SINGAPORE - Residents of the latest Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project, Pasir Ris One, have complained about the poor workmanship of the supposedly premium Housing Board flats. A unit at Pasir Ris One costs between $390,000 and $770,000. A five-room unit cost $680,000. In comparison, the cost for a five-room unit in Costa Ris, a Build-to-Order in Pasir Ris which launched in 2011 and was recently completed, started from $335,000.
Pasir Ris One unit owners have had to deal with issues such as tiles popping up, cracks on window panes and stains on doors.
A major complaint for most is that the common corridors are too narrow. According to Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News, the corridors are just 1.17m wide.
Based on fire safety guidelines published on the Singapore Civil Defence Force website, a minimum clearance of 1.2m is required.
The Design, Build and Sell Scheme was launched in 2005 to offer higher-income flat buyers homes with better designs and finishes. Built on government land, DBSS flats are designed and sold by private developers, and should typically come with fittings and better finishings than standard Build-to-Order flats. But unlike private condos, these projects do not have facilities such as pools and gyms.
The DBSS was suspended in 2011 after a public outcry over high indicative price tags for units at Centrale 8 in Tampines. The developer had given an initial price of $880,000 for a five-room unit, which was later lowered to $778,000.
Pasir Ris One, launched in April 2012, was the last project offered under the scheme before it was suspended. There were 13 DBSS projects.
Pasir Ris One is not the first DBSS project to earn the ire of its residents. Previous projects Centrale 8 in Tampines, Trivelis in Clementi and The Peak in Toa Payoh also received complaints from residents after the latter moved in.
Here is a closer look at the complaints made about these three DBSS projects.
Earlier this month, a petition, signed by residents from more than 350 Centrale 8 units, was submitted to Sim Lian Group, the developer of the project.
Residents asked for the soon-to-expire one-year Defects Liability Period, during which the developer is obliged to rectify any defects, to be extended as well as compensation for defects "that cannot be reasonably rectified".
Residents lodged complaints over defects as well as design issues such as the quality of the finishes and fittings in their premium flats.
Madam E. Tan, a secretary who moved in in March, said she had to get the developer to fix problems in her home, including faulty toilet and balcony locks.
Risk consultant Michelle Lim, 35, who paid $750,000 for her five-room flat, said a water pipe in her bathroom burst last December, causing water to seep into her bedroom flooring and wall.
It was announced on June 25, 2015 that Education Minister Heng Swee Keat will oversee a special taskforce set up to handle the concerns of Tampines Centrale 8 residents.
The troubled DBSS project faced complaints about defective stove knobs, rusty dish racks and poor quality laminate flooring.
Residents also said that the common corridors in a few floors flooded during heavy rain, with the water level rising by as much as 4cm and seeping into several units.
In response to the complaints, EL Development (ELD), the developer for the project, offered residents a goodwill package on May 26.
Among other remedies, the developer said that it would offer free installation of safety films on the glass shower screens. There were at least three cases of glass shower screens shattering. ELD also said it would install new drainage pipes to prevent ponding during heavy rain.
Less then half a year after residents had moved in to their flats, complaints were made over the quality, workmanship and cleanliness of the 1,203-unit DBSS project. Residents were given the keys to their premium flats in 2012.
Major concerns included the quality of materials used and the workmanship of flooring and doors in the flats.
Mr Gary Lim, 40, who bought a five-room flat for $550,000, said that some of the wooden flooring in his unit had turned black - a problem faced by several other homeowners.
Mr K.S. Tan, who also bought a five-room flat, said defects in his unit were promptly rectified when the contractors were told, but quickly resurfaced.
"The kitchen cabinet laminates which were glued back came off again within a week, the bedroom cabinet doors still cannot be closed properly even after the workers worked on the hinges," he said.
The Straits Times / S'pore Published on Thursday, 25 June 2015