News: 215,000 flats upgraded through home improvement scheme

Mar 3, 2021

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Tuesday (2 March) said close to 70% of the 320,000 flats that are eligible for the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) have been upgraded under the programme, reported Channel News Asia (CNA).

Built up to 1986, the 215,000 flats are spread across 230 projects.

About 96,800 flats across 101 projects are still undergoing upgrading works as of 31 December 2020, while works at 8,200 flats will be “implemented progressively”.

As of 31 March 2020, the government has spent around $3.2 billion on the programme, which is aimed at helping spruce up ageing flats, said HDB.

The scheme, which was first introduced in 2007, was offered to flats built up to 1986 that have not benefitted from the previous Main Upgrading Programme.

It helps owners “address common maintenance problems related to ageing flats in a systematic and comprehensive manner” and is focused on improvements within the flat, said HDB.

However, at least 75% of the eligible Singapore citizen household within a block should vote in favour of the HIP for it to proceed.

The scheme has three main components of work.

The first, essential improvements, is fully paid for by the government and include the upgrade of electrical loads, repair of spalling concrete and replacement of waste or soil discharge stacks.

The second component, optional works, must be partially paid for by residents and include toilet upgrade packages, metal grille gates and new decorative doors.

Finally, the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, which was introduced in 2012, offer elderly-friendly fittings such as ramps, grab bars and slip-resistant floor treatments.

Residents living in blocks not eligible for HIP or do not want to wait for HIP, can directly apply for EASE.

EASE has been expanded over the years, with a lower qualifying age for direct applicants and more offerings – such as ramp solutions that were introduced in 2018.

As of 31 December 2020, over 234,000 households have applied for it, of which over 147,700 opted for it along with HIP. The other 86,300 households directly applied for it.

The ramp solutions for units with multi-step entrances, for instance, benefitted more than 1,770 homes, following its inclusion in the scheme.

The government has spent around $90 million on EASE as of 31 March 2020.

In August 2018, HDB revealed that the program is extended to cover another 230,000 flats that were built between 1987 and 1997.

Around 56,000 units have been selected under the first batch of this extended programme, said HDB.

The extended HIP’s package of improvement items come in “more contemporary designs and are of better quality” like the fittings for the toilet as well as the main entrance door and gate, shared HDB.

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By Eugenia Liew, Senior Digital Content Specialist at PropertyGuru.
Reach out to her at eugenialiew
@propertyguru.com.sg. 

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