Andy (not his real name), a resident of Ang Mo Kio GRC was sent a brochure from the Ang Mo Kio Town Council in August this year, which promoted the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) and included a list of optional improvements.
At first glance, Andy was unconvinced of the price listed in the brochure and upon discussion with his neighbours, it was said that the cost of replacing the refuse chute is double the price of what it should have been.
Upon further research, the amount that is quoted in the brochure given by the Town Council did indeed seem to be higher than what is offered at market rate.
This prompted him to file a complaint with the Auditor General Office (AGO) on the matter in September this year.
Several days later, Andy was told that there does seem to be a price hike and they would conduct their investigations into the matter.
Osman bin Sulaiman, who runs his renovation company and who so happens to be a candidate who ran for the election at Ang Mo Kio GRC, told TOC that he markets his toliet upgrading package at $3600-$4000.
The package includes the following fixtures and amendment;
- Overlay wall tiles
- Overlay floor tiles
- New wc
- New wash basin
- Instant water-heater
- Tempered glass shower screen
- Arcylic bi-fold door
- Piping and electrical works
He added that the cost of installing of the gate is overpriced while the main door acceptable. However, the cost of replacing the rubbish chute is overpriced as the average cost of replacing a rubbish chute is about $220-$250.
Although it is unknown what would be the actual work provided by the HIP but Osman noted that the rate is a bit higher than the market rate, which begs the question of why is a government initiated home improvement programme quoting prices that are higher than market prices.
According to HDB, flats that are built up to 1986 and have not undergone the Main Upgrading Programme are eligible for the HIP.
The HIP comprises 3 components – Essential, Optional and Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) Improvements. If the block votes in favour of the HIP, you will enjoy Essential Improvements that are important for public health and safety, and can also opt for Optional and EASE improvements.
The Government fully funds the essential improvements and subsidises a major portion of the optional improvements.
The town councils would propose and manage these upgrading projects.