Schemes in place to promote workmanship quality

We thank Ms Clare Tan I Ling for her feedback ("Set standards for developers to fix DBSS complaints"; July 7, and "Building defects have economic, social impact"; July 13).

We agree that the safety of our buildings should be a matter of strict regulation.

Indeed, this is why the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) regulates the structural aspect of construction to ensure that safety standards are met.

BCA will issue the Certificate of Statutory Completion for new developments only when requirements under the Building Control Act and Regulations have been met, and upon obtaining declarations from the Qualified Persons and builders, and the necessary clearances from other relevant authorities such as the Singapore Civil Defence Force, Land Transport Authority, PUB, National Parks Board, and so on.

This regime is in place to ensure that all buildings are safe for occupation and are structurally sound.

On promoting standards for the quality of work, BCA developed the Construction Quality Assessment System (Conquas) and Quality Mark for Good Workmanship (QM).

The requirements under these two schemes are benchmarked against prevailing industry standards.

Conquas, which is based on a sampling approach, is a good yardstick to measure workmanship quality and has pushed up the workmanship quality of projects over the years.

Home buyers can view the Conquas scores of past projects at the BCA website.

QM is a rigorous quality assessment system and a voluntary scheme for new private residential developments.

It adopts a 100 per cent check on the workmanship quality of internal finishes in all units.

Developers or builders can subscribe to QM so as to set higher quality standards for their projects.

Home buyers can refer to the BCA website or the QM Homes mobile application to check if their development has subscribed to and achieved the QM.

To ensure that the construction workforce is kept updated on good quality practices, the BCA Academy - the education and training arm of BCA - conducts training programmes on construction quality for workers, site supervisors and managers on a regular basis.

Over the years, BCA has also launched 14 Good Industry Practice guidebooks on the best practices of essential construction trades, to enable industry stakeholders to refine practices and improve workmanship quality.

While there are industry standards for workmanship quality, there is a subjective element across individual assessments.

The resolution of disputes over quality are handled under the Sale and Purchase Agreement between the developer and purchaser.

Developers are required to repair and make good any defects that appear during the defects liability period after project completion.

This is consistent with what is practised in other countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Ding Hock Hui
Director, Quality and Certification Department
Building and Construction Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2015, with the headline 'Schemes in place to promote workmanship quality'. Print Edition | Subscribe