Set standards for developers to fix DBSS complaints

The current issues with Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) housing defects ("Task force set up to tackle grouses of Centrale 8 residents", June 26; "Quality benchmark for HDB flats needed" by Mr Wong Shih Shen, May 27; and "Many problems, so DBSS flat owners may get goodwill package", May 15) all stem from a regulatory and policy issue, which can easily be resolved.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has continually said that it lacks the authority to regulate the quality of workmanship and materials used in the construction of new homes.

This leads to many major defects in dwellings that are poorly built.

The certificate of statutory completion (CSC) adopted by the BCA is a self-certification system that is not as independent as it appears to be.

There is a serious conflict of interest when the architect applying for the CSC is also a client of the developer.

If developers know that there is no minimum standard to meet and no regulatory authority such as the BCA to hold them accountable, there is nothing to deter them from taking shortcuts in terms of workmanship, design and materials.

Since the BCA also has no jurisdiction to regulate defective workmanship, it will be the property buyers who will suffer.

This is one area of the industry that must be governed by strict liability regulations.

Incompetent developers cannot be allowed to impose such grievances upon society.

Unless we deal with the root cause of this problem, Singapore home owners will continue to suffer poor-quality homes that they spend their whole lives paying for.

Clare Tan I-Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 07, 2015, with the headline 'Set standards for developers to fix DBSS complaints'. Print Edition | Subscribe