• Published Date: 31 Mar 2022

    HDB's Reply


    Designs continually improved to better meet needs
    Date: 31 Mar 2022


    We refer to the letters “Time to build larger HDB flats” (March 16) and “Typical HDB flat size a squeeze for families” (March 19), and thank both writers for their feedback.

    As the provider of public housing in Singapore, HDB continually reviews the designs and layouts of HDB flats to keep pace with changing demographics, social trends and lifestyle needs. Through our Build-to-Order (BTO) exercises, HDB offers a wide variety of flats to cater to the diverse needs and preferences of flat buyers, from two-room Flexi flats to three-generation (3-Gen) flats.

    As four-room flats are the most popular with young families, this flat type makes up the majority of the BTO flats offered for sale.

    In addition, we offer two-room and three-room flats for flat buyers who may prefer a more compact and affordable living space, while five-room flats and 3-Gen flats offer more space for larger households, including multi-generation families. Since 1997, the sizes of HDB flats have remained unchanged, even though the average household size has declined over the years.

    Our flats are designed to be functional and comfortable. We have also improved our flat designs over the years to better optimise the space and cater to flat buyers’ evolving lifestyle needs.

    For instance, columns in flats are pushed to the sides wherever possible so that residents can have more flexibility in reconfiguring the layout of their flat according to their needs.

    Newer flats are also designed with the dining area now incorporated into the living area to provide a more spacious common living area, giving residents greater flexibility in using this space.

    Flat fittings and finishes have also been constantly improved over the years to keep up with the times, while ensuring quality and ease of maintenance.

    Beyond the home, we have also introduced community work spaces and work booths within our HDB towns to support the needs of residents who need a quiet space for remote working.

    For example, HDB has piloted work booths in six HDB commercial complexes, including Canberra Plaza and Oasis Terraces.

    We will continue to explore ways to improve the design of our flats to ensure that they keep pace with the evolving needs of our residents.

    Cheong Kin Man
    Director (Design Development)
    Housing & Development Board



    Letters to The Straits Times


    Time to build larger homes
    Date: 16 Mar 2022


    From: Jocelyn Huang Aixuan


    I am concerned about the growing number of smaller Housing Board flats.

    With working from home becoming a norm during the pandemic, these flats, especially two- and three-room ones, may not offer sufficient space for a family to live comfortably.

    Furthermore, having more people close to one another in small spaces for prolonged periods can cause underlying tensions to simmer and explode into violence. This was demonstrated in how calls for help regarding family violence rose sharply during the pandemic (Family violence cases on the rise amid Covid-19 pandemic, Oct 11, 2021).

    Having more space at home not only forges relationships, but also encourages families to have more children.

    If expanding horizontally is a challenge in land-scarce Singapore, it may be good to consider building more skyscrapers.


    Typical flat size a squeeze for families
    Date: 19 Mar 2022


    From: Caz Phua


    I agree with Ms Jocelyn Huang Aixuan’s take in her letter, “Time to build larger HDB flats” (March 16).

    The local population is ageing, and it is ideal for seniors with care needs to stay with their children. At the same time, the Government is encouraging couples to have more children.

    With the bulk of Singaporean couples both working, hiring foreign domestic helpers to care for the old and young is common.

    If we consider an average family comprising a married couple, two children, one elderly couple and one helper living in a typical HDB flat with only three bedrooms, it is indeed a squeeze.

    I hope the HDB can explain how it decides on its flat offerings for different family compositions.