Set timeframe for construction of homes

I live in Lornie Road, across from MacRitchie Reservoir.

In 2010, a permit was issued and construction commenced on a large single-family dwelling in my street.

Now, five years later, the house is, at most, half completed.

There are no exterior or interior walls, or ceilings.

The "building" is essentially only a skeleton and is surrounded by unsightly scaffolding.

I have monitored the construction of houses in the area, and can attest that the average time from start to completion of construction is approximately one year.

Work on the building is sporadic, but when it does happen, there is noise pollution, and lorries clog the road.

The half-finished building is an eyesore and is undoubtedly having a negative impact on property values and rental rates in the area.

My complaint is not a personal one.

I suspect that there are similar situations in Singapore, where an uncaring developer neglects construction of a building after construction has commenced.

I understand that developers of condominium buildings are expected to complete them within a specified period of time.

Shouldn't developers of single-family dwellings also have time constraints?

Clearly, there could be reasons for the delay, but a five- to seven-year period for building a house should not be countenanced, especially in a city as organised and beautiful as Singapore.

Available remedies may be heavy fines and, ultimately, condemnation.

I have spoken to people at the Building and Construction Authority about this matter, and while they have been sympathetic, they say their hands are tied.

It is time to untie them.

Michael Blaine Evanoff

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2015, with the headline 'Set timeframe for construction of homes'. Print Edition | Subscribe