A spokeswoman for the planning department said the construction contract restricted the work that could be done on weekends or holidays, and “noisy construction work such as falling rocks or pile driving is not allowed on weekends”.

A Waverley Council spokeswoman said construction site operators must continue to comply with environmental protection agency noise regulations.

“The council has opposed the extension of the construction work days by the state government, which allows the work to continue seven days a week,” she said. “Construction times and days should always be considered in the local context and the effects on the residents.”

Michael Lawrence has lived next to a construction site in Double Bay for two years where workers dig with jackhammers.

“The jackhammer and concrete sawing, which took almost a week, made our house uninhabitable with the windows closed,” he said. “On some days we left in the morning and only returned in the afternoon.”

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Mr. Lawrence said the site manager was “a nice guy who does what he can to help, but his job is obviously to get the construction going as quickly as possible”.

He said the order to extend allowable construction times should be reversed because “it prioritizes economy and development over the convenience and psychological well-being of the community”.

Mr. Seidler from the NSW MBA admitted that there had been an increase in complaints about construction noise during the closure last year.

“I absolutely understand that a lot of people work from home and the effects of noise are bothersome,” he said. “Builders are aware of these problems and certainly the conditions for developing applications speak of minimization [noise] where you can. But unfortunately there are noises of its own when building. “

Mr Seidler said housing construction has been fueled by government incentives as well as border restrictions, which mean people are spending money on their homes rather than traveling abroad.

Woollahra Mayor Susan Wynne said there was little that council could do as most of the construction noise, including the use of power tools, was allowed during the current COVID-19 lockdown.

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“We advise residents who have problems with construction noise to contact the builder concerned or the neighbor who uses loud equipment to see if a compromise is possible until the current lockdown is lifted,” she said.

Ms. Morgan said work with significant noise should only be allowed for short periods of time while people were working from home during the pandemic. “This would allow people to organize their work / study commitments around these time periods and leave home to shop or exercise when the digs are programmed,” she said.