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Singapore

Buyers of Punggol BTO project to be compensated after completion delayed by more than 1 year

SINGAPORE: Buyers of the Punggol Build-to-Order (BTO) project Waterway Sunrise II will be compensated for the delay after its completion was pushed back by more than a year, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Saturday (Oct 9).

Launched in February 2017, Waterway Sunrise II comprises seven blocks with 1,014 flats. The completion date was originally expected to be between the first and second quarters of this year. 

But this was pushed back by a year, to between the first and second quarters of 2022, said HDB. This is because of the "poor performance and subsequent failure" of the original contractor Lian Ho Lee Construction in August last year, said the agency.

Although replacement contractor Expand Construction was brought on board in October last year, HDB said manpower shortages and supply disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed construction work, resulting in further delays to the project.

"As a result, the blocks in Waterway Sunrise II are now expected to be completed six to nine months after their delivery possession date, which is the legal contractual date by which HDB is required under the agreement for lease to deliver possession of the flat," said HDB.

"Hence, HDB will be making compensation to flat buyers for the delay."

The revised probable completion dates for Waterway Sunrise II now range from the fourth quarter of 2022 to the first quarter of 2023. This brings the total waiting time for the project to about five-and-a-half years, said HDB.

Waterway Sunrise II is the only one among 94 current BTO projects where the delay has exceeded one year, the agency added.

Prices started from S$163,000 for a three-room flat, S$257,000 for a four-room flat and S$383,000 for a five-room flat at the project's launch in February 2017.

HDB said it will disburse to all flat buyers of Waterway Sunrise II the maximum reimbursement sum that they are eligible for under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, without requiring them to submit claims or proof of expenses so as to minimise further inconvenience.

In addition, first-time flat buyers who are unable to find alternative interim housing arrangements with relatives or on the open market can apply for temporary housing under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme.

For affected buyers who decide to cancel their BTO flat booking to buy a resale flat due to urgent housing needs, HDB said it will also consider waiving the forfeiture and one-year wait out period.

HDB said it continues to work with Expand Construction to expedite construction works.

These include engaging a second source of precast supply and diversifying sources of precast components, to address supply disruptions arising from Malaysia's movement control orders, said the authority.

HDB said it was also prioritising manpower allocation for Waterway Sunrise II while ensuring that adequate safety management measures are in place on site.

"We will continue to do more to help the contractor complete the project, so that our flat buyers can collect their keys and move into their new homes as soon as possible," it said.

MORE HOMES BEING DELIVERED

Singapore's construction industry was put under "severe strain" during the COVID-19 pandemic, with contractors facing manpower shortages, supply disruptions, higher material costs and productivity loss, said HDB.

The housing authority said it has been working closely with contractors to secure the necessary resources to complete their projects and introduce assistance measures to ease financial pressures.

HDB has completed 25 residential projects and delivered more than 16,000 new homes since January last year, amid the disruptions.

Eleven of those projects were completed last year and the remaining 14 this year. Barring unforeseen circumstances, five more projects are slated for completion in 2021, said HDB.

That would bring the total for this year to 19 projects, exceeding the 17 projects a year completed in 2018 and 2019 before the pandemic, it said.

The 19 projects would also be an increase of more than 70 per cent from last year, which was disrupted by the "circuit breaker" and slow resumption of construction activities, said the agency.

HDB said the waiting times for the 25 projects delivered since January last year ranged from 2.4 to 5.3 years, with an average of 4.1 years.

For ongoing BTO projects, the average waiting time is "comparable" at four to five years, including delays caused by the pandemic, said HDB.

Waiting time of BTO projects to be delivered from October 2021 to end-2024. (Table: HDB)

Overall, the average waiting time for BTO projects to be delivered from now until end-2024 is about 4.4 years.

HDB said more flat buyers have collected keys to their new homes, with about 10,350 new flats delivered to flat buyers from January to September.

This surpassed the 6,340 and 9,380 flats delivered over the same period in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

Source: CNA/dv(gs)

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