Construction din around our rental is driving me crazy

View from our living room of the construction hell below.

View from our living room of the construction hell below.

As I draft this post, I am being assaulted by the demolition sounds on the floor above our apartment and by the extraordinary amount of construction in the surrounding blocks.

We live in the desirable neighborhood of Bueng Keng Kang 1, where many expats prefer to live and dine, though there are more expensive parts of Phnom Penh that also are popular.  Even with rents rocketing up, the amount of new construction here astonishes me.

I count some 10 mostly small projects under way within a two-block radius of our building, and a paucity of tall buildings means that the noise really carries.  Although we are 11 floors from the street, the clamor directly below makes clear thinking and good writing nearly impossible. Never mind a nap.

Buildings wrapped in green represent just a few close by.

My rooftop photograph of buildings wrapped in green shows just a few of the big projects being built close by.

They are tearing down lovely old, if shabby, villas to maximize use of their footprints, erecting condominiums that could pass for skyscrapers such as a 32-story one nearing completion nearby, and enlarging or otherwise modifying a variety of structures.

Zoning regulations, which I guess exist, don’t seem to apply to most situations.  Or developers find a pragmatic way to persuade the authorities that their plans are okay.  Should a building obliterate the sun or a view, well, too bad for the residents next door.  It happens a lot.

Construction 4I attribute all that activity to cheap labor on the one hand and a surge of optimism by developers.  They undoubtedly believe that primarily investors from Cambodia and elsewhere in Asia see opportunity in this real estate market.  And they clearly seem to be unworried by the political situation.

Yet I can’t help but wonder whether a bubble is growing, at least in my neighborhood.

Construction 5I recently heard that the 32-story building linked above is variously 40 percent and 70 percent sold with scheduled completion in April and that the market is wealthy Khmer investors.  Units that go unsold or those purchased as investments will be rented out.  It is not inconceivable that we will rent one of the smaller apartments.

With respect to my current situation, the noise from upstairs is not unlike a dentist’s drill on steroids along with a sledgehammer that seems to threaten the integrity of our ceilings.  (I referred previously to the racket as like a jackhammer, and that characterization is not far from the reality since I believe it actually is a mini-jackhammer.)  So bad is the auditory insult that I usually flee to Brown coffee shop, the roof or the streets to run errands.

The hell above our rental.

The hell above our rental.

The building’s assistant manager claims she “forgot” to tell us about the work when we rented the place and so we obtained a tiny reduction in the rent.  (It seems we are perhaps the only ones to complain since nearly all other residents seem to be away at work all day.)

I encountered her boss, who lives in the building two relatively tranquil floors above the combination of three apartments, and he confessed about our situation, “I don’t know what to do, this is Cambodia.”

construction 6As for the work below our living room and bedroom, it starts at 7 a.m. and goes on seven days a week.  I have the dubious pleasure of hearing a veritable unending symphony of pounding on metal, hammering of nails and use of a circular saw that screams inconsolably.  The noise from there borders on unbearable, too.

When I contemplated moving to Phnom Penh, I was concerned about street noise, which, ironically, hasn’t been a problem.  Now I know better and will act accordingly, but finding the right apartment that doesn’t face present or, worse, unpredictable future construction here in Bueng Keng Kang 1 is proving to be an immense challenge.

E-mail: malcolmncarter@gmail.com

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2 thoughts on “Construction din around our rental is driving me crazy

  1. Well, if it makes you feel any better I live in Canada and the “this is Cambodia” thing is just an excuse. Unbelievable construction noise here too – a great deal of it City sponsored. I’ve moved three times in five years and it’s been the same everywhere. I think people have little to no sympathy for those of us who work-from-home because they secretly believe we ought not to have gotten out of the rat race and perhaps wish this type of suffering on us.

    I’m so sick of hearing “that’s progress” or ‘stop whining” or “why don’t you just go out for a walk while it’s bad?” (I’d be walking 10 hours a day and couldn’t pay my bills, that’s why..

    🙂 anyway, I share your pain. It’s particularly awful today, which sent me on this google hunt for sympathetic souls.

    Like

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