Thursday 12 January 2012

HDB to speed up upgrading of old flats

160,000 units built before 1987 set for facelift in next 5 years
By Toh Yong Chuan, The Straits Times, 10 Jan 2012

THE Housing Board (HDB) aims to repair and renovate three times as many old flats in the next five years, with 160,000 earmarked to get a new look under the Home Improvement Programme (HIP).

This is on top of the 50,000 flats under the scheme in the last five years.

In all, about 300,000 flats built before 1987 are eligible for the programme. This is about one-third of all HDB flats in Singapore.

With the pace quickening, HIP for the outstanding 250,000 units will be implemented over the next 10 years, said Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan in Parliament yesterday.

He was replying to Mr Ang Wei Neng (Jurong GRC), who asked for an update on the programme and the repair of spalling concrete.

HIP gives home owners a new toilet, doors and refuse-chute hoppers at heavily subsidised prices. It also repairs, for free, spalling concrete and structural cracks, replaces waste pipes and fixes new electrical wiring.

So far, HIP works have been completed for 5,800 flats of the 50,000 picked in the last five years, said Mr Lee.

Each HIP project takes two to three years to complete and the remaining 44,200 should be completed by 2014, a Ministry of National Development (MND) spokesman told The Straits Times.

Mr Lee also told the House that the selection of HDB precincts for HIP depends on such factors as the budget and capacity of the construction industry.

On the problem of spalling concrete in old flats, he said that about 8,300 cases are reported each year, which is about 1 per cent of all HDB flats in Singapore.

The problem is more serious for older flats built between 1983 and 1986, he added. Cases make up 2 per cent of these flats each year.

The MND spokesman said that about 190,000 flats were built during that period.

Painting will help prevent spalling concrete, Mr Lee said.

While flat owners are responsible for ceiling repairs, Mr Lee said the HDB's Goodwill Repairs Assistance Programme will pay for half the repair bill if the spalling concrete is caused by water leaks.

The remaining cost is shared between the owners of the affected units.

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