HDB committed to seeing defects in BTO flats fixed

Minister says 95% of problems reported are resolved within standard 14-day period

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee has urged residents to inform the Housing Board if contractors are "dragging their feet" over fixing defects.

But 95 per cent of defects reported are fixed within the standard 14-day period, he said in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Lee was replying to Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), who had asked what new home owners could do if contractors or the Building Service Centre (BSC) "are reluctant or dragging their feet" in responding to complaints about defects in new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats.

The BSC is open at each completed project during the one-year defects liability period.

Mr Liang also said there seemed to be too few HDB officers to handle the volume of complaints.

156 defects in new Sengkang BTO flat

  • A female homeowner found over 150 defects in her new Build-to-Order (BTO) flat in Sengkang, reported Lianhe Wanbao.
  • Miss Su, 43, spent close to $300,000 on her new flat at Fernvale Link Block 468B and has found 12 pages of defects in the four-room unit.
  • The house was bought for his family and they were hoping to move in before Chinese New Year which falls on Feb 8, 2016.
  • The manager said the keys were ready for collection in April, but as some of the roads and facilities downstairs were not yet completed, she only got the keys at the end of October.
  • When she surveyed the house, she found many problems. Listing them all out, she found 156 defects, that is 12 pages worth of large and small issues.

But staffing at BSCs has been increased, Mr Lee said, adding: "Let us know which areas are of concern. We will look into enhancing (support for) them."

Defects in new flats were a concern for two other MPs.

Mr Lee told Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) that the Construction Quality Assessment System score for each project, which is on HDB's website, reflects the quality standard.

Ms Pereira had asked that information on complaints and the progress of rectification be made public on the HDB's website.

As for whether the defects liability period could be extended should owners be unsatisfied, Mr Lee told Ms Sun Xueling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) that each case would have to be assessed individually. "For specific cases... HDB will do what is appropriate and right in the circumstances," he added.

Another issue is the Enhancement for Active Seniors scheme, which subsidises elder-friendly fittings in flats.

Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) asked if it could include the construction of ramps at flat entrances with more than a single step. The scheme provides ramps for single-step entrances.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, explaining why it could not, said such ramps required customised solutions. "This is why our approach is to let flat owners identify and choose their preferred solutions from among the wide range of commercially available solutions in the market."

This article was first published on January 30, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

More about