It was reported that a Chinese developer, Kingsford Huray, has been banned from selling condo units by Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).
URA imposed a “no-sale licence” in January this year for Kingsford’s new project consisting of 1,890 units at the old Normanton Park site. Construction has already been started since late last year.
The ban came after multiple owners complained about shoddy workmanship and poor amenities at its other projects, including the new Kingsford Waterbay in Upper Serangoon and Kingsford Hillview Peak in Upper Bt Timah area.
One resident who paid S$735,000 for a 527 sq ft, one-bedroom unit in Hillview Peak described the furnishing as sub-par: the parquet flooring was low grade, the marble in his bathroom was cracked, the kitchen counter was stained, a glass window pane was broken and the quality of his bedroom and bathroom doors left much to be desired. “The whole unit was dusty and dirty,” he said. “I don’t even invite my family and friends over because it’s so embarrassing.”
According to a Straits Times’ report yesterday (‘Chinese developer working to address condo owners’ woes‘, 29 Dec), it said:
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) said the order was imposed on Kingsford Huray because it had failed to meet requirements for certain building works at the Waterbay, such as its windows, barriers and common storey shelter. Feedback about shoddy workmanship from owners of its other development, Kingsford Hillview Peak in Bukit Panjang, was also taken into consideration.
The order means the firm can start construction but not sell any of the planned units at its Normanton Park site. It can only do so after it secures a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP). Also it has to obtain a Quality Mark certificate for each of the units as well as the approval from the Controller of Housing.
Online, many netizens are wondering how Kingsford’s other 2 previous developments, Kingsford Waterbay and Kingsford Hillview Peak, managed to get past authorities with its shoddy workmanship.
Flash Lim: “Who are the people doing the inspections and quality and material check during construction and after completion of construction?”
Francis Ong: “How did they get the license to movein in the first place. I am pretty sure it had to clear a few checks by different agencies so the question is how do they get clearance for those previous projects?”
Tony Khoo: “I paid a deposit for a unit at kings ford waterway. When I wanted to complete the deal they changed the completion date of my unit to a later date. I decided to cancel my completion and withdraw but they initially refuse to pay back my deposit and only paid part part of my deposit after my Lawyers letters of demand.”
Robin Nayak: “Don’t we have an independent inspector?”
Leslie Tan: “I am more concerned how the license was issued and obtained in the first place?”
Ezra Viin: “Bringing shoddy construction works to Singapore and lowering our high standards. Pray hard that whatever he built will not collapse. Authorities please check that they are safe for long term accommodation.”
Syed Zul: “Yet you the Gov fail to check.”
Joint inspection with BCA before issuance of TOP
Generally, in order for residents to move into a new dwelling, the developer has to obtain a Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) or Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC). TOP is a permit that allows homeowners to occupy the building temporarily when the key requirements are met, as it may take some time to obtain the Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC).
By law, a CSC or TOP is required to occupy the building. Hence, in Singapore, all buildings need government-authorized approval before they can be occupied. The TOP is essentially a legal documents which signifies the metaphorical stamp of approval, effectively christening a building as occupiable.
On the website of Building Control Authority (BCA), it said, “Before the application for TOP may be considered, the Qualified Person shall request for a joint site inspection with BCA of the completed building works. The issuance of TOP will only be considered after successful site inspection and the submission of all the required documents and clearances from the other relevant technical authorities.”
The Qualified Person is a person who is registered as an Architect with the Board of Architects (BOA) or a Professional Engineer with the Professional Engineers Board (PEB) contracted by the developer.
But strangely, BCA added on its website, “The BCA may also, at its discretion, notify the QP that site inspection is not necessary.”
It’s not known if joint inspections were carried out by BCA for any of Kingsford’s projects and if so, how it missed those shoddy work brought up by multiple condo owners. In any case, BCA must have issued TOPs to Kingsford so as to enable residents to move into its Waterbay and Hillview Peak condos, even though they had been constructed shoddily – as witnessed by the condo owners.
BCA is headed by its CEO, BG (NS) Hugh Lim, a former Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) scholar. He joined the SAF in 1984, and attained the rank of Brigadier-General on 1 Jul 2005. He has served in a variety of command and staff positions, including Chief Engineer Officer, Commander 6 Division, Commander Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and Chief of Staff, General Staff. Prior to joining BCA, BG Lim was the Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and before that, the Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Law.