SINGAPORE - Residents of Pasir Ris One - the last of the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) projects - have raised concerns over problems with their premium Housing Board flats.
The Straits Times understands that complaints involve common corridors that are too narrow, persistent workmanship defects and design flaws.
In one case, a resident living on the second floor found the view from his balcony blocked due to the position of the sheltered drop-off area directly below his unit.
"This was never in the original plans," said the resident, who identified himself as Mr So. "If I knew the top of the shelter would go beyond the first floor, I would have purchased a unit on a higher floor.
"It's very disappointing because this was supposed to be my dream home," the general manager, 42, told The Straits Times.
According to Mr So, the project's developers had offered to upgrade his three-room flat to a four-room unit as there were no other three-room ones available.
Pasir Ris One is a collaboration between property developers SingHaiyi Group and Kay Lim Holdings. The 447-unit project was launched in April 2012 and a unit costs between $390,000 and $770,000.
A major bugbear for residents is the narrow common corridor, which according to Chinese daily Shin Min Daily News measures just 1.17m wide.
Based on fire safety guidelines published on the Singapore Civil Defence Force website, a minimum clearance of 1.2m is required.
"It's enough of a squeeze that two people might have trouble walking side by side," said one resident who declined to be named. "This could be a serious safety hazard in the event of emergencies."
Others were worried whether larger pieces of furniture could fit through the corridors.
Mr Dennis Lam, SingHaiyi's project admin manager, told The Straits Times: “The designs and plans for this development have been approved and fall within all guidelines stipulated by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), which were established with safety and comfort of residents in mind."
"That said, we take the residents’ views seriously and will take all feedback on board for review. We are in touch with owners who have provided us with feedback and are currently working with them to address their respective concerns.”
Residents also highlighted issues within their flats, such as how the master bedroom could not fit a king-sized bed.
But a resident by the name of Mr Lim, who had purchased a three-room unit, said he was already prepared for the small unit size after viewing the showflat.
About the Design, Build and Sell Scheme
THE Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) was launched in 2005 to offer higher-income flat buyers homes with better designs and finishes.
Built on government land, DBSS flats are designed and sold by private developers, and typically come with fittings and better finishings than standard Build-to-Order flats. But unlike private condos, these projects do not have facilities such as pools and gyms.
The DBSS was suspended in 2011 after a public outcry over high indicative price tags for units at Centrale 8 in Tampines.
The developer had given an initial price of $880,000 for a five-room unit, which was later lowered to $778,000.
Pasir Ris One, launched in April 2012, was the last project offered under the scheme before it was suspended.
There have been 13 projects under the DBSS scheme.
A Housing Board spokesman said the scheme is "currently not a priority".
Instead, Mr Lim was unhappy over the persistent defects such as floor tiles popping up, cracks on window panes and stains on doors.
"The developers sent workers to fix the defects, but the problems kept cropping up as the workmanship was poor to begin with," he said.
"It definitely doesn't feel like this is worth the amount of money we paid."
In response, SingHaiyi's Mr Lam said the developer is taking residents' views seriously and was reviewing all feedback received. He added that it was in touch with owners and is currently working with them.
The Housing Development Board (HDB) told The Straits Times that it is actively engaging with SingHaiyi to address residents' concerns. "Discussions are on-going between the developer and the residents, and HDB is closely monitoring the progress," it said in a statement
Other DBSS projects have also been plagued by similar woes. Earlier this month, a group of residents of Centrale 8 in Tampines were upset about the quality of the finishes and fittings and were hoping to get the developer to extend the warranty period for defects.
Those living at Trivelis in Clementi were also told in May that they could receive a goodwill package from developers after various problems - from defective stove knobs and rusty dish racks to shower glass panels that shattered easily - were detected.