work order.
“If they continue to violate the rules and regulations of the approval, definitely we will seek permission from DBKL to issue a stop work order,” said KY Khong, another Tiara Faber resident who is also part of a lawsuit against the Kuala Lumpur mayor over the project.
DBKL had on October 12 issued a letter with special consent for the developer to carry out sub-structure works subject to 23 conditions, including only carrying out works only from 7am to 7pm from Monday to Saturday and not on Sunday or public holidays.
Taman Desa residents complained today however that there have been three occasions where the conditions on work time have allegedly been breached, including clearing works on a Sunday on November 19.
They also cited December 5 where the contractor was said to have worked until 8.30pm and also this morning when works started around 6.35am.
Site manager from Keller, M. Chandiran, explained to reporters today that the contractor was not involved in the first incident, and that the latter two incidents were due to unavoidable circumstances.
According to Tiara Faber residents Low and Khong, the hoardings around the project site was put up on October 27, while sets of the four A4 sheets of the October 12 limited works approval by DBKL were pasted on the hoardings on November 14.
The signboard carrying details on the project was put up on November 22, while piling works for the project started around November 21 or November 22, the protesters said.
Khong today highlighted that there is missing information on the signboard, where the row for the reference number of the development order or permit and its approval date was left blank.
Khong alleged that the machines used for the piling works are “worn out” and susceptible to being noisy.
“The piling machines, they are using the bore piles. There are other piling methods which don’t give you that sort of noise,” he said, adding that residents are asking the developer to change the piling method.
DBKL’s nod for the project in the form of a planning permission and development order is being contested in two ongoing lawsuits.