THE Ministry of National Development on Monday said that the quality of build-to-order (BTO) flats has not been compromised, despite a significant ramp-up in its building programme over the last four years.
This was in response to concerns in Parliament about defects, poor quality or dissatisfaction with new flats, especially after residents of the latest Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project, Pasir Ris One, complained about the poor workmanship of the supposedly premium flats.
Desmond Lee, Minister of State for National Development, said on average, about one third of all new residents approach the Building Service Centre (BSC) for assistance after collecting their keys.
A quarter relate to issues such as low water pressure and paint stains. The rest relate to other defects that residents come across.
"The vast majority of the reported defects are surface imperfections such as hairline cracks on walls, scratches on timber floor, or uneven tile joints. The number of defects reported has not changed significantly. Such imperfections are mostly within acceptable industry norms and these are also common in private developments. They can and should be rectified quickly by the contractors, and do not affect the structural integrity or safety of the building," he said.
He added that there is an objective industry standard to measure the quality of building projects. It is assessed independently by the Building & Construction Authority (BCA). Over the years, the quality of BTO flats has improved significantly, according to its score which has risen from 2003 to 2014.
"It continues to rise and is comparable to that in private developments," Mr Lee said.
"We do have zero tolerance for defects which may compromise structural or safety standards, or which deviate significantly from what has been promised to buyers."
He also clarified that DBSS projects are developed by different private developers, who may offer varying fixtures and finishes for their projects.
"The feedback on the quality of finishes would differ from project to project. Nonetheless, residents who face issues with the quality of the flats may report them to the Building Service Centre managed by the developer during the Defects Liability Period.
"If the developer fails to address them, the buyers will have legal recourse against the developer as provided for under the S&P agreement. Although HDB is not a party to the S&P agreement, HDB plays an active role in ensuring a fair and satisfactory outcome. When DBSS flat buyers raise concerns or feedback about DBSS units, HDB will ask the developer to take appropriate action."