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Caring for others is the first step to address floor noise conflict

Caring for others is the first step to address floor noise conflict

Posted June. 14, 2013 07:03,   


The Environment Ministry has significantly strengthened the standard of floor noise in apartments from "55 decibels on average per five minutes" to ""40 decibels on average per minute." It created a new standard of “the highest noise for an instant” of 55 decibels during the day and 50 decibels at night. This allowed victims to raise an issue easily and made it possible for damage compensation from next year. The change has been made in 11 years since 2002 when it was first introduced.

The number of complaints over floor noise in apartments has tripled for the recent five years. In some cases, a person stabbed his neighbor after a quarrel or set fire. It has become a social problem that cannot be left unattended at a time when more than 80% of households live in apartments in large cities. Constructors should be more careful about floor noise while building apartments and also develop soundproof technologies. The government should also make completion tests stricter. Now is the time to build housings in three decades appropriate for per capital income of 100,000 dollars, not 30,000 or 40,000 dollars.

The problem is the apartments that are already built. It is actually impossible to come up with fundamental solutions. One could thick mats over the living room, which cannot be forced and costs a lot. Local governments can only ease tensions through a counseling center for victims. The most important thing is for residents to respect and care for each other. Small steps are important like using slippers, noise prevention training, saying hello to neighbors in an elevator, tacking a notice on the wall, and forming a residential committee. A legal action should be the last resort.

Japan is particularly vulnerable to floor noise because it has many wooden buildings. One can hear flushing the toilet or the conversation of the neighbors living next door or in the upper floor. Japanese, however, do not like to inconvenience others culturally and they prevent a potential problem in advance by being more careful about each other.

Conflicts over floor noise mean tougher urban life. Fatigue, stress, and the environment that cannot address them are the reasons behind an impatient society and harming others for a trivial reason. Floor noise is testing Koreans’ time to spare, depth, and tolerance.