More buildings win BCA award for user-friendly design this year

SINGAPORE - A record 37 projects have received a Building and Construction Authority award for user-friendly design this year, said the BCA in a statement on Tuesday.

The BCA Universal Design Mark is a voluntary certification scheme for developers and architects who adopt the philosophy of "universal design" - that is, designing buildings that are accessible and user-friendly for all, including the young, the elderly and persons with disabilities.

"As the agency championing universal design in the built environment, BCA is heartened to see the rise in award winners each year, from 26 when we first started the UD Mark in 2013 to 37 projects this year," said BCA's Building Plan and Management Group director Chin Chi Leong.

The rise shows the industry's commitment to "supporting an inclusive society through a user-friendly built environment", he added.

This year, the highest honour of the Platinum Award was given to condominium d'Leedon, commercial building Westgate, and ITE College Central.

At d'Leedon, which is developed by CapitaLand Group, 18 per cent of the units have elderly-friendly design features such as an additional peephole at the main door at a height suitable for wheelchair users and children, step-free entrances to the unit and its rooms, and help-call buttons in bathrooms and bedrooms.

With this latest award, CapitaLand has received three out of the seven Universal Design Platinum Mark awards in Singapore, noted CapitaLand Limited group chief corporate officer Tan Seng Chai.

The developer has set a minimum requirement of Universal Design Gold Mark for its new projects here. The four categories of the Universal Design Mark are Certified, Gold, GoldPlus and Platinum.

Westgate, which comprises a shopping mall and an office tower, has a dedicated Family Zone with a playground, nursing rooms, and separate children's restrooms. ITE College Central has accessibility features such as ramps and wheelchair loan, as well as pro-family facilities such as family parking lots and a childcare centre.

The architectual consultant behind all three Platinum winners, RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd, was also the consultant for five other Universal Design Mark recipients this year.

"Universal design is not just about designing for the less abled, it is part and parcel of good architectural design - the thoughts, ideas and details in the end must benefit everyone who uses the spaces and facilities," said RSP managing director Lee Kut Cheung.

GoldPlus winners this year included the recently-refurbished Causeway Point mall and the Housing Board project Segar Grove, while Gold winners include residential projects, nature parks, and student halls of residence.

All the winners will receive their awards at the annual BCA Awards ceremony, to be held on May 14 at Resorts World Sentosa.