Wednesday, 3 June 2015

[Today] BCA should consider longer warranty period for properties

While I applaud the Housing and Development Board’s efforts to help Trivelis residents, one of the causes of home buyers’ woes has yet to be addressed (“HDB working with developer, local MP to address Trivelis issues”; May 23).
Perhaps the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) needs to consider legislation, with severe penalties, to rein in abuses of warranty obligations in the lucrative property industry.
A warranty is an assurance of quality and responsibility to customers, and it is strange that developers offer only one-year warranties, despite the market value of units reaching millions of dollars and the extended life cycle of these products.
Many low-value products such as electric kettles and fans have a one-year warranty for defects, while reputable manufacturers of products such as refrigerators and air conditioners provide five-year warranties for compressor defects.
Logically, the BCA should review the warranty period, commensurate with the high value of property, to ensure compliance with building and construction technical specifications, as well as delivery of quality in accordance with performance standards in the industry.
Although the Design, Build and Sell Scheme has been on ice since 2011, remaining projects have continued to run their course.
The experiences of some DBSS homeowners have shown flaws in the industry’s practices and highlighted the need to rein in unfair treatment by developers.
The crux of the problem is that a short warranty period is ineffective and insufficient for ascertaining fully the performance of durable gadgets and delicate installations.
Visual inspections and cursory tests may not reveal the full extent of shoddy installation and workmanship. Defects in ceilings, masonry and sewerage may require a longer period to reveal themselves.
Hence, the interests of homeowners should receive due legal protection: At least a two-year mandatory warranty period under fair business practices. Ample time should be allowed for rectification work to take place.