Forum: Consider liveability and environment when giving out awards in construction sector

In December, there were two Forum letters in which writers listed defects in their condominiums after they moved in and expressed disappointment with the developers and their main contractors, some of which were award winners for quality (Important to maintain quality control in construction sector, Dec 21, 2020; Developers, builders need to uphold construction quality standards, Dec 27, 2020).

There has been no response to these letters.

A little over three months ago, a relative of mine got the keys to his new executive condominium (EC). In that short span of time, the lifts in his block malfunctioned so many times they had to be shut down for major repairs not once, but twice.

The balcony drainage was choked with construction debris upon handover, and the paintwork in his unit is already peeling.

In the residents' chat group, others have said they are having quality issues, like rust forming on balcony railings, water seepage marks on walls, rust spots appearing on kitchen sinks, and more.

There are also leaking tap joints - rubber gaskets that seal the connection are missing. How could such basics be missed?

Yet the developer of the EC and its main contractors were recently given top awards by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

That residents' lived experiences are not at that top level suggest the award system needs a relook, not least to include the building occupants' feedback.

I also feel BCA's award criteria are lacking in two important areas: liveability and climate change considerations.

It is not uncommon to see residential units with tiny bedrooms, yet including three or four toilets and an oversized balcony being marketed.

On climate-related issues, it is almost a trend to build condos with facades made entirely of glass. This is hardly suitable for a tropical climate like ours.

It results in units baking in the sun and most times, residents have to switch on air-conditioning to counter the heat. Why do away with the good old combination of brick walls and windows?

Also, little to no consideration is given for residents' need to sun their laundry. With the abundance of sunlight here, it is an irony that developers expect people to make more use of clothes dryers.

All these moves to consume more electricity needlessly are just racing our earth to its death.

BCA should consider these factors when assessing the winners of its annual awards.

Peh Chwee Hoe

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