Whistling railings like pan pipes, not in a good way

Whistling balcony railings at a new Grey Lynn apartment block are drawing neighbourhood complaints, with people coming from blocks away to investigate.

Neighbours of the Barrington apartments at 554 Great North Rd say the noise is so loud and disturbing they have to leave their homes in strong winds.

But developer Craig Kells said one set of repairs had already been done and more are planned. He expects issues to be resolved soon.

Sherrol and Howard Manton live in a retirement village next to Barrington in the Grey Lynn shopping area near the end of Williamson Ave and say they are the closest neighbours to the rail-style balconies.


"When it gets really bad, you get to screaming point," said Sherrol Manton, a retired accountant, 71. "We get on the bus, go downtown and have a break."

Her husband, Howard Manton, a retired builder, concurred. People came from as far as three streets away to investigate the sound and complain about it, he said.

Another neighbour who contacted Kells directly around Christmas time said the balcony rails were taken down for a while "but put up in exactly the original position".

That neighbour, who did not wish to be named, likened the sound to pan pipes, but he said it wasn't a good sound.

Kells, whose company developed the block, acknowledged the whistling was an issue.

Somehow the block had ended up with a couple of whistling rails when the wind came from the southwest, Kells said.

The wind passing through the depth of the rail was causing a problem of vibrations and whistling, he said.

The new Barrington apartments are in Grey Lynn:

"We have had the rail supplier back on site and added extra horizontal supports to try and mitigate this problem. This has helped but not fixed the issue," Kells said.

"We have now engaged Glass Projects to install glass to the inside of the rails to stop the wind passing through and whistling. This process should be completed in the next three to four weeks," Kells said.

Summit Construction described the work at Barrington on its web site, telling how eight three-level apartments were being built.

Summit referred the Herald's inquiry about the building to Kells.

Barrington's website says the units will be different to others in the area.

Another artist's impression of Grey Lynn's Barrington apartment complex.
Another artist's impression of Grey Lynn's Barrington apartment complex.

"Barrington is set to start a new chapter in the historical retail precinct of Grey Lynn. Houses infused with stylish, contemporary architecture that reinvent traditional terrace housing, while providing unique live-work opportunities.

"Layouts combine the benefits of office and retail with spacious indoor and outdoor living, designed to cater for today's urban dwellers and entertainers. Inspiring spaces in which to retreat, entertain and dwell," the website says.

Virgil Roberts of Fresh Realty is marketing the units.

Barrington, the new 'whistling balcony' apartment block in Grey Lynn. This is an artist's impression of the block.
Barrington, the new 'whistling balcony' apartment block in Grey Lynn. This is an artist's impression of the block.

"It's been an issue to try to work out where the sound is coming from," he said of the railings.

"Whistling railings have been in different places, where someone has put something up, just like vertical louvres, which can also whistle, depending on the distances of the blades to each other and the width of the louvres," Roberts said.

Other whistling railings had been solved.

Roberts sold six units. The two units remaining are for sale at $1.75 million to $1.89m, he said.

Residents are yet to move into the building because settlements are just being processed, he said.