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New HDB flats to come with condo features

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Home prices will not be affected as Housing Board will absorb higher costs

New Housing Board flats will now come with condominium-like finishings.

These sleeker and more modern fittings - such as larger tiles and concealed floor traps - will be installed in new Build-to-Order (BTO) projects launched since February.

The new flats will incur marginally higher costs that HDB will absorb and does not affect the pricing, a spokesman said.

Mr Jansen Foo, deputy director in HDB's building quality group, said the net cost increase is minimal as HDB has been able to achieve economies of scale.

The HDB has adopted several practices akin to those at condos in recent years, such as pushing structural walls and beams to the side to encourage open-plan layouts.

"This year, we took this one step further to improve the range of fittings provided in our new flats for a sleeker look. HDB is constantly improving the design of our flats to suit the changing needs of our residents," said Mr Foo.

The new fittings include a scratch-resistant laminated timber main door with better finishing. It replaces the timber- veneered doors in older flats.

Steel entrance gates in more modern designs will replace the wrought iron gates that currently line many flats. These new gates will also feature "thumb-turn knobs" instead of traditional key inserts, which allow residents to open their gates from the inside without a key, enabling a quick escape.

Instead of more breakable ceramic tiles, glazed porcelain ones will be used in kitchens and bathrooms as they are more resistant to wear and tear.

Bathrooms will also boast better-looking fittings - like toilets, mixers and taps - that use water more efficiently. And floor traps will no longer have the distinct plastic cover but blend with the tiles on the floor.

Ramps leading to a bathroom will be replaced with a 2cm drop, giving flats a more contemporary look and layout while remaining accessible for people in wheelchairs, HDB said.

This change was made in response to feedback from residents, who said the ramps let water seep out.

Mr Kenyon Tan, 25, a first-time flat buyer who is self-employed, said the new fittings will help home owners spend less time and money sprucing up their place.

"The main concern when buying a home is money, especially for young people.

"I hope new improvements in HDB flats will not lead to a price increase," said Mr Tan.