SINGAPORE: Homebuyers and sellers can soon view property deals closed by real estate agents, starting with public housing transactions from the end of this year.
They will be able to view private residential transactions from end-2019, it was unveiled in the latest roadmap for the real estate industry on Thursday (Feb 8).
In the long run, the Council for Estate Agencies will also work with the industry to collect and publish customer ratings of agents, with the move aimed at improving accountability and transparency in the sector, said Second Minister for National Development Desmond Lee.
"This is already common in other industries such as hospitality and food and beverage (F&B), where consumers rely on platforms like TripAdvisor to decide which hotel or restaurant to visit," he said.
TRANSFORMING THE FACILITIES MANAGEMENT SECTOR
The industry transformation map (ITM) identified the facilities management and property transaction services sectors as having "immense potential for transformation", particularly in the areas of adopting technology and workforce upskilling, Mr Lee said.
To kickstart the process, a tripartite facilities management implementation committee spearheaded by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will be formed.
A key area of focus will be to increase the adoption of smart solutions to improve the efficiency of building operations. Consultants will also be encouraged to design and construct buildings with facilities management in mind, with maintainability of buildings a key consideration in the initial planning and design stage.
"Smarter facilities management will streamline processes, reduce abortive work, reap cost savings over time, and ultimately lead to greater productivity," said Mr Lee.
"But this is not all. A building’s maintenance cannot be an afterthought. A building that is not designed to be maintained, can end up costing far more down the road in retrofitting and maintenance costs."
Mr Lee cited the example of JTC's integrated command centre, which was officially commissioned alongside the launch of the roadmap.
The command centre makes use of several smart systems to monitor and manage facilities management across its 106 buildings and developments.
This includes a cloud-based tool allowing for the remote tracking, analysis and optimisation of building performance, an estate monitoring system using video analytics, as well as an automated workflow system tracking tenant feedback.
"All these systems combine to allow JTC to comprehensively oversee FM in their developments and estates," said Mr Lee.
"The clever use of technology and data analytics can unlock many possibilities for the efficient management of buildings and facilities. More efficient systems mean lower lifetime costs."
To build up the talent pool in facilities management, BCA will work with institutes of higher learning (IHLs) and associations to review and update the curriculum offered by IHLs, as well as to strengthen the continuing education and training (CET) framework.
Mr Lee also said that the Government is studying the possibility of an industry accreditation scheme to help raise the standards and professionalism of the sector.
IMPROVING PROPERTY TRANSACTION SERVICES
Another key thrust of the roadmap will be to make property transaction services more efficient and user-friendly by leveraging on technology.
The Government has taken the first step by streamlining the resale transaction process for public housing with the launch of the HDB Resale Portal last month, with private resale and rental transactions the next step, Mr Lee said.
To do so, a workgroup spearheaded by the CEA comprising of government agencies and industry representatives was set up in January, to help move the industry in the right direction.
"If we do this right, we can minimise the use of hardcopy documents such as cheques and cashier’s orders, all of which are time-consuming to process," Mr Lee said.
"For consumers, this means less time spent on paperwork and queueing up at the bank… For property agencies and property portals, this means offering more convenient and seamless services to your customers."
The workgroup will also work towards making it easier for the industry to access Government property-related data, so that firms can automate administrative processes involved in property transactions.
Data from the Housing and Development Board (HDB), Singapore Land Authority and the Ministry of Manpower will be progressively made available later this year, Mr Lee added.
To equip agents to be future-ready, a SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programme has been rolled out, with its first intake of 20 real estate professionals in January. CEA's Continuing Professional Development framework for agents will also be revamped by the end of 2018, to ensure that agents keep up with policy changes.
Mr Lee added that the Government would continue to work closely with the industry as details of the roadmap's initiatives are finalised and progressively rolled out.
Over 50 engagement sessions with industry stakeholders were conducted over the past year in the development of the roadmap, including property agencies, developers and facility managers.