500 new DBSS flat buyers upset over poor quality of flats


In the latest incident of defects in public housing flats, owners of the new Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flats in Clementi are up in arms over the poor quality of their new homes.

Some 500 residents of the 800-unit Trivelis development in the area had to contend with shattered shower glass panels and narrow common corridors that are prone to flooding after they received their keys to the new flats in January.

Some have described their experience as a “total disappointment”.

DBSS units are supposed to be of a higher design quality than a regular public housing unit.

According to local news reports, a group of the residents there has formed a committee to address the problems with the developer, EL Development (ELD).

The problems include “kitchen cabinet dimensions that do not allow for a standard-sized oven to be fitted, pole-system wardrobes that lack shelves, defective stove knobs, stain-prone kitchen countertops and rusty dish racks”, and exposed sanitary pipes and water heaters which were not depicted in the showflats.

In its circular to residents, the committee said, “When the committee met (the managing director’s) representatives on April 12, (they said) ELD’s position remained that ELD’s designs and building works are cleared by the relevant authorities and (they) meet all minimum (requirements). It is, therefore, not obligated to entertain our requests for redress.”

It is reported that the committee, however, will be organising a meeting this Friday to update the residents on the matter.

Invitations have also been sent to the Housing and Development Board and the Ministry of National Development to attend the meeting, along with the ELD as well.

However, according to a TODAY report, the developer has declined to attend the meeting.

“We all know that (at) dialogue sessions … people can get emotional and heated up,” TODAY reported an ELD spokesman as having said. “If any of the residents have strong opinions about these things, they are always free to email or call us, and we will address them individually.”

ELD said it was looking into some of the complaints and addressing them. However, it added that there may be some defects or problems which they may not be able to rectify, such as the sanitary pipes that were depicted in the showflats to be placed at the air-conditioning ledge outside of the unit but were not so in the actual flat itself.

The complaints at the Trivelis development is not unusual. In the last few years, there have also been similar incidents in new BTO developments.

In July last year, some homeowners of Tampines GreenLeaf were so infuriated by the defects in their new flats that they took to social media to highlight the flaws found at six of the nine blocks.

The defects included rust stains, uneven tiles and chipped walls.

“I was shocked at the number of defects. I felt very upset and short-changed,” a resident told the media then.

At about the same period, there were also complaints from new Anchorvale Horizon residents in Sengkang of shoddy work in their new flats. (See here.)

In January 2013, some residents of The Peak in Toa Payoh raised concerns over the quality, workmanship and cleanliness of their 1,203-unit Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) project.

“Top of their list of woes were defects due to the quality of materials used and the workmanship of flooring and doors in the flats,” the Sunday Times reported.

In 2013, in response to a parliamentary question on the issue, the Ministry of National Development said, “Among the 19,100 BTO flats completed in the last two years, there were about 13,900 reported defects. This averaged less than one reported defect per dwelling unit.”

It added: “At every BTO development, HDB sets up a Building Service Centre (BSC) to promptly attend to residents’ feedback. HDB also regularly reviews its work processes and the building materials used to improve the quality of its flats.”