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Old 11-02-2004, 10:21 AM   #151
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Can this be considered???


CPF grant not for private property

I REFER to the letter, "First-timer's CPF grant should apply" by Mr Roy Chang Say Won and Mr Henry Lim Li Shun (Today, Feb 3).
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The writers have suggested that the CPF Housing Grant be extended to first-timer buyers of resale Executive Condominium (EC) units.
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Resale EC units bought from the open market are similar to private properties. All the initial restrictions on ownership and resale of ECs are lifted five years after the EC's Temporary Occupation Permit date, except for the restriction on resale to foreigners and corporate bodies, which is lifted after 10 years.
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This is unlike resale HDB flats, which are subject to public housing rules and policies.
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As the CPF Housing Grant is not meant to subsidise the purchase of private property, the Government has no intention of extending the housing grant to buyers of resale EC units.
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Julia Hang (Mrs)
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Asst Director, Public Affairs
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Ministry of National
.
Development
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Old 11-02-2004, 05:39 PM   #152
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Originally posted by jq75
Can this be considered???
yes, although the resale EC is different from HDB resale flats but the direct EC follows quite alot of its ruling & policies same as HDB flats. this article will be useful for those upgraders.


Fm TODAY, 11 Feb 2004

CPF grant not for private property

REFER to the letter, "First-timer's CPF grant should apply" by Mr Roy Chang Say Won and Mr Henry Lim Li Shun (Today, Feb 3).

The writers have suggested that the CPF Housing Grant be extended to first-timer buyers of resale Executive Condominium (EC) units.

Resale EC units bought from the open market are similar to private properties. All the initial restrictions on ownership and resale of ECs are lifted five years after the EC's Temporary Occupation Permit date, except for the restriction on resale to foreigners and corporate bodies, which is lifted after 10 years.

This is unlike resale HDB flats, which are subject to public housing rules and policies.

As the CPF Housing Grant is not meant to subsidise the purchase of private property, the Government has no intention of extending the housing grant to buyers of resale EC units.

Julia Hang (Mrs)

Asst Director, Public Affairs
Ministry of National Development
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Old 12-02-2004, 09:19 AM   #153
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More carparks may get trial per-minute charging

I REFER to the letter, 'Have contactless system for per-minute parking' (ST, Feb 4), by Mr Yeo Ghee. The contactless system at the Rochor Centre and Toa Payoh Central carparks is part of HDB's pilot implementation of the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) Parking System. Along with the ERP Parking System, per-minute charging was introduced at these carparks on a trial basis.

HDB is considering introducing the ERP Parking System and per-minute charging in more of our carparks, where feasible.

ENG SOH SENG
Deputy Director (Car Parks)
For Director (Housing Administration)
Housing & Development Board
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Old 17-02-2004, 08:50 AM   #154
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HDB works with town councils, agencies to coordinate upgrading

FEB 17, 2004
HDB works with town councils, agencies to coordinate upgrading
WE REFER to the letter, 'New walkways, car lots go in 'upgrading' ' (ST, Jan 9), by Mr Yan Dah Wea.

The sheltered linkways at Bukit Batok Central/West Avenue 6 were built by the Jurong Town Council in 2001 as part of its improvement works for residents. The Town Council took due care to integrate the linkway designs with the surroundings. Construction of the linkways was completed in November 2001 and the local residents' committees were satisfied with the completed works.

The two carparks serving blocks 101 to 132 were built in the 1980s. When HDB surveyed their condition in 2001, there was already deterioration of the skid resistance and surface condition of the driveways. Some of the aeration slabs and concrete linings and kerbs were also damaged due to wear and tear over the years.

The lift-upgrading works for blocks 101 to 108 and 110 Bukit Batok Central/West Avenue 6 started in the second quarter of last year. Before works began, HDB conducted a survey to identify areas to be boarded up for proper work access and to ensure the safety of residents during the construction period.

As part of the preparatory works, the turf area had to be covered and certain sections of the linkway had to be removed to enable crane access.

By the time lift upgrading was announced in September 2001, work on the linkways was mostly completed. As it would not have been prudent to delay the improvement works for the carparks, HDB proceeded with the necessary works in April 2002, before polling for the lift upgrading in July 2002.

Nonetheless, HDB did make an effort to minimise wastage and disruptions. Eventually, less than one third of the linkways and 10 per cent of the parking lots were affected by the lift-upgrading works.

The cable-laying works along the service carpark near blocks 102 and 106 is not related to the lift-upgrading works. Road excavations are primarily carried out for utility-upgrading works, and the laying of new cables is to facilitate new development or to meet an increase in the demand for power supply.

The Land Transport Authority will coordinate and schedule road excavations with the utility service agencies doing their works sequentially to ensure that the works are carried out with minimal disruption to the public using the road.

We wish to assure the writer that the various agencies do recognise the benefits of coordinating construction works. However, this is not always possible due to unforeseen circumstances, as in this case.

HDB will continue to work with the town councils and external agencies to ensure that there is good coordination of upgrading and improvement works, and minimise disruption and wastage.

We thank Mr Yan for his feedback and suggestions.



TAN HENG HUAY
Deputy Director
(Public Affairs) Housing and Development Board


HO THIAN POH
General Manager
Jurong Town Council


HAN LIANG YUAN (MS)
Senior Manager
Corporate Communications
Land Transport Authority
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Old 18-02-2004, 10:52 PM   #155
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HDB Launches New Issuance of Notes

HDB Launches New Issuance of Notes

The Housing and Development Board ("HDB") today launched new issuance of Notes under its S$7 billion Medium Term Note ("MTN") Programme.

2The issuance comprises two series of Notes:
-One is a $250 million, 5-year Fixed Rate Note issue with a fixed rate coupon of 2.42% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears.
-Another is a $250 million,10-year Fixed Rate Note issue with a fixed rate coupon of 3.56% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears.

3The Notes to be issued will be in denominations of S$250,000 and will be offered by way of placement. Application is being made for the listing of the Notes on the Singapore Exchange Securities Trading Limited. The lead managers for both series are DBS Bank Ltd and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited.

4Under HDB's MTN programme, HDB will, from time to time, issue bonds (or notes) to finance its development programme and working capital requirements as well as to refinance its existing housing development loans. Each series of bonds (or notes) may be issued in various currencies, amounts and maturities, and may comprise bonds (or notes) with fixed, floating, or variable interest rates.

5HDB was set up as a statutory board on 1 February 1960. Over the last 40 years, it has built approximately 960,000 flats. HDB houses 84% of the Singapore's population and enable nine out of ten of them to be homeowners. This has made Singapore one of the highest home ownership nations in the world. The provision of quality housing and related services, and the renewal of the older HDB estates, will remain the focus for HDB.




Issued By : Housing & Development Board
Date : 16 Feb 2004
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Old 19-02-2004, 12:38 PM   #156
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Re: HDB Launches New Issuance of Notes

Originally posted by jq75
HDB Launches New Issuance of Notes

The Housing and Development Board ("HDB") today launched new issuance of Notes under its S$7 billion Medium Term Note ("MTN") Programme.

2The issuance comprises two series of Notes:
-One is a $250 million, 5-year Fixed Rate Note issue with a fixed rate coupon of 2.42% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears.
-Another is a $250 million,10-year Fixed Rate Note issue with a fixed rate coupon of 3.56% per annum payable semi-annually in arrears.

.............
though government bonds or notes is one of the safest investment bt the interest rate doesn't really looks attractive. previously LTA's bonds gives abt 4% (or izzit 4.5%?) interest!!
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Old 20-02-2004, 12:04 AM   #157
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Post some property news

Fm TODAY, 19 Feb 2004

The property market and the waiting game

The time is ripe for a turnaround, but who will blink first?

Derrick A Paulo
derrick@newstoday.com.sg

Like two poker players watching each other for a tell-tale twitch, homebuyers and property developers are waiting to see who will blink first.

Analysts say the conditions are ripe for an imminent improvement in the property market, but everyone's waiting for a sign of a turnaround.

The feared Sars resurgence has not taken place. The impact of the Iraq war is being felt only in Washington and a global economic recovery seems on track.

"The ingredients are in place, but what seems to be missing is somebody who is willing to make the first move," said Mr Tay Kah Poh, executive director of property consultancy Knight Frank.

Homebuyers, having seen prices on a steady slide for almost three years, are still sitting on the sidelines and watching for evidence that the bottom has been reached.

Developers, meanwhile, are waiting for signs that buyers are returning to the market. "There are not that many interesting projects being launched. Many are projects which are being relaunched. It's all about cautiousness," said Ms Tang Wei Leng, associate director at DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

"If developers price one project wrongly, it will affect all the other projects."

While there have been some property launches in recent months, these have been in the mid-market or upper-market range, where the demand is considerably smaller.

At a micro-level, things are picking up, said CKS Property Consultants' director for residential agency, Mr Charles Ng. "If you look at the newspapers, companies are beginning to hire again. If you look at car registrations, the number is going up. The stock market has gone up and people may soon be profit-taking and parking their money somewhere else, like property," he said.

The current low interest rate environment is conducive for buying homes. And, after a general decline of several years, the HDB market has picked up, with the resale prices of HDB flats on the rise.

Developers, however, are in no hurry to get their projects off the drawing board. Most have already absorbed the hits from the last three years and are not dependent on generating liquidity from sales to stay afloat or satisfy shareholders.

"There is enough supply now and in the pipeline. There are about 18,000 unsold units and units yet to be launched," pointed out Chesterton International's associate director for research and consultancy, Mr Nicholas Mak.

But homebuyers need to see that the economic recovery can be sustained and job security is still a concern, said Mr Mak. "That bullish factor is not there anymore," said DTZ's Ms Tang.

Now, there is a new wild card in the deck: Flexi-wages. The uncertainty over just what the push for wage reform could mean will dampen the demand for property, said Ms Tang and Mr Mak.

Singaporeans have wised up and will be doing their sums very carefully. "The message not to over-invest seems to be sinking in," said Mr Tay.

All this waiting means that pent-up demand is bubbling under the surface. Last year, only 5,200 residential units were sold compared to the annual average of 6,000 to 7,000 units.

Jones Lang LaSalle's head of research, Ms Teresa Khoo, expects a better take-up rate this year. Some observers see prices rising around 5 percent this year as demand increases, but the significant prices increases will only come when developers see a sustainable increase in buying activity.

With 17 projects with a total of 3,100 housing units due to come onto the market in the next six months, there is a good chance, say analysts, that one or two could provide the spark that seems to be needed to initiate a recovery.

"Let's see who will blink first," said Mr Ng with a laugh.
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Old 20-02-2004, 10:08 AM   #158
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HDB builds BTO flats only if take-up is good

Today 20 Feb


I refer to Mr Andrew Ting Kok Liang's letter, "Booking rate for Sundial project was 70%, not 'insufficient' " (Today, Feb 12).
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Under the Build-to-Order (BTO) system, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) will proceed to construct the flats only if the take-up is good ? to ensure that there is a demand for the flats when they are built and to avoid a situation of over-supply. This is made known to applicants upfront.
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The Sundial project was offered in the September 2003 BTO exercise and consists of two separate contracts. The response to the project at the application stage was good. But during the selection exercise, some applicants decided not to book a unit. In the end, one contract achieved a take-up rate of 67 per cent, but the other achieved only a 43-per cent take-up.
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Hence, the HDB decided to call tender only for the contract with the higher take-up rate.
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The HDB wrote to all the applicants who had selected a flat in the unsuccessful contract, including Mr Ting, to explain the alternatives available to them.
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Mr Ting also commented that his queue position in the selection exercise for The Aspella was not as favourable as the one he was allocated for The Sundial.
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For each BTO exercise, the HDB will process all the applications it receives, by a computer ballot.
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Hence, an applicant's queue position in a previous exercise has no bearing on his queue position in subsequent exercises. We would like to inform Mr Ting that the computer ballot is audited by both internal and external auditors.
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The HDB strives to ensure transparency in the application and selection processes under the BTO. At the application stage, applicants can view the number of applications received for each BTO project on the HDB's InfoWeb at www.hdb.gov.sg with twice-daily updates.
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During the selection exercise, shortlisted applicants can also access e-Sales on the HDB InfoWeb or on Teletext to check which flats remain available for booking.
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Tay Koon Quie, Deputy director (sales),
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for Director (estate administration and property), Housing and Development Board
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Old 20-02-2004, 09:31 PM   #159
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Joint BCA/HDB Statement on Measures to Ensure Window Safety in Private and HDB Estate

In view of the rising incidence of fallen window incidents in recent years, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) are taking various measures to ensure the safety of windows in private and HDB estates.

Rising Trend Of Fallen Windows

2 The number of reported fallen windows from high-rise buildings has risen sharply over the last 4 years. From 2000 to 2003, there was a total of 190 fallen window cases – 166 in HDB blocks and 24 in private buildings [see Annex]. Almost 80% of windows which had fallen in HDB blocks were casement windows. The majority (75%) of the fallen casement windows were installed by HDB flat lessees themselves.


Measures Taken To Minimise Incidence Of Fallen Windows

3 Under the terms of the Lease, HDB flat lessees are responsible for maintaining the windows in their flat in good working condition. Since 1999, HDB has embarked on a programme to educate lessees on the need to ensure proper maintenance of their windows. On 16 Nov 03, HDB launched the HDB Residents' Handbook to help lessees carry out simple maintenance and repairs to their flat. In addition, lessees are required to hire only HDB-trained window contractors to carry out window installation and repair works with effect from 1 Dec 03.

4 For strata-titled developments, the Management Corporation is responsible for the maintenance of external windows. BCA issued advisory notes to Management Corporations in Nov 03 to advise them on the importance of proper maintenance of windows.

5 Despite these efforts, the number of fallen window cases has increased from 1 per week in 2002 to 2 cases per week in 2003. In the last four months of 2003, there were more than 3 fallen window incidents per week.


Additional Measures To Ensure Window Safety

Legislation to regulate the safety of windows and require periodic inspection of windows

6 To ensure window safety, BCA intends to introduce legislation later this year to regulate the design and installation of windows. The legislation will apply to all types of high-rise properties. BCA will work in close consultation with industry bodies to put in place the necessary legislation to ensure that acceptable safety standards are adhered to. The legislation will also require property owners to retrofit their existing windows to comply with these same safety standards. In addition, BCA will also put in place a framework for authorised persons to carry out periodic inspection of windows and certify their safety.

Goodwill programme for replacement of aluminium rivets of casement windows installed by HDB

7 HDB will carry out a one-off goodwill rivet replacement programme for 43,000 flats which have aluminium rivets for casement windows installed by HDB. Under this programme, HDB will co-pay 50% of the cost of replacing the aluminium rivets with stainless steel rivets for casement windows installed by HDB and the flat lessee will pay the remaining 50%. This programme will not include flats with casement windows which are installed by the flat lessees themselves.

8 This one-off goodwill rivet replacement programme will run from Mar 2004 to Feb 2005. HDB will be writing to the individual flat lessees to inform them of the details.


Reminder to Homeowners

9 BCA and HDB would like to remind all home owners to check their windows regularly, and repair them if necessary, to ensure that their windows are always safe and secure. Private property owners can refer to BCA's website at www.bca.gov.sg for information on window maintenance. HDB flat lessees can refer to HDB's InfoWEB at http://www.hdb.gov.sg for information on window maintenance or approach the HDB Branch Office managing their flat for assistance.


Enquiries

10For enquiries, the public can contact:

(a) Mr Tan Kok Chuan and Mrs Ling-Yap Kim Har from BCA at Tel: 63257389 and Tel: 63258649

(b) the Branch Office Service Line at Tel : 1800 866 3030


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Issued By : Building & Construction Authority and Housing & Development Board
Date : 20 Feb 2004


For more info.. pls click here
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Old 21-02-2004, 12:03 PM   #160
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Improved clothes drying system for new flats

Improved clothes drying system for new flats
I REFER to the letter, 'My Grandma 'maid' sense' (The Sunday Times, Feb 15), by Dr Lee Siew Peng.

The clothes-drying pipe-socket system was a standard provision when HDB flats were first built. New flats now come with an improved clothes-drying system. The drying racks are designed such that the bamboo poles are supported on both ends, making hanging of laundry easier and safer.

The older flats will be fitted with this system under the Main Upgrading Programme where feasible.

In designing our flats, where feasible the clothes-drying area would be situated where there is ample sunlight and good ventilation.

We share Dr Lee's concern and are constantly looking at ways to improve the design of our laundry-drying systems.

Currently HDB is looking at a new system where the poles are placed parallel to the facade of the flats, a design that allows for easy hanging and retrieval of clothes.

The system will first be used in the 40-storey blocks at Toa Payoh and Queenstown. If feedback shows it to be a better alternative, HDB will implement it in future projects where feasible.



TAY BOON SUN
Senior Public Relations Officer
For Director (Corporate Development)
Housing and Development Board
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Old 23-02-2004, 02:42 PM   #161
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Fm TODAY, 23 Feb 2004

Falling windows and issue of poor quality control

I refer to the decision by the HDB to require homeowners to bear the cost of fixing faulty windows (Weekend Today, Feb 21-22).

It is clear that the majority of the incidents have occurred in HDB blocks. This suggests that the cause is poor quality control on the part of the HDB when building those flats.

Rather than picking up the tab for correcting these faulty windows, the HDB has instead turned to the Government for help by legislating a new law, and passing the cost of fixing the problem to hapless HDB dwellers.

Such behaviour introduces moral hazards of the worst kind, as the authorities seek to reassign the blame and cost for what is clearly a problem of their own creation.

It should not be condoned by Singaporeans.

Herein lies the rub: Singaporeans know they are being bullied by the authorities as they continue to swallow such unfair decisions.

However, Singaporeans also know that they are unlikely to be able to change anything: Judging by past history, such legislation will likely sail through Parliament without any real resistance.

Small wonder then that Singaporeans are an apathetic lot!

Ng Pek Yong
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Old 23-02-2004, 02:44 PM   #162
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Fm TODAY, 23 Feb 2004

Shouldn't HDB pay that $40?

It should also work out a payment plan for owners with faulty windows

I refer to the article, "Steel rivets to stop windows falling" (Weekend Today, Feb 21-22).

Although my flat uses sliding windows, I support measures taken to enhance or tighten safety and security for Singaporeans.

I recall two particular safety issues pertaining to HDB flats over the past four years — killer litter and air-conditioning units.

Whether it is a flower pot, broken air-conditioner or a casement window, these falling items have the potential to kill should they hit passers-by on the ground.

However, unlike in the case of killer litter items and air-conditioning units, HDB flat owners should not be made to bear the entire cost or responsibility over their faulty casement windows or to replace any "non-industry standard" aluminium rivets.

Air-conditioners are installed at the discretion or preference of flat owners, and thus it is appropriate that they absorb the cost in the upgrading or maintenance of the air-conditioning units to the acceptable level of safety.

However, HDB is the party that fitted the aluminium rivets onto the casement windows of many flats in Singapore.

Flat owners should not be forced to pay for any programme or measure initiated by the Government just because of the word, "safety".

Under HDB's new measure, all high-rise property owners will need to have their properties inspected and thereafter pay an estimated cost of $40, regardless of whether or not the windows need further rectification or action.

That should not be the case.

The HDB should absorb this cost and thereafter work out a payment plan for flat owners whose windows are clearly faulty and pose a danger to others.

As for the 43,000 flats which have casement windows that were installed by the board itself, it is appropriate that the HDB absorbs the cost rather than enforce equal joint-payment by the owner and the board.

Inspection and certification by the HDB's contractors would determine if owners had re-installed their windows. If inspectors find re-installed windows to be faulty, the owners should then be made to bear the full replacement cost.

It is time that the statutory board becomes more flexible in its approach when tackling new problems and initiating new measures.

Jason Lee Boon Hong
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Old 24-02-2004, 10:51 AM   #163
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Contractors afraid they'll take the fall

FEB 24, 2004
Window law: Contractors afraid they'll take the fall
They worry about being liable if a window they had checked is found faulty or falls off

By Tan Hui Yee

CONTRACTORS fear they may be left to take the blame for faulty windows after new legislation on window safety comes into place later this year.

They are so wound up about this, an industry leader has urged those who take on the task of inspecting windows to take out third-party insurance, in case they have to face claims for damage or injury.

Better yet, said Mr Lim Ah Bah, chairman of the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association, the Government should take charge of the inspections.

Under planned changes in the law, likely by September, home owners who do not maintain or retrofit their windows to make sure they meet current safety standards risk a fine and even jail.

The upcoming legislation was sparked by a jump in the number of incidents of windows falling, which exceeded three a week at the end of last year. Most were from Housing Board flats.

The change will require home owners to hire contractors to inspect their windows periodically at a cost of about $40 each time. A total of 900 contractors from 400 firms have been trained to do the checks.

However, Mr Lim and his association members fear a contractor may end up being blamed should a window fall after he clears it.

Said Mr Lim, whose association represents more than 200 renovation contractors of the about 1,000 here:

'It would be very unfair for the contractor if he's made to bear full responsibility. The HDB should certify the windows instead.'

However, lawyers said an inspecting contractor would not be automatically responsible if the window was later faulty. The onus would still be on home owner.

Although details of the new law are still being worked out, it is likely to be similar to earlier legislation governing the installation and retrofitting of external frames for air-conditioning units.

That levies a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and six months' jail if the units' wooden frames are not replaced with stainless steel ones.

Ms Kala Anandarajah, a partner at law firm Rajah & Tann, said if the new legislation is drawn up in the same spirit as the air-con laws, the inspecting contractor cannot be held liable if he checks windows according to the required specifications.

However, contractors such as Mr Lai Yoke Keong, 50, one of the certified inspectors, don't believe it.

He said of the job: 'It's a big responsibility and I'm worried.

'The Government should check and let home owners find contractors to fix the windows if they're faulty.'

Barring which, the association's Mr Lim advised contractors to buy third-party insurance.

He estimates that about 40 per cent of the renovation firms in Singapore currently have this.

The Building and Construction Authority, which is working on the new laws, said:

'We'll take into consideration relevant views and address the key concerns as much as possible, without compromising on the fundamental principle of public safety.'

Meanwhile, the opposition Singapore People's Party, in a statement issued last night, called on the HDB to bear the full cost of inspections.

'The HDB cannot entirely shirk its responsibility on the matter,' it said.

Many Singaporeans have expressed unhappiness over having to pay to have their windows inspected and retrofitted.
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Old 25-02-2004, 12:20 AM   #164
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what abt the rest?!

Fm CNA, 24 Feb 2004 2034 hrs

New laundry racks to be tested at new flats in Toa Payoh, Queenstown

URL : http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori.../72528/1/.html

SINGAPORE : The HDB is testing a new way to hang clothes out of high-rise flats to make this everyday chore less risky.

The new racks will be tried out on the 40-storey HDB blocks being built in Toa Payoh.

Just last week, a maid fell from a flat in Tampines while hanging out the laundry.

This is not the first such case.

For many years, HDB residents have said the pipe-socket used to hang out bamboo poles is dangerous.

"The old system is not safe enough because a lot of people.....they get a stool then they climb on top, sometimes might slip and fall."

Since 1995, all new and upgraded flats have been fitted with metal racks which support the poles on both ends.

"The new system is quite okay. You don't have to go out because the thing is just in front of you, just put outside only, then can slot in already. It is very convenient."

Some residents have even resorted to installing their own clothes racks.

But now HDB is testing out a new rack, which it hopes is safer.

With the alumnium rack, no bamboo poles are needed so there is no risk of dropping them and less risk of falling over.

But only residents of a few blocks in Toa Payoh and Queenstown will get to try this out.

The racks will be initially fitted on the new 40 storey blocks, which will be ready by the end of this year.

But safety is not the only concern.

"Because we live in high rise buildings, so the wet laundry from upstairs can drip onto ours."

"Sometimes, the colour on some people's clothes drips on our clothes and dirties them."

So some Singaporeans living in flats have simply turned to using a clothes dryer. - CNA
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Old 25-02-2004, 10:17 AM   #165
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FEB 25, 2004
Problem Of Falling Windows
Other causes besides rivets
I REFER to the article, 'Make your windows safe, or risk a fine' (ST, Feb 21).

I am writing in relation to the alleged cause of falling windows, the reasons for the Housing Board/Building and Construction Authority (BCA)'s action and who should be responsible for the cost of inspection and retrofitting windows.

The article highlighted that the main problem may be due to corrosion of aluminium rivets on friction stays. If the issue is one of safety, reducing the problem to one of corrosion of aluminium rivets would be oversimplifying it. While there are many causes, I would like to highlight a few besides corroded aluminium rivets.

Windows do not 'fly out' without good reason.


Firstly, poorly fabricated and installed windows. This is not limited to the small-time fabricators.


Secondly, the quality of aluminium extrusions used for windows. If established bodies like BCA and HDB only now discover that aluminium rivets are not of a good standard, how could flat-owners be expected to know?

Windows are fabricated from aluminium extrusions. There are no clear and complete guidelines, such as what constitutes an appropriate thickness.

Many aluminium extrusions I have seen are so thin (less than 1.1mm), you could bend it with your bare hands. Such filmsiness can also result in high-risk windows.

It is commonly known that many extrusions used here come from the region where the primary consideration is cost.

Different countries have different wind conditions and calculation of 'wind-load' is also an important safety factor.

The 'chemical' properties of extrusions made from recycled aluminium extrusions, billets or inferior-quality P1020 ingots may also lead to wobbling, high-risk windows.

Inferior quality glazing bead which fastens the glass to the frame can also lead to glass flying out of a window with the frame intact.

Then there is the matter of the quality of the 'stopper' and the way it is installed. If poor, the whole frame or window may fly out too.

Do we really expect flat-owners to know these technical implications?

The article mentioned that BCA and HDB favoured the drastic action as incidents of falling windows have increas-ed from two to three a week on average. If these accidents involved whole windows (frame and glass), it would be interesting to know how many others involved shattered glass crashing to the ground.

The glass used in HDB windows is 'float' glass which breaks into sharp fragments of different sizes. Though this has not been addressed directly by HDB and BCA, will this be the next big drastic action when accidents involving shattered window glass increase?

Will it be mandatory then for flat-owners to ensure that window glass is tempered glass - also known as safety glass - which breaks into very small harmless pieces when it lands on the ground?

In conclusion, HDB and BCA should not pin the responsibility and blame squarely on flat owners; have they forgotten their role where safety and standards are concerned?

Flat owners need more information and education. Unscrupulous window fabricators and installers should also be held responsible for the cost of replacing high-risk windows.

The cost of inspection and retrofitting faulty windows should be shared fairly between HDB, BCA, fabricator and installer and, perhaps, flat owners.

Yes, window safety should be a joint effort and concern, in spirit and in cost.

KEE HUI TECK






Have HDB officers carry out inspections


I TOTALLY agree with any legislation to protect the public, especially from falling windows. However, there is a conflict of interest when the HDB/BCA-registered contractor carrying out the mandatory inspections is also the contractor to execute any replacement works.

For HDB flats, all inspections should be done by HDB housing maintenance inspectors and any replacement works done by the HDB-nominated contractor. As these replacements are in the interest of public safety, the HDB should bear all costs (inspections and replacements) for windows it installed or upgraded.

PATRICK FAIRLEY SCULLY

Review design of new casement window

THE statement by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) which placed the blame for falling windows totally on house-owners is wholly unjustified. One only needs to take a closer look at the history of such incidents to realise that BCA and HDB should shoulder the lion's share of the blame.

From the report, 'Make your windows safe, or risk a fine' (ST, Feb 21), it is clear that falling windows are a relatively recent phenomenon, especially in the last few years.

Why is this so? If one were to probe deeper, one would find that the main problem lies with the structure of the new casement window. Compared with previous versions which support the entire frame via swivelling hinges at the side, much like a door, the latest design (above) depends on the less reliable joints and tracks attached to the top and bottom of the window.

The new casement window may be aesthetically pleasing to look at but it is certainly not suitable for HDB flats. It is about time the BCA and HDB take a closer look at the design.

SEAH YAM MENG

Out with sliding type, in with casement

ANOTHER death has resulted from the cleaning of windows in a high-rise building. Maybe it is time to do away with sliding windows, which are extremely difficult to clean.

I needed to stretch my arms to reach the far corners, sometimes losing my balance while perched on a stool or getting a muscle pulled. I have since given up using a stool and trying to clean the far corners altogether.

I prefer casement windows, which I can swing open to clean.

My advice to those who have sliding windows: let the windows get dirty; it is better than losing your life.

TENG YOKE SIONG
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