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Tampines Court: Is the sale still on?

The developer Sim Lian Group is awaiting Planning Permission approval from the URA so that it can build more housing units on the site.

Worried at the lack of updates on the collective sale process, homeowners at Tampines Court wanted to know whether the sale of the development to Sim Lian Group is still on and if they could collect their sales proceeds in April, reported the Straits Times.

This comes as Sim Lian found itself entangled in technical issues.

The firm – which is engaged with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) over its proposal to upgrade two road junctions and construct a new link to the slip road leading to the Pan-Island Expressway – is awaiting Planning Permission approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

The road improvements are necessary so that it can increase the number of units to about 2,000 from the current 560.

And while it could take only 20 days to assess a development application, the process may take longer depending on the development proposal’s complexity and site constraints.

Meanwhile, veteran architect Tan Cheng Siong believes that en bloc sales are disruptive to communities and society, reported TODAYonline.

He revealed that the Land Titles (Strata) Act should be addressed since its provisions “encourage people to uproot from where they stay”, and adopt a “let’s get rich by destruction” mentality, instead of staying put to “add value” to the community.

“This is not quite appropriate especially if we want to encourage a sense of community, a sense of togetherness, and a sense of place in Singapore.”

Tan discovered this during a “voluntary conservation” project on Pearl Bank. Although he and his partner Daniel Law had secured 92 percent consent from the residents, the redevelopment did not push through as the law required unanimous consent.

“So you need 100 percent consent to protect a building, but 80 percent to strike it off the surface of the earth,” said the 81-year-old founder of Archurban Architects Planners.

If left unaddressed, Singapore will “reach a point when every home is just a market value to be realised or reaped very quickly”.

“This mentality and sentiment is not healthy for our younger generation,” he noted.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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Big players still unwilling to accept new technologies

Despite their desire to make a change in the construction industry, mid-sized contractors face various obstacles in adopting new technologies, reported Channel News Asia.

This comes as some of the big players still prefer traditional construction methods over new building technologies, said Kang Choon Boon, managing director at B19 Technologies – one of the first firms in Singapore to use Mass-Engineered Timber (MET), a kind of building material where solid wooden pieces are cut and made in factories, to be assembled on-site.

The timber product was used to build The Wave, a new sports hall at Nanyang Technological University.

Kang believes that while the use of MET would raise construction cost by 20 percent, the cost would drop once more companies embrace the material since there would be economies of scale. Other benefits include shorter construction time, manpower savings and a much greener product.

B19, however, used the method to a handful of projects only.

“We depend very much on the developer and the client on what their requirements are,” said Kang.

Agreeing, Peh Ke-Pin, director at mid-sized company PQ Builder, said: “We are not the decision maker…It’s a top-down approach.”

Peh noted that while their company had spent nearly $ 1.5 million on research and construction technology and availed of government grants to fund their purchases, they remain limited by their size.

Maintaining the equipment has also proved to be an issue for firms such as his, given that they are often tight on cash.

“Some projects may use (a particular) equipment, but after the project’s (done), the equipment may not be applicable to other projects,” explained Peh. “It needs someplace to sit, so the storage cost will also be (an) issue.”

In responding to the needs of small and mid-sized companies, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has revealed plans to explore a model where companies could lease their mid-range equipment.

 

This article was edited by Keshia Faculin.

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