SINGAPORE: Retractable laundry racks, laminated timber doors and modern bathroom walls and floor tiles - these are some of the fittings owners of ageing Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats that are eligible for upgrading works can look forward to.
About 230,000 HDB flats built between 1987 and 1997 are set to be upgraded under the extended Home Improvement Programme (HIP) announced in August 2018. The Government is expected to spend more than S$2 billion to upgrade these flats.
The first batch of flats, comprising 55,000 units, will be offered the extended HIP starting from this year.
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The package for the extended HIP will be refreshed to include more contemporary and better quality items, said HDB in a press release on Monday (Mar 30).
Besides featuring more updated designs, these new fittings also help to enhance residents’ safety and comfort at home, it added.
The HIP - which addresses common maintenance problems related to ageing flats - was previously offered to HDB flats built up to 1986. About 320,000 flats were eligible for the HIP under this 1986 age-band.
There are two main components of work under the HIP – essential and optional.
Essential improvements are fully paid for by the Government and include the repair of spalling concrete and the replacement of pipe sockets with a new laundry drying racks.
Optional improvements include items such as upgrading of the toilets and new decorative doors and metal grille gate.
Depending on their flat type, Singaporean households pay between 5 per cent and 12.5 per cent, or between S$550 and S$1,375, of the cost for the optional improvements.
The HIP only proceeds when at least 75 per cent of a block’s eligible households have voted in favour of it.
For the upcoming HIP upgrading works, HDB has developed a new retractable laundry rack that was designed with the elderly in mind, it said.
The new rack comes with six stainless steel poles installed externally. The poles can be extended and retracted within the frame of the rack.
"Besides requiring less effort to use, the new retractable laundry rack is also safer as residents no longer need to lift and manoeuvre bamboo poles loaded with laundry out of the window to dry," said HDB.
Laminated timber doors will be included as an option under the extended HIP, in place of veneer doors.
The new laminated timber doors are more scratch-resistant and durable compared to veneer doors, said HDB. The decorative timber door will continue to be offered as an option.
A modern steel grille entrance gate with an interior thumb-turn knob - which allows residents to unlock the gate from inside without using a key - will also be offered as an option, replacing the current mild steel gate.
The wrought iron gate will continue to be offered as an option.
Larger wall and floor tiles, which provide a more "modern look and feel, and allow for better visual continuity" will also be offered.
Additionally, a new range of dual flush low capacity WCs, along with tap and sanitary fittings with better quality finishes will also be introduced.