CONSTRUCTION AND BUILDING MANAGEMENT
In all, 3,220 dwelling units were successfully awarded in the year under review. The 4,378 flats completed during the FY was 29 percent lower than the 6,164 flats completed in the previous FY.
Apart from planning, development, quality control and building technology research and maintenance, HDB also undertook collaborations with business partners on safety issues, and in providing cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions through R&D efforts.
One-Stop Service for Post Construction Works
Building Service Centres (BSCs) were set-up on site at newly completed housing projects to facilitate flat dwellers’ surfacing of defects in their flats for HDB’s attention. A BSC would be in operation for six months from the completion of the precinct.
Where previously flat owners had to surface defects to the branch offices in-charge of their flats, the new on-site service made it convenient for HDB to assist flat owners in inspecting, investigating, and repairing defects. BSCs were also equipped with a monitoring system that tracked defects reported, ensured building contractors’ prompt response and work carried out. The system also recorded residents’ surveys for service improvements, with data collected and analysed to improve design and construction for future projects.
In all, HDB had 13 BSCs in the year under review.
Collaboration to Promote Awareness
HDB stepped up an education campaign to promote residents’ awareness and knowledge about proper maintenance and renovation works for their flats. New residents were given a copy of the Residents’ Handbook as reference on flat maintenance. HDB also worked with the Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre (RADAC) and other technical consultants on awareness talks and videos. HDB conducted a series of 11 training programmes for Town Councils in the year under review. Such programmes would also be extended to maintenance contractors to heighten awareness of proper building maintenance and rectification of defects.
As part of HDB’s efforts to raise the professionalism of the renovation industry, HDB and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) developed a training course ‘Renovation for Public Housing’ for existing HDB Registered Renovation Contractors. The knowledge-training would help contractors provide good and reliable services to flat owners when engaged to carry out renovations.
HDB’s Building Quality Department organised a Quality Seminar on tile finishes on 27 October 2005. The half-day seminar conveyed HDB’s quality drives to raise the standard of tile quality and workmanship. A total of 120 participants comprising contractors, suppliers, supervisory staff from Surbana, and HDB officers were present at the seminar.
A seminar on worksite housekeeping and environmental control at HDB construction and upgrading sites was also organised on 3 March 2006, for consultants, contractors and HDB staff.
As part of the Inter-agency Dengue Task Force against the surge in dengue cases, HDB coordinated with consultants and contractors to intensify checks and destroy mosquito breeding habitats at HDB construction and upgrading sites. A talk on the dengue threat at HDB construction and upgrading sites was jointly organised by HDB and the National Environment Agency (NEA) for consultants and contractors on 15 September 2005.
Research & Development (R&D)
HDB continued to play a critical role in upgrading the construction industry, improving the standard of building maintenance of its estates, and providing cost effective and environmentally friendly solutions through its R&D programmes and initiatives.
The Spiral Connector, an efficient connection system for precast components won the HDB Innovation Award 2005. The innovation reduced the cost of precast connection by as much as 50 percent without compromising safety and reliability. HDB worked with local partners to introduce the system to local private and international projects.
HDB also applied prefabrication techniques beyond the area of building construction. The precast burial system was borne of a collaboration with NEA. The system was conceptualised to provide a neater and more dignified burial, better access for next-of-kin, and optimisation of land use in land-scarce Singapore. Development of the first burial plot at Choa Chu Kang cemetery using the precast burial system was in progress, and construction works on site would commence in 2006.
In response to the need for safer windows in housing estates, HDB introduced Catch 21T, an innovative friction stay design that provided an additional safeguard against falling windows.
Other new products that could lead to more cost-effective and environmentally-friendly design were introduced. The use of LED lighting achieved substantial savings in the construction and maintenance of HDB properties.
HDB also played a key role in leading the construction and real estate industry towards environmentally sustainable development, through planning, design, pre-construction and post-construction phases. The Committee on Environmental Sustainability (CES) of HDB Estates was formed to enable HDB to play a proactive role in promoting and implementing environmental best practices and values. The Committee comprised representatives from both public and private sectors that would formulate a long-term strategic direction in the creation of sustainable towns and estates in Singapore.
A CES R&D workgroup was formed to conduct studies of technologies that reduced environmental burdens without compromising long term safety, comfort and function. The R&D projects on environmental technology would focus on the areas of energy efficiency, waste and water management, and site restoration and conservation.
All new residential blocks built from 1998 had emergency lighting installed to provide power supply during power outages. During the year under review, a centralised standby battery power supply scheme was proposed to be installed in switch-rooms for blocks built between 1988 and 1998.
During the first phase of the pilot implementation at Woodlands and Toa Payoh, a total of 64 blocks would benefit from the installation of the standby centralised power supply for staircase lighting.
In response to residents’ feedback on rainwater splashing problems, HDB initiated a trial installation of roller blinds to prevent rainwater splashing and related maintenance problems. With favourable feedback from the trial, HDB had implemented this solution since August 2005 in its island-wide improvement programme.
In the year under review, HDB initiated the formation of an inter-organisational Safety & Health Committee to promote and implement good practices and a safety culture at HDB construction sites. These were new challenges that were brought about by the new Workplace Safety & Health Act.
HDB continued to spread the message of safety among those working at its construction sites. A Safety Awareness Course with speakers from the industry was organised in November 2005 for HDB staff and business partners.
The Safety & Health Committee also led a study visit to Australia with representatives from business partners and the Ministry of Manpower, to learn about construction safety and the risk management process.
The result was an excellent safety record in the year under review. The Accident Frequency Rate (AFR) was 0.52 accidents per million manhours worked, well below the control limit of 0.75 accidents per million man-hours worked.