Dubai residents filed more than 2,500 noise complaints this year as construction in residential areas caused sleepless nights for many.
Tenants and homeowners reported contractors to Dubai Municipality for drilling, pile driving and the pouring of concrete they claimed went above legal noise limits.
Jumeirah Village Circle and Dubai Marina were among the areas where complaints were common. JVC is the site of a new community mall, while the new Dubai Harbour has led to disruption in the marina area.
“We take action against any company exceeding the permissible levels of noise,” said Abdulla Shezawi, director of the building control department.
The authority hands out warnings and fines and may block the trade licences in the most serious cases, though he did not state how often that happened.
Of the 2,561 complaints, many related to when companies were allowed to work late at night and how loud that work was permitted to be.
The municipality's noise limit is 55 decibels for construction during the day , between 7am and 8pm.
That drops to 45 decibels from 8pm to 6am. In comparison, a vacuum cleaner is about 70 decibels and a noisy restaurant or office is 60.
Contractors must obtain a night permit before work is carried out between 8pm and 6am.
Mr Shezawi said complaints about night-time concrete works were common.
“This type of work is allowed [during the night] due to time limitations and technical matters that could affect the construction quality and durability [of a building],” he said.
“Contractors are unable to control the noise levels during concrete works, but the process is usually temporary and the contractor is advised to take all necessary actions to reduce the noise.”
Residents of Sydney Tower, a newly-opened building in JVC, said they had sleepless nights because of construction work.
"I just moved to JVC, right beside a building site, and the noise feels like it's 24/7," said one tenant, who asked that her name not be used.
The woman said her accommodation is provided by her employer and she does not have the option to move at this time.
“I’m even thinking about leaving my job because I can’t handle the noise," she said.
With a mix of established and under-construction buildings, JVC has proved popular with many young residents and families due to its prices.
But work on several buildings from 7am to midnight daily has caused major upset.
“It's not just this building,” said Sydney Tower resident Muhammad Khan, 30, from Pakistan.
“The construction is happening all over JVC and I‘m sure many residents of the community are facing the same issues.”
When The National visited the area, a construction site adjacent to the building displayed a permit for 'night works'.
According to the permit, Nakheel, the main developer of JVC, approved the company’s application in late August.
“Your night works NOC application is approved with the general conditions below that must be fulfilled and subject to the following: casting concrete, steel fixing, housekeeping, waterproofing [up to 12am],” it read.
Your Homes, a building management company representing the owner of Sydney Tower, said it had received several complaints from tenants.
“We are aware of the noise [disturbance] and have taken multiple steps to resolve the issue,” the spokesperson said.
In emails shared with The National, Your Homes sent several grievances to the developer and Dubai Municipality.
“Our tenants are very angry [due to the] noise surrounding the building … two of our tenants cancelled their contracts and moved to another area,” one email read.
Mr Shezawi confirmed the authority had received the complaints.
“We received seven complaints from the Sydney Tower management during May 2019 and October 2019.
“Two complaints were related to concrete works, which cannot be stopped due to engineering and technical requirements,” he said.
A further four cases were dismissed as works were found to be in line with noise limitations.
One resulted in a warning to a contractor, he said.
Nakheel said permits are issued on a monthly basis and will be cancelled in the event of repeated violations.
“We will naturally investigate the matter and take the appropriate action to ensure that the developer in question is adhering to night-time construction rules," a spokeswoman said.
Residents in Dubai can file noise complaints by calling 800 900 or by using the municipality's Dubai 24/7 mobile application.