HDB committed to seeing defects in BTO flats fixed

Minister says 95% of problems reported are resolved within standard 14-day period

The wall skirting which fell off at the Tampines GreenLeaf BTO. PHOTO: ST FILE

Senior Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee has urged residents to inform the Housing Board if contractors are "dragging their feet" over fixing defects.

But 95 per cent of defects reported are fixed within the standard 14-day period, he said in Parliament yesterday.

Mr Lee was replying to Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), who had asked what new home owners could do if contractors or the Building Service Centre (BSC) "are reluctant or dragging their feet" in responding to complaints about defects in new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats.

The BSC is open at each completed project during the one-year defects liability period.

Mr Liang also said there seemed to be too few HDB officers to handle the volume of complaints.

But staffing at BSCs has been increased, Mr Lee said, adding: "Let us know which areas are of concern. We will look into enhancing (support for) them."

Defects in new flats were a concern for two other MPs.

Mr Lee told Ms Joan Pereira (Tanjong Pagar GRC) that the Construction Quality Assessment System score for each project, which is on HDB's website, reflects the quality standard.

Ms Pereira had asked that information on complaints and the progress of rectification be made public on the HDB's website.

As for whether the defects liability period could be extended should owners be unsatisfied, Mr Lee told Ms Sun Xueling (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) that each case would have to be assessed individually. "For specific cases... HDB will do what is appropriate and right in the circumstances," he added.

Another issue is the Enhancement for Active Seniors scheme, which subsidises elder-friendly fittings in flats.

Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) asked if it could include the construction of ramps at flat entrances with more than a single step. The scheme provides ramps for single-step entrances.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, explaining why it could not, said such ramps required customised solutions. "This is why our approach is to let flat owners identify and choose their preferred solutions from among the wide range of commercially available solutions in the market."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline HDB committed to seeing defects in BTO flats fixed. Subscribe