New migrant worker dormitories to meet improved standards

Victor Kang20 Sep 2021

New dormitories will have rooms that are at least 4.2 sq m of living space per resident, an improvement from 3.5 sq m. In addition, rooms will also be fitted with en-suite toilets that will be shared among six residents and beds will be spaced at least 1m apart. 

All new migrant worker dormitories will have to comply with improved standards to strengthen resilience against future pandemics as well as enhance liveability.

The new standards – which were developed by the Ministry of National Development (MND), Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Manpower (MOM) – comes after a review and pilot of a set of standards at Quick Build Dormitories (QBDs).

“These standards were subsequently refined, based on our experiences with the QBDs and in managing the COVID-19 outbreak in the dormitories,” said MOM.

The review, on the other hand, took into consideration the feedback given by stakeholders including dormitory operators, migrant workers, employers, architects, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The ministry noted that the improved standards will apply to all new dormitories, including factory-converted dormitories (FCDs), purpose-built dormitories (PBDs), temporary occupation licence quarters (TOLQs) and construction temporary quarters (CTQs).

Recommended read: Government Announces New and Improved Foreign Worker Dormitories Near Residential Areas

With the improved standards, new dormitories will be modular, with rooms having at least 4.2 sq m of living space per resident, an improvement from 3.5 sq m.

The rooms will be fitted with en-suite toilets that will be shared among six residents and beds will be spaced at least 1m apart. They will also have Wi-Fi coverage, while occupancy will be capped at 12.

MOM noted that there is currently no cap on the number of residents per room, albeit 12 to 16 residents occupy each room “in practice”.

Communal facilities, such as dining, cooking, and laundry facilities, will be segmented for use by up to 120 residents, while occupancies per floor will be capped at 240 residents.

Dormitory rooms and toilets will also have better ventilation, with each toilet having at least one exhaust fan, while rooms will have adequate number of fans to ensure sufficient air circulation.

To facilitate early detection and quick isolation of unwell residents, with increased isolation facility capacity as well as requirements to facilitate wastewater surveillance.

New dormitories will be required to have 10 isolation beds per 1,000 bed spaces during peacetime, up from one per 1,000 bed spaces currently. An additional 15 isolation beds per 1,000 bed spaces will have to be stood up during pandemics.

“The improved standards will complement existing safeguards such as enhanced Safe Living and Safe Working Measures at dormitories and worksites, including the implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, and the multi-layered strategy to detect, isolate and contain outbreaks,” said MOM.

The new standards will be applied to the two new PBDs at Kranji and Jalan Tukang, which are set to be completed over the next three years.

“To ensure the timely construction of PBD beds in the current economic climate, the Government will construct and own these dormitories, while the day-to-day operations will be managed by a dormitory operator,” said MOM.

It explained that some dormitories may be located closer to residential areas, given Singapore’s limited land area.

“We hope that Singaporeans will continue to give their support to these workers who build and maintain our homes and public spaces.”


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Victor Kang, Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this story, email:


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