Residents of delayed Punggol BTO project to receive a combined $5 million in compensation

HDB said it has completed all seven blocks in the Waterway Sunrise II BTO project in Punggol. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE – All buyers of Punggol’s Waterway Sunrise II – one of two Build-To-Order (BTO) projects that exceeded their legal completion date during the Covid-19 pandemic – are set to receive their keys by end-March, with 896 of them to get an estimated $5,156,700 in total from the Housing Board as compensation for the delays.

Giving an update on the project on Saturday, the HDB said it will reimburse the buyers about $1,000 to $10,500, with households receiving $5,750 on average.

The reimbursement sum varies, depending on the selling price of the flat and the length of delay beyond the delivery possession date – the legal contractual date by which HDB must hand over the flat to buyers – said the board.

HDB said that it has completed all seven blocks in the project, which was launched in February 2017 and comprises 1,014 units, of which 951 have been booked.

In total, 896 households that had booked their flat by October 2021 are eligible for the reimbursements.

HDB added on Saturday that the other BTO project that has exceeded its delivery possession date – the 207-unit Anchorvale Village in Sengkang, contractually due by January 2023 – is on track for completion between May and July.

Its buyers will also be compensated, and the board had said in May 2022 that they can expect to receive between $2,270 and $6,360, based on the estimated delays then.

For the Sengkang project, HDB previously said that those who get their keys in May 2023 will get between $2,270 and $4,240, while those who get theirs in July 2023 will receive between $3,400 and $6,360.

After visiting some residents at Waterway Sunrise II on Saturday, National Development Minister Desmond Lee said about six in 10 have collected keys to their flats since December 2022, with the rest to do so by end-March.

HDB said units in five of the blocks have been handed over to buyers in stages, and about 550 households have collected their keys thus far. Flats in the remaining two blocks will be handed over to buyers after final checks are completed, said HDB.

Waterway Sunrise II has two-room flexi, three-room and four-room units.

Mr Lee said he is thankful for the patience, understanding and forbearance of home owners across Singapore who have had to put up with delayed projects.

They have had their lives disrupted, and have put up with “lots of inconvenience and uncertainty”, said the minister, who also acknowledged the work of contractors, consultants and those at HDB who have contributed to the delivery of flats amid the pandemic, which impacted the construction industry severely.

Among those who have collected the keys to their flats at Waterway Sunrise II are education coordinator Daryl Pang, 31, and his wife.

Mr Pang, who currently has no children, said that their plans to start a family were affected by the project’s delay, as they had wanted to settle down in their own home before having children.

While they did look at interim rental options, these were too costly, said Mr Pang. They ended up staying with his parents, and later his in-laws.

“If you have too many people at home, it is quite disruptive,” said Mr Pang. “But since the project was delayed, we used it as an opportunity to spend more time with family.”

He is planning to use the compensation amount – he received about $7,000 – to cover renovation costs partially, and hopes to move in by May, his wife’s birth month.

National Development Minister Desmond Lee visiting resident Daryl Pang’s (left) flat at Waterway Sunrise II on March 4, 2023. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Waterway Sunrise II’s construction timeline was affected after its original contractor, Lian Ho Lee Construction, ran into financial difficulties and had to cease operations on-site in 2020.

Further delays were caused by labour shortage and disruptions to material supplies in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. HDB said it has been working closely with contractors and other agencies to overcome these delays.

The board also said it quickly brought in a new contractor, Expand Construction, and rendered “various assistance measures so that the project could be completed safely and expeditiously without any compromise in its quality”.

When Expand Construction came on board in October 2020, about 45 per cent of Waterway Sunrise II had been completed.

To speed up the construction, works were carried out on Sundays following approval from the relevant authorities, and weekly management meetings were held to track milestones and address construction issues, said the board.

HDB also helped to secure precast components from a local supplier when the supply of these elements was affected by Malaysia’s Movement Control Order in 2021.

“Precast stocks were gathered and stored on temporary occupation licence land to avoid disrupting precast supply to site and ensure construction could proceed smoothly,” said the board.

To overcome manpower shortages caused by the “significant tightening of border controls for workers from South Asia”, which lasted for several months until end-2021, HDB helped the contractor to plan and optimise limited manpower, and to bring in more workers.

“Priority work areas were also identified so that the contractor could deploy its resources more effectively,” said HDB. It cited a structural environmental deck – an elevated platform linking the project’s seven blocks – that had to be completed before services such as water, electricity and gas, and telecom infrastructure could be installed.

HDB said that with the steady recovery of the construction industry following the pandemic, it is on track to complete and deliver keys to buyers of 20,000 flats across 22 housing projects in 2023.

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