Thursday, 28 May 2015

[Straits Times] Quality benchmark for HDB flats needed

RECENT reports on workmanship issues at Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) and Build-to-Order (BTO) flats raise the question of what the HDB can do to prevent recurrences ("Many problems, so DBSS flat owners may get goodwill package"; May 15, and "Hairline cracks found on walls of new Punggol flats"; last Friday).
HDB flat buyers expect to receive a flat with quality finishing and workmanship, in line with the goals of the HDB to provide quality flats to Singaporeans.
Therefore, it is imperative that the HDB look at increasing its service standards and accountability to the public.
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) already has a Quality Mark scheme for good workmanship. It sets the standard for workmanship quality in homes.
Currently, private developers can voluntarily submit their properties for assessment and get certified.
The reported issues at the DBSS and BTO projects are common issues that are part of the Quality Mark assessment.
Hence, I propose that the HDB consider including a BCA Quality Mark assessment for all HDB developments, moving forward.
This would enable the HDB to work proactively with the building developer to rectify issues before gaining the Temporary Occupation Permit, as part of the assessment, and also assure buyers of a quality home that is built based on best practices.
Besides this, it would be good to extend the assessment to all private residential developments, instead of making it voluntary, as it would raise the level of workmanship in homes for all residents in Singapore.
Wong Shih Shen