En bloc Woes at Toh Tuck Road:
Residents complain of noise, dust, as developer builds showflat
The New Paper 17 May 2008

‘It’s like living in a shipyard’

It’S not chirping birds that wake them now, but pounding hammers.

And it has been driving some Goodluck View residents up the wall.

The 20-year-old Toh Tuck Road estate has been sold en-bloc, but residents have been given a six-month grace period and need to move out only by August.

Long before that, in March, developer Hiap Hoe Limited started building the show flat.

Mr Paul Makselon, who rents an apartment there, said he has to endure the ‘noise outside his window’, every day from 8am. Said the engineering consultant: ‘It’s like I’m living in a shipyard. It’s all right if they build the showflat in the middle of the road or somewhere further away, but it’s hard to live here when there’s all that noise so close to your home.’

The fence surrounding the showflat sits barely 2m from his window. From his three-bedroom apartment, he can see and hear the workers.

Work on the showflat is expected to be completed by the end of July, according to a circular distributed by the estate’s management agent.
Yet, Mr Makselon’s patience is wearing thin.

Said the Singapore permanent resident: ‘My son has to prepare for an exam and he has complained that he is finding it hard to focus. He shuts his windows to block off the noise.

‘I find it difficult too because I work from home.’

His neighbour upstairs, Madam Tracy Dean, said that sometimes the noise can be a little too much for her.

At such times, she leaves the apartment.

Said the IT consultant: ‘I really look forward to rain because I know the workers will have to stop work. All that grinding and banging can drive you up the wall.

‘Even with the windows closed, the noise filters into my flat.’

Mr Makselon and his family plan to move out within three weeks. Madam Dean will leave for Bangkok in August.

Said Mr Makselon: ‘We didn’t sign up to live like this. They work without considering that there are still people living here. I’ve had enough.’

And it’s not just the noise. MrMakselon claims dust and mosquitos have also been invading their homes.

He said he complained to the estate management when construction workers used the swimming pool toilet, leaving trails of mud. He claimed that by starting work on the showflat, the developer was breaking the en-bloc agreement.

His landlord, Mr John Tilley, also said the developers should not be working there before August.

‘We (tenants and owners) are expected to leave by 21 Aug. But it’s extremely unreasonable for my tenant to live in such conditions,’ Mr Tilley said. ‘The six months grace period is meant for those still living here to find alternative accommodation.’


But a spokesman for Hiap Hoe said the company had not broken any rules.
There are no ‘hard and fast rules’ on building a showflat during the six-month free stay period, she said.

She added: ‘Some inconvenience is expected. But so long as we abide by the construction rules and try to minimise the inconveniences, the issue is unavoidable.

‘Building showflats during the free stay period is a very common practice in en-bloc developments. There is no clause that says we start work (on the showflat) only after all the occupants have left.’

The spokesman said they had received some feedback expressing unhappiness over the construction work.

She said no piling work was done, except for the erection of metal beams for the showflat.

The sale of the new development is scheduled for the third quarter of 2008.