HDB projects delayed by Covid-19 expected to be completed by early 2025
All public housing projects delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic are expected to be completed by early 2025, said the Housing Board on Sunday, in the latest update on its efforts to clear the backlog of Built-To-Order (BTO) flats.
So far, about 72 per cent of these BTO projects – or 66 housing developments – have been completed between October 2022 and June 2023. The remaining 28 per cent of delayed projects are still under construction, added HDB.
Minister for National Development Desmond Lee said in a Facebook post on Sunday: “Building HDB flats is a complex undertaking, made even more complicated because increasingly, we are building on brownfield sites.
“Nonetheless, we remain on track to hand over keys to 20,000 HDB flat owners across 22 housing projects this year. By 2025, HDB will oversee more than 150 BTO construction projects at the same time.”
Brownfield sites are sites with previous developments on them, such as golf courses, schools and industrial buildings.
In the first half of this year, the public housing authority completed about 11,940 flats across 16 housing projects, the highest number it has achieved in the half-yearly period since 2018 when 9,190 flats across 11 projects were completed.
Among these projects is Anchorvale Village in Sengkang.
Residents of the two residential blocks were invited to collect their keys on July 10, following the completion of the project in June. This is five months after its original delivery possession date – the legal contractual date by which HDB is required to hand over the keys.
To date, 115 households have collected the keys to their new flats, HDB said.
Due to the delay, 197 buyers who had booked their Anchorvale Village flats by May 4, 2022, will receive estimated reimbursements ranging from $1,100 to $4,500, with the average sum being about $3,000, said HDB.
Buyers will receive the sum within two months of completing the purchase and accepting the settlement agreement, it added.
HDB had said the buyers would get the maximum reimbursement sum they are eligible for, without needing to submit any claims or proof of expenses. The total reimbursement amount for all 197 households is estimated to be $600,000, said HDB.
The completion of Anchorvale Village was delayed due to labour shortages and disruptions to material supplies caused by the pandemic, said HDB.
The tight site area as well as the project’s complex design – which includes a new-generation neighbourhood centre – also limited how much the main contractor, Ken-Pal, could expedite construction, it added.
HDB said it worked closely with Ken-Pal to bring in additional manpower and secure critical construction materials, as well as work on a tighter schedule to make up for lost time.
Financial assistance in the form of ex-gratia payments and co-sharing of costs was also provided to support Ken-Pal. HDB did not specify how much assistance was provided.
These measures helped Ken-Pal prioritise the two residential blocks over the neighbourhood centre, so that residents could get their keys earlier, said HDB.
Work on the neighbourhood centre is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023, with shops set to begin operations in the first quarter of 2024.
In March, HDB said it will reimburse about $5.1 million to the 896 buyers of Waterway Sunrise II, with an average reimbursement sum of $5,750.
Mr Lee also thanked home buyers for their “patience and understanding” in his Sunday post.
He added: “We will continue to press on and work hard to deliver new HDB flats in a timely manner, to meet strong public housing demand.”