Seletar Condo Resident Wants Noisy Water Pump Near Unit Switched Off, Request Denied

Seletar Condo Resident Fails To Get Water Pump Switched Off

A woman has failed in her legal bid to get the water pump at her Seletar condo complex shut off.

The Strata Titles Board dismissed her application to have the condo management of The Greenwich shut off the water pump due to noise concerns.

The woman and her parents had persistently raised complaints over noise issues since moving to the residence in 2021.

She had purchased a condo on the first floor next to the swimming pool as she found the sound of water calming.

Seletar condo resident’s request to switch off water pump falls through

A judgment posted on the Strata Titles Boards website on 17 Nov detailed the case and eventual dismissal.

According to the document, Liu Xiaoyu purchased her condo at The Greenwich on 31 May 2021 via a resale.

She previously lived with her elderly parents in an HDB flat in Yishun. However, she allegedly wanted to move to a condo to provide a more peaceful environment for them.

Liu picked the unit next to the swimming pool, as she felt that the sound of water was calming.

Source: Singapore Expats, for illustration purposes only

However, soon after the family moved in, they started complaining about noise disturbances in the master bedroom and living room.

The then-condo manager traced the noise issues to a fountain pump next to a wall. He reportedly changed and fixed it between July 2021 and 2022.

However, the measures failed to address Liu’s noise complaints. Her family proceeded to appeal to have the fountain pump shut off.

The management eventually did so on their own accord in October 2022. The pump remained largely shut until April 2023 when the new condo manager allegedly insisted on switching it back on.

He explained that it was to prevent mosquito breeding and algae growth in the walls.

WHO guidelines not suitable as noise level indicator: judgment

Later, when Liu failed to get the fountain pump to only operate from 10am to 7pm every day, she engaged an expert, who produced a report stating that the noise level in her unit exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for community noise in specific environments.

This would cause disturbances to sleep, the report stated.

However, the condo management argued against it. They noted that the report did not state the noise issues as coming from the fountain pump alone. Other purported noise sources included:

  • Vehicular noise
  • Noise from the Greenwich V Shopping Centre’s public announcement system
  • Noise from the air-con ventilation system at the back of Liu’s unit

The management also said that the previous occupants of the unit had not complained about the noise issues despite living there for over six years.

They engaged their own expert, who reported that the noise was within the range of NEA’s guidelines for boundary noise limits for ventilation systems.

The board also said that WHO guidelines may not be applicable to a highly urbanised place like Singapore.

Furthermore, Liu had apparently admitted under cross-examination that the noise from the nearby carpark was louder in her bedroom than the noise from the fountain pump by the balcony.

Several complaints made to turn off water pump

The judgment also noted that Liu’s mother had gone to the managing office several times to get the water pump turned off.

She would allegedly not leave unless this was done. Feeling that they had no choice, the managing agent’s staff switched the pump off. However, the management committee apparently didn’t approve of this.

“Turning off the Fountain Pump would indicate that the Respondent placed the Applicant’s interests before that of the entire estate,” the judgment noted.

The document further stated that tolerance levels for noise are subjective, and what may be acceptable to some may be intolerable to others.

Considering the dismissal of her bid, Liu had to pay S$14,000 to the managing agent and the full costs of transcript services.

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