Review Home Improvement Programme processes

Workers on a gondola washing the walls of the facade of the HDB flat to prepare for a freshcoat of paint as part of the the Home Improvement Programme or upgrading of the HDB flats at Toa Payoh Lorong 8, on Oct 21, 2018.
Workers on a gondola washing the walls of the facade of the HDB flat to prepare for a freshcoat of paint as part of the the Home Improvement Programme or upgrading of the HDB flats at Toa Payoh Lorong 8, on Oct 21, 2018. PHOTO: ST FILE

My precinct is currently undergoing the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

It surprised me that the renovation workers took 10 full calendar days to upgrade one toilet.

The time taken is far too long, be it for one or two toilets, since an adult from each household needs to be physically present for the duration of the period.

Imagine the economic downtime if a household does not have a foreign domestic worker or non-working family member, and a working adult is forced to go on leave for 10 days. Today's job market is tough and employers may not be able or willing to grant this long period of absence.

From my observation, this long upgrading time stems from the renovation workers not dedicating themselves to work on one unit at a time, working instead on multiple units each day. Thus, on each of these 10 days of upgrading, there are typically hours in which no work at all is carried out because the worker would be working on another unit.

If this process is reviewed, I am sure the total time required for upgrading could be halved, making it more manageable for working adults.

I also hope that as part of the HIP, the Housing Board would consider concrete ledges for older units that currently have air-conditioners sitting on metal racks that are not only corroding, but which may also accumulate water in which mosquitoes can breed.

Victor Tan Thiam Siew

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2019, with the headline 'Review Home Improvement Programme processes'. Print Edition | Subscribe