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Desmond Lee: 30 Percent of BTO Homeowners Report Defects; DBSS Scheme is Not a Failure

“Not to trivialise the defects and concerns that first-time home buyers in particular feels, but I think you shouldn’t use these current few points that have been in the public eye to condemn the entire scheme as a failure. Many people have indeed lived and made homes in these projects.”

That was said by Minister of State for National Development, Desmond Lee in parliament yesterday (13 Jul), in response to a question by opposition MP Yee Jenn Jong on whether DBSS flats had failed to meet the higher aspirations of higher-income homeowners despite being priced at a premium above normal flats.

The HDB has been put in the hot seat recently, after complaints regarding flat workmanship and defects found by homeowners who had just moved in.

Complaints have surfaced over the “shoddy” workmanship of DBSS flats in Clementi’s Trivelis, Centrale 8 in Tampines, and Pasir Ris One DBSS flats, as well as many new BTO flat developments.

High on the list of complaints are wall cracks, uneven tiles, and glass doors that shatter for no apparent reason, and even sudden sprouting of mushrooms under doors!

Pasir Ris One has made headlines over narrowness of the flats’ common corridors, where space is so tight residents living opposite each other cannot open their gates at the same time.

Residents complain that they paid a premium for a home that resembles a prison, or the corridors of one-room rental apartment flats.

The DBSS flat scheme has been suspended since 2011.

Mr Lee also revealed in parliament that an average of one-third of all new BTO flat residents have approached the Building Service Centre for assistance with defects after collecting their keys.

But he added that many of these defects were “surface imperfections”, and that the quality of flats remained high.

Mr Lee said that an independent assessment of building quality by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) showed that BTO flat quality has  improved, with scores rising from 79 in 2003 to 89 last year.


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