To reduce the length of delays, the HDB is working with various agencies on mitigating measures such as securing “exemptions to allow less noisy construction activities to be carried out on Sundays and Public Holidays where possible”.
With the construction industry being one of the hardest-hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic, most Build-to-Order (BTO) projects have been delayed by around six to 12 months beyond their original estimated completion dates, said the Ministry of National Development in Parliament on Tuesday (6 July).
It noted that BTO projects launched last year have an average waiting time of about four to five years.
“Generally, the waiting time for newly launched BTO projects is expected to be longer, due to longer time needed to prepare the sites, as well as ongoing requirements to comply with strict safe management measures (SMM) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the ministry in its written response to Member of Parliament Shawn Huang Wei Zhong’s question on the average completion time for new BTO projects.
The extent of delay will depend on site-specific factors like the contractor’s performance, manpower availability and available supply of materials.
To reduce the length of delays, the HDB is working with various agencies on mitigating measures such as securing “exemptions to allow less noisy construction activities to be carried out on Sundays and Public Holidays where possible”, said MND.
On the alternative housing arrangements provided by the HDB, the ministry encouraged flat buyers to find alternative housing arrangements with relatives, family members or on the open market.
“Where they are unable to do so, first-timer applicants who are waiting for their BTO flats could apply for temporary housing under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme (PPHS),” it said.
But given the limited supply of PPHS flats, MND is looking at finetuning the allocation process in order that families with greater need of temporary housing may be given priority.
“We are also studying ways to increase the supply of temporary housing to better support affected flat buyers in need of housing,” it said.
MND assured that they will provide more details on the measures once they are ready.
“For low-income households with no family support and no other housing options, HDB will consider offering Interim Rental Housing (IRH) on a case-by-case basis,” it said.
The ministry added that HDB will also consider waiving the forfeitures arising from the cancellation of flat bookings.
Generally, flat buyers who cancel their flat bookings either forfeit their option fee, or 5% of the unit’s purchase price, and wait out one year before they can again apply for subsidised housing – whether for a new HDB flat or a resale flat with grants.
“The waiver of the one-year wait out period will allow first-timer families with urgent housing needs to receive housing grants if they decide to buy a resale flat,” said MND.
Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email: email@example.com