HDB actively facilitates satisfactory outcome in cases of DBSS projects defects. The Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, gave this assurance in Parliament yesterday (May 6).
The Minister was responding to a parliamentary question on DBSS projects defects asking:
“whether there are ongoing complaints from owners of apartments in DBSS projects about fixture defects such as recurrent discolored flooring; and what help will the Ministry give to such apartment owners in resolving the issues with the DBSS developer after the defects liability period.”
Mr Wong answered the question on DBSS projects defects saying:
“The Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) was introduced in 2005 to give flat buyers more choice by allowing private developers to design, build and sell flats directly to buyers. While HDB sets the eligibility requirements for purchase and provides broad planning parameters, the DBSS developer is responsible for the design, pricing and construction of the flat.
Under the Sale and Purchase (S&P) Agreement signed between home buyers and the DBSS developer, the developer is contractually required to build the unit in accordance with the materials, finishes, and other specifications set out in the Agreement. The Agreement also stipulates that the developer must rectify any defects within the one-year Defects Liability Period (DLP). Flat owners are responsible for the maintenance of their flats after the DLP.
From time to time, HDB is made aware of concerns from some DBSS flat owners about the quality of the fixtures in their flats. In such cases, although HDB is not a party to the S&P Agreement between the developer and the buyer, HDB actively seeks to facilitate a fair and satisfactory outcome.
For instance, if HDB receives feedback from DBSS flat owners on new or recurrent defects, whether during or after the DLP, HDB will surface the issues raised to the developer and urge the developer to address the issues with the owners. These issues may be complicated due to differences in views on what constitutes a defect. Should disagreements persist, HDB will advise flat owners to seek independent legal advice on their possible options for recourse under the S&P Agreement.”
New HDB flat buyers should note that some reports say that there are 400 to 600 defects on average, in any newly TOP BTO unit.
For example in May 2015, 500 residents of a HDB Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat, Trivelis, got up in arms over various problems with the development. The residents complained of defects like shattered shower glass panels and narrow common corridors that are prone to flooding. The developer of the DBSS flat, EL Development, responded by offering goodwill packages to the residents. To address the complaints, the developers also installed fixtures – which included setting up new drainage pipes to prevent flash flooding and replacing shattered shower screens.
Property analyst Ku Swee Yong notes about DBSS projects defects in his book ‘Weathering A Property Downturn – Defensive Plays for Real Estate Investors’, that bad workmanship is apparent in several public housing developments.
“Bad workmanship is not just getting more apparent in private residential developments. Some of the recent incidents in public housing discussed in Parliament included: defects and design flaws in DBSS (Design, Build and Sell Scheme) flats such as Centrale 8, Pasir Ris One and Trivelis, and BTO (Build-To-Order) flats in Chua Chu Kang, Pungol and Bukit Panjang. Residents complained about overly narrow corridors, cracked walls, plaster slabs falling off the façade of HDB blocks, uneven flooring, leaks and overflowing toilets.”
A property is a big ticket item and remains the biggest financial commitment for most HDB upgraders, which is my they must thoroughly check for DBSS projects defects before they take possession of the apartment.
You should make sure that the unit you receive is in the best possible condition, before rushing to renovate it. Checking for defects and getting HDB to rectify it within the DLP will also save you some money in renovations.
And while we are on the topic of saving money, especially for purchases of big ticket items like your homes, you could probably save more money if you choose bank loans for your mortgage over HDB loans.
From 2008 to present-day, bank loans have been much cheaper. Even now, with interest rates on the rise, the typical bank loan charges – at about two per cent interest per annum – is cheaper than an HDB loan, which is still at 2.6 per cent per annum.
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