Of the 40-odd complaints his team received daily last year about construction sites exceeding the noise limit, less than 10 per cent were found to be valid, said senior noise-enforcement officer Zulkifli Mat Noor.

Most of the complaints were from unhappy residents who wanted some quiet time after a hard day’s work, said the officer from the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) pollution control department.

The agency said up to 95 per cent of the feedback it had received about construction noise levels in the past five years was unsubstantiated.

Last year, it received more than 16,000 such complaints, despite efforts to reduce noise levels at construction sites through initiatives such as the Quieter Construction Fund, which can be tapped by companies to buy quieter work equipment.

The residents who complained usually wanted to know whether the noise they were hearing had exceeded the limit set by the NEA.

Some of them filed complaints based on the noise levels registered by their mobile applications, which the agency said offer inaccurate measurements.

To prove its point, comparisons between a handheld noise meter and a mobile noise reader were made twice by NEA officials in the presence of the media during a visit to a construction site in Choa Chu Kang on Tuesday.

The mobile application recorded a higher reading of about 20 decibels at both times.

However, for some residents, it did not matter whether the noise they heard fell within the approved range.

“They understand if there is (ongoing) work in the day. But at night, they are more concerned about their own welfare … they would want the activity to be lessened or eliminated,” said Mr Zulkifli, who was at the test site.

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