Building defects have economic, social impact

Narrow corridors, leaking pipes and spontaneously shattering glass panels are but a few of the many defects that Singapore home owners have to contend with ("Corridors of discontent at Pasir Ris One", June 25; "Gripes over finishes, fittings in DBSS flats at Centrale 8", June 13; and "Shattered shower screens, rusty lift door...", May 15).

These defects affecting Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) developments are a serious safety issue, and one which many Singaporeans have a vested interest in.

The Building and Construction Authority is the body tasked with ensuring high safety standards in our built environment.

However, if it does not act to regulate certain construction processes and deter developers from resorting to cost-cutting measures, then we will continue to see building defects arising from poor design, workmanship and materials.

It will only be a matter of time before someone is hurt because of such substandard work.

Singaporeans must know that the law does not work in our favour where defects are concerned.

Any built problems within our premises are our sole responsibility, and we remain liable for any accidents that might occur.

Keep in mind that latent defects may take years to show up.

The social and economic impact of building defects may include the depreciation of assets, increased maintenance cost, litigation costs, disharmony and increased stress levels.

We need to make certain changes to the current regulation framework if we want Singaporeans to be confident in the quality and safety of our buildings.

Clare Tan I Ling (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2015, with the headline 'Building defects have economic, social impact'. Print Edition | Subscribe