New home owners still stuck in limbo, unclear when renovation works will be completed

Ms Alisya Fatin and her husband had plans to move into their new home in Pasir Ris in mid-June.
PHOTO: Courtesy of Alisya Fatin

She has been staying with her parents for more than two months after renovation work at her flat was suspended.

This was after the circuit breaker was imposed on April 7.

Thousands of home renovations have also stalled until recently, affecting home owners such as Ms Alisya Fatin, 24, a customer support officer.

But even as the country entered phase two, she is still stuck in limbo with no completion date in sight.

The Building and Construction Authority had said on June 13 that more than 19,000 suspended home renovation projects can now resume work. But it would depend on the availability of manpower and supplies.

Ms Alisya married Mr Muhd Fairuz, 29, on June 13, and they were supposed to move into their four-room resale flat in Pasir Ris in mid-June.

Renovation had started in mid-March, but now the flat is mostly empty, with only hacking work done and construction tools lying around.

Ms Alisya, who bought the flat for $400,000, said she spent another $25,000 on renovation, excluding the cost of furniture which she has yet to buy.

She said the contractor company she engaged has been trying to get its workers back from Malaysia but they were unable to return to Singapore for work due to travel restrictions.

She said: "I am sad but there is nothing much I can do but wait. I kept asking when construction can continue again, but eventually I stopped because I didn't want to seem pushy or irritating."

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The couple has been staying with her parents in a five-room flat, together with three of her siblings aged 18 to 29.

She added: "I am disappointed but I know I am not the only one who is facing this. The silver lining is spending more time with my family."

Another frustrated home owner is a civil servant who wanted to be known only as Ms Png, 36. She was supposed to move into her five-room condominium in Serangoon in April.

Most of the project's construction workers are Malaysians who need to be approved for work.

The mother of two preschoolers said the wait has been almost three months, with no completion date in sight.

Ms Png , who has been staying at her in-laws' four-room Housing board flat, said: "It is inconvenient that my family of four is squeezed in a room and have to sleep on a mattress on the floor."

Mr Edward Seet, principal designer of Arche Interior, told TNP he has 20 affected clients whose renovations have been halted due to the circuit breaker.

Mr Seet, 34, said he could resume four of his suspended projects earlier this month but was limited to only about three workers a day.

He added that although the shortage in manpower has not led to price hikes yet, more potential stringent tests and measures implemented might affect the cost for renovation contractors. He said: "Renovation during this period is fraught with uncertainties. It is important to expect delays and keep an open mind on changes to work deliveries."

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.