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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Daytime construction work near Abu Dhabi school ceased following concern from parents

Construction work will now take place in the evening, ADM announced after parents complained of deafening noise

Major construction work is taking place immediately next to the boundary wall of Repton School - Abu Dhabi on Reem Island to the frustration of parents. Pawan Singh / The National
Major construction work is taking place immediately next to the boundary wall of Repton School - Abu Dhabi on Reem Island to the frustration of parents. Pawan Singh / The National

Abu Dhabi Municipality has halted all daytime construction work on a development site next to Repton School Abu Dhabi’s Rose Campus after parents voiced concerns about the disruptive noise and vibrations coming from the property.

ADM said it issued a night permit allowing the contractor, Catic, to perform the works on the Central Park residential and commercial tower from 4pm to 6.30am effective February 19. It also prohibited any construction work from taking place on site between 7am to 4pm.

“To safeguard the academic process in the school, the Municipality directed the developer of the area, as well as the consultant and contractor of the project, to cease works completely during school time,” ADM said in a statement to The National on Sunday. “The Municipality believes that such sounds may affect the activity and production of pupils and the staff, and may leave an impact on pupils as well.”

ADM said it is “keen to control noise levels throughout the city and populated residential areas through measuring the noise levels generated from sites under construction periodically. It also attends to preventing any noise, reducing noise pollution, and ensuring that the intensity of noise must not exceed the permitted international standards.”

The Municipality said it listened to the concerns of parents of pupils at Repton who had contacted The National to expose the piercing drilling, jack-hammering and accompanying vibrations taking place next door to the school.

Videos taken from the school showed adults having to raise their voices to speak over the noise, a pot filled with coffee trembling on a table and children standing in the playground a few metres away from the heavy machinery.

The parents said they were concerned the noise and vibrations would potentially cause long-lasting psychological harm to their children. Others said they kept their children home from school because they were afraid the tremors caused by the piling and shoring work would force a wall to collapse or lead to some other occupational hazard.

ADM said the construction vibrations “do not pose any danger” to nearby buildings.

“These vibrations are within the permitted international standards, and they result from foundation works, which require the use of special machinery and equipment,” according to ADM. “The school building and the newly constructed buildings are all in conformity with Abu Dhabi International Building Codes and are resistant to vibrations.”

The mother of a Year 1 boy said the daytime construction noise had decreased within the past week, but had not stopped completely. She said she hoped the contractor and developer would honour the municipality’s orders long-term.

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Read more:

Parents voice anger as Abu Dhabi school hit by deafening construction noise

National Editorial: Construction noise causes more than just headaches

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“It was unbearable for my son,” the mother said of the noise and tremors. “My son’s teacher said they didn’t do any work because it was shaking daily, several times a day. She said to me they were glad the construction had stopped so they can actually do work.”

Since the piling and shoring work began in January, the school’s administrators moved the children to classrooms farthest away from the construction. They also communicated weekly construction updates with parents, monitored air quality and sound decibels and pressured the city to issue a night permit.

“We welcome the decision by Abu Dhabi Municipality and thank them for extending the construction working hours and the subsequent halt in disruptive construction work during school hours,” Repton Abu Dhabi said in a statement. “We also thank the other stakeholders, who have responded favourably to our plea, and helped maintain our regular school activities without disruption to our pupils. We have received a positive response from parents to this development and are looking forward to yet another successful academic year for the children.”