Complete Property Market Updates of Singapore

August 7, 2008

HDB pricing policy limits impact of rising costs

Filed under: Construction News,General,HBD Reviews — Propertymarketupdates @ 3:19 am

Board trying to contain cost by simplifying some projects

CONSTRUCTION costs for Housing & Development Board (HDB) flats have increased but the impact on buyers is likely to be limited, due to HDB’s pricing policy and cost-control measures.

Speaking to the media at HDB yesterday, National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said that ‘construction costs have gone up significantly both for the building of private as well as public housing’. According to him, construction costs may have risen 20 to 30 per cent in general.

‘HDB is trying to contain the cost as much as it can,’ he added. One way is to simplify some of its projects. The government is also withholding some projects to ease pressures on the construction sector.

Asked how much of the increase in construction costs would go to buyers, he said that ‘for new flats, it should not feed directly through to the buyers, but it will probably feed through indirectly as the market price of flats goes up’.

In a forum reply last year, HDB mentioned that the prices of new flats are based on the market prices of resale HDB flats, not on construction costs. ‘In order to provide affordable housing to Singaporean families, new HDB flats are priced below their equivalent market values,’ said the reply.

Mr Mah assured that the prices of public housing will remain affordable.

The squeeze in the construction sector is not likely to delay the integrated resort projects. Progress is ‘on track’, he said.

Mr Mah also expects demand for HDB flats to strengthen if Singapore’s population grows as it has over the last few years. ‘We are monitoring the situation, and as the demand grows, we are also increasing the supply.’

He pointed out, however, that ‘we must also always be careful that we do not overbuild.’

HDB yesterday launched 382 flats for sale at Straits Vista @ Marsiling under the Build-To-Order (BTO) system. The first HDB project in Woodlands town in recent years, Straits Vista forms part of the total BTO supply of 8,400 units planned for this year. The project will comprise 50 three-room units with an indicative price range of $116,000 to $164,000, and 332 four-room units from $184,000 to $257,000.

HDB will receive the United Nations Public Service Award for its home ownership programme on June 23 and Mr Mah was at the agency to celebrate the win. There are more than 800,000 HDB flats in Singapore, housing more than 80 per cent of the resident population. About 95 per cent of HDB households own their homes.

Source : Business Times – 11 Jun 2008


July 24, 2008

Chip Eng Seng unit bags $123.5m HDB contract

Filed under: Construction News,General,HBD Reviews — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:23 am

CHIP Eng Seng Corporation’s wholly owned subsidiary Chip Eng Seng Contractors (198 has been awarded a $123.5 million contract by the Housing and Development Board (HDB).

The contract is for the construction of five 25-storey residential blocks in Sengkang. The contract includes the construction of a multi-storey carpark with future community facility on the first storey, and a precinct pavilion. Work is expected to begin this month, with completion slated for 2011.

The contract is not expected to have any material impact on the group’s net tangible assets and earnings per share for the current financial year ending Dec 31.

This is the company’s second HDB construction contract this year. In January it announced a contract to build 1,394 housing units in Queenstown. The company has also undertaken two other HDB housing projects, one in Sembawang and the other being Pinnacle @ Duxton.

The group’s construction order book now stands at about $755 million. Said executive chairman Lim Tiam Seng: ‘With increasing demand for construction, we are confident of our prospects for the rest of 2008.’

Mr Lim further believes that the group’s construction division will continue to have a busy year ahead with tenders and construction work.

Source : Business Times – 10 Jun 2008

July 10, 2008

Steel contractor snags $83m of IR sub-contracts

Filed under: Construction News,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:31 am

STEEL contractor Yongnam Holdings has clinched two integrated resort (IR) sub-contracts worth a total of $83.35 million.

One deal calls on the Singapore-listed firm to fabricate and erect structural steelworks for the ArtScience museum to be built by Penta-Ocean Construction at the Marina Bay Sands IR. The deal is worth $41.35 million.

The second sub-contract, estimated at $42 million, was awarded by Sembawang Engineers and Constructors.

Yongnam will make and install steel supports for the casino and theatre podium at the IR.

It will also provide engineering advice surrounding the installation and later removal of temporary support structures during the building.

Yongnam chief executive Seow Soon Yong said the company was ‘pleased to maintain its successful track record of contract wins’ from the IR projects.

The company had also won four previous Marina Bay Sands contracts, valued at $177.7 million, in May and November last year.

This brings the value of its IR-related contracts to more than $260 million.

The company, which has more than 30 years of experience in steel fabrication, also provides engineering solutions for the use of steel in construction projects.

Yongnam shares yesterday closed one cent up at 23 cents.

Source : Straits Times – 7 Jun 2008

Yongnam secures 2 more deals worth $83m for Marina IR

Filed under: Construction News,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:17 am

STRUCTURAL steel fabricator and engineer Yongnam Holdings has won two more sub-contracts totalling $83.35 million for the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort.

The first deal is worth $41.35 million and was awarded by Penta-Ocean Construction. Yongnam will supply, fabricate, deliver, and erect structural steelworks for the construction of the resort’s ArtScience Museum. The museum is located at the IR’s Bayfront Promontory and boasts a unique lotus-inspired design.

The second subcontract, valued at around $42 million, was given by Sembawang Engineers & Constructors. It covers the structural steelworks stanchion for the construction of the IR’s casino and theatre podium. It also involves supplying, installing and removing temporary struts, walers, bracings and associated fittings and decking posts, as well as around 10,500 square metres of metro decking.

‘The IR development is based on a fast-track schedule, and we are proud to be tasked with quite a number of projects for the IR, which reaffirms Yongnam’s capabilities to deliver quality steel construction and engineering solutions on time,’ said Yongnam’s chief executive officer Seow Soon Yong.

Yongnam said the two new contracts are expected to have a material impact on its FY2008 performance. The latest windfall comes on top of the four IR-related contracts totalling $177.7 million which Yongnam won between November 2007 and May this year. They covered structural steelwork requirements in other IR features such as its hotel tower and North podium.

Besides the IR, Yongnam is also riding on the construction boom resulting from other major projects in Singapore such as the Formula One race and the upcoming Orchard Turn mall.

Yongnam was earlier awarded a contract to supply, fabricate and erect structural steelwork for a three-storey recreation and commercial complex at Republic Boulevard for the F1 race. At Orchard Turn, Yongnam will provide similar services and infrastructure for its shopping mall and multi-storey car park.

Together with its production facilities in Pontian, Malaysia, Yongnam is able to produce 42,000 tonnes of fabricated steel per year.

Source : Business Times – 7 Jun 2008

July 8, 2008

Life in a self-contained township

Filed under: Construction News,Developer News,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 5:05 am

one-north aims to be a place where residents can work, live, learn and play seamlessly. CLARISSA TAN reports

IT’S Friday morning. Your alarm rings. You decide to swim a few laps, so you head for the rooftop pool. Then you stroll to work, which takes only a few minutes. Throughout the day, you rub shoulders with academics, media types, a few artists.

Later you want to welcome the weekend with a bang. A host of restaurants and bars are just a short walk or an MRT stop away. And while your workplace is an impressive, futuristic building, you can opt to dine in a cosy colonial setting.

Living in one-north will help you enjoy this kind of lifestyle, according to some property developers and consultants. The 200-hectare area around Buona Vista, which includes scientific research centre Biopolis and media hub Fusionoplis, aims to be a place where residents can ‘work, live, learn and play’ seamlessly.

one-north’s ’self-contained township’ concept and proximity to a research-and-development hub, the Science Park and education campuses are a draw for researchers, academics and professionals, says Ku Swee Yong, director of marketing and business development at property consultant Savills Singapore.

‘Singapore has just begun to reap the benefits of R&D in the pure sciences,’ he says. ‘one-north is expected to contribute the lion’s share in the commercialisation value of these efforts’.

Two residential projects are under construction at one-north – one-north Residences and The Rochester.

The Rochester, going by the job-home-leisure concept, is a mixed development that will comprise a condominium, a business hotel and a mall.

The cluster will have ‘unparalleled accessibility,’ says Jackson Yap, group managing director and chief executive of developer United Engineers.

‘There’s the East-West MRT line a five-minute walk away at Buona Vista station and the Circle Line to be running by 2011. It is also a short drive to Orchard Road and walking distance to Holland Village.’

The Rochester Condominium will have 366 units. Besides being near the sleek towers of Biopolis and Fusionopolis, it will be flanked by the lush Rochester Park, a green belt with colonial black-and-white bungalows that have been leased to food-and-beverage outlets.

‘It enjoys all the amenities of a mature residential estate with the greenery of the Rochester Hill in the background,’ says Mr Yap.

The Rochester Mall will be 100,000 sq ft and the business hotel, called Park Avenue Suites @ The Rochester, will have 350 rooms.

‘Apart from serving business travellers to one-north, the hotel will cater to medical tourists, with the National University Hospital and Gleneagles in the vicinity,’ Mr Yap says.

It will also attract ‘edu-tourists’ on short-term post-graduate courses at the nearby INSEAD business school and the National University of Singapore, he adds.

The entire project should be completed by 2011.

one-north Residences, developed by Vista Development, will have about 400 residential units and 20 street retail units. Its design concept leans towards glass and steel, with blocks connected by sky bridges, and fits in with the area’s master plan to create a ‘fenceless’ community.

‘Because there is a limited supply of residential projects there, demand for housing will be extremely great from expatriates who work there,’ says Emily Eng, associate director of the residential department of Knight Frank, the project’s marketing consultant and agent.

‘People who buy see the potential of the hub. After all, the government has committed to spend $15 billion to develop this city within the city.’

Savills’ Mr Ku says a development like one-north Residences will ‘allow like-minded experts and professionals to get together, mingle and socialise within a short walk of their home.’

Such is the concern for seamless interconnectivity that if you’re the sort who prefers to roll out of bed and into the office, you can opt to live in the very building where you work.

Fusionopolis, a twin-tower, 24-floor skyscraper dedicated to ‘infocomms’ or media and IT-related businesses, will house 50 serviced apartments. These units will have access to a rooftop pool, a clubhouse and skygardens – as well as five floors of entertainment and retail outlets including a supermarket, restaurants, a bookstore and a food court.

While one-north may look scientific, high-tech and top-speed at first glance, it also has a more laidback and historical side. Nestled in a green enclave is the Wessex Estate, a close-knit cluster of black-and-white houses and apartments built by the British in the 1940s.

While the various blocks of the Biopolis complex are given names such as Neuros, Genome and Chromos, the apartment buildings of Wessex Estate bear names that recall another time – Waterloo, Somme, Lucknow, Pegu.

And unlike the colonial district at Rochester Park, which now features restaurants and bars, the Wessex Estate is still very much residential and has a strong neighbourhood feel. The aim is to foster it as a home for artists, teachers, writers and actors. A few of the apartment blocks have been converted into work lofts for people involved in the creative and fine arts.

The Wessex Estate has always had interconnectivity of its own. For decades, its inhabitants could head down to the nearby Colbar (short for Colonial Bar), where pickled onions and fish-and-chips are on the menu.

The Colbar still exists and is as popular as ever, but recently it has been joined by two new restaurants, a cafe and a cocktail bar – all of them forming an area called the Village Square.

At sundown, when you chug your beer at the square, perhaps you will see the twinkling lights of the hovering skyscrapers.

Source : Business Times – 6 Jun 2008

June 21, 2008

Construction din riles more residents

Filed under: Construction News,General — Propertymarketupdates @ 6:30 pm

THE incessant din from piling, hacking and demolition works at construction sites is driving residents up the wall.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) heard 9,228 complaints last year, nearly double the 4,953 in 2005.

If more residents are getting riled, that is because more old buildings are being torn down to make way for new ones, said an NEA spokesman.

Last year, about 6,380 worksites dotted the island – an increase of nearly 30 per cent from the previous year’s 5,020.

The complaints are coming in despite NEA’s efforts to put a tighter lid on noise levels since October last year.

The noise limits, however, are imposed only for weekday nights, Sundays and public holidays.

Between 10pm and 7am on weekdays, worksites within 150m of residential areas have to keep to 55 decibels over a continuous five-minute period – down from 60 decibels previously.

As normal conversation is about 60 decibels, this means workers can carry out only activities such as brick-laying, plastering and painting.

On Sundays and public holidays, the 7am to 7pm limit was slashed from 90 to 75 decibels. And from 7pm to 10pm, the limit is 55 decibels, down from 70 decibels.

Companies that violate these guidelines are fined up to $40,000. If the noise continues, NEA will restrict the contractors’ working hours.

But construction sites seem to be keeping it down, if NEA’s enforcement figures are anything to go by.

On average, NEA found a construction site busting the noise limit almost every other day last year. But the 237 worksites that created the din was fewer than the 398 in 2004.

Contractors contacted said they keep the volume down by using noise barriers and less noisy construction methods or equipment.

For instance, more contractors do bored piling – which involves drilling into the ground – instead of hammering the pile into the ground.

Some contractors would also go from door to door to apologise to residents for the inconvenience and, in some instances, placate the unhappy few with cakes or hampers, said Mr Desmond Low, project manager of Koon Seng Construction.

But the public relations exercise and tightened limits have not lessened the sound and fury of residents, who point out that while the worksites are quiet at night, they are deafening in the day.

Housewife Christine Goh Roske, 33, who lives in Ewe Boon Road near Balmoral, has to leave her house in the day to avoid hearing the three jackhammers banging away at the construction site next door.

‘I feel as if I’m being chased out of my own home…And I can’t close the windows as the house will be too hot and stuffy,’ she said.

Source : Straits Times – 26 May 2008

June 16, 2008

More homes, buildings in S’pore going green

Filed under: Construction News,General,Property Add Value — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:28 am

EFFORTS to green Singapore’s buildings are paying off, with more than 19,000 environmentally friendly homes built across the island and 18,000 more in the pipeline.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said on Wednesday that the number of homes with energy-saving features has been on the rise since the BCA Green Mark scheme was introduced in 2005.

Under the scheme, buildings which meet a benchmark in terms of environmentally friendly features are awarded the ‘Green Mark’.

As more developers embrace environmental sustainability, ‘we are seeing the number of green buildings rising exponentially’, said BCA’s chief executive John Keung on Wednesday.These homes can save their occupants as much as $1,800 a year on power bills, based on a recent survey of green homes by the BCA recently.

Green homes typically boast green features such as energy-efficient air-conditioners and water-efficient fittings which help to cut bills.

As energy costs escalate, it makes ‘even more economic sense to consider green homes’, said the BCA.

And the number of such homes is set to grow even further.

From last month, all new buildings and major retrofitting will have to meet the basic Green Mark standard.

The scheme, which rates a building’s environmental impact and performance, was slow to take off when it was launched. But the initiative has since gathered steam, with about 100 buildings getting the Green Mark stamp last year, and another 200 to be assessed this year.

Of these, about 60 residential projects with 19,000 green homes have been built, with another 60 projects, set to yield 18,000 green homes, in the pipeline.

The BCA has so far dished out $2.6 million in cash incentives to developers of 17 projects to encourage the adoption of green standards.

To recognise developers’ efforts, 42 projects which achieved high Green Mark standards received awards from National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan at the BCA’s annual awards last night.

There are six platinum winners this year, including City Developments’ residential project The Solitaire at Balmoral Park, and Lend Lease Retail’s eight-storey mall above Somerset MRT station, 313@Somerset.

Source : Straits Times – 23 May 2008

Govt extends cash incentive scheme for green buildings

Filed under: Construction News,General,Property Add Value — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:25 am

THE Government’s bag of carrots to encourage the construction of green buildings just got bigger.

National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan announced yesterday that cash incentives paid to developers who put up green buildings will be extended.

In addition, key industry stakeholders such as architects and engineers will now be offered incentives, too, in recognition of the important roles they play, he said.

The Green Mark incentive scheme, launched by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in December 2006, pays out cash grants of up to $3 million for buildings that reach high environmental standards.

Developers will see no change in the scheme, but architects and engineers can now claim up to $100,000 in cash incentives, depending on the building standard achieved and the floor area.

To encourage more green buildings, the scheme will now also apply to smaller buildings, said Mr Mah. The minimum gross floor area requirement will be cut from 5,000 sq m to 2,000 sq m.

The BCA Green Mark scheme, launched in 2005, rates buildings for their environmental impact and performance.

‘With the green building movement in Singapore gaining momentum, it is timely to enhance the scheme,’ said Mr Mah at BCA’s annual awards dinner last night.

BCA launched two new awards yesterday: the BCA Green Mark Champion Award for developers and the BCA-NParks Green Mark for Parks Award.

Local developer City Developments clinched the first award, with 21 projects rated Green Mark Gold or above. Five attained GoldPlus or platinum standards.

BCA chief John Keung said yesterday that the BCA Green Mark ‘has received strong support from major developers like City Developments’, and he hopes that more developers will ‘take the lead in achieving excellence in environmental sustainability…and strive for the higher ratings’.

For the first time, Singapore parks will be benchmarked against environmental sustainability standards.

Mr Mah gave out the new parks awards to Fort Canning Park, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the Chinese Garden. In addition, building professionals were honoured for construction excellence, safety and universal design.

Source : Straits Times – 23 May 2008

More awards under Green Mark scheme

Filed under: Construction News,General,Property Add Value — Propertymarketupdates @ 4:23 am

MINISTER for National Development Mah Bow Tan emphasised the need for a sustainable built environment at the Building and Construction Authority Awards Night by announcing enhancements to the Green Mark scheme.

‘The scheme has been well accepted by the industry and is now a recognised achievement. With the green building movement in Singapore gaining momentum, it is timely to enhance the scheme and apply the Green Mark concept to the wider physical environment,’ he said.

The enhancements include two revisions to the Green Mark Incentive Scheme, a $20 million fund set aside in December 2006 to reward developers of projects certified Gold or above. A total of $2.6 million has been awarded to 17 projects so far.

The first change extends the incentive scheme to smaller buildings by reducing the minimum ground floor area eligibility requirement to 2,000 square metres from 5,000 sq m, while the second broadens it to include architects and engineers involved in new developments.

Offering architects and engineers monetary motivation to incorporate green features into building designs from Day One would lead to ‘lower green cost premiums’, defined as cost of greening over total construction cost, pointed out BCA chief executive John Keung.

Mr Mah also inaugurated the stringent Green Mark Champion award for developers. To qualify for the award, a developer or building owner must have no less than 10 projects rated Gold or above, with at least three Gold Plus and three Platinum awards.

With a stable of 21 projects rated Gold or above, including five Gold Plus and five Platinum efforts, City Developments Ltd was the sole recipient of the new award.

The subsequent benchmark, Green Mark Platinum Champion, demands no less than 50 Gold or above projects, of which at least 15 must be Gold Plus and at least 15 Platinum.

The final enhancement announced was the Green Mark for Parks scheme, a collaboration between BCA and the National Parks Board. Open to a wide variety of parks both here and overseas, it looks out for waste and material minimisation, water and energy efficiency, park management, and conservation and heritage.

Fort Canning Park and Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve won Gold, while Chinese Garden attained certification. Key features at the parks include designated composting areas, use of rain water for cleaning and plant maintenance, and preservation of heritage trees.

Source : Business Times – 23 May 2008

SIA launches series of green building initiatives

Filed under: Construction News,General,Property Add Value — Propertymarketupdates @ 2:40 am

SUPPORTING the local green movement, the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) will be taking on a series of initiatives to promote green architecture in Singapore.
SIA’s latest efforts came to light at its annual dinner yesterday, as president of the institute, Tai Lee Siang, introduced three green awards to recognise excellence in sustainable architectural design.

The first is the SIA-NParks Skyrise Greenery Awards, jointly launched by SIA and the National Parks Board to encourage creative greenery design in high-rise developments.

Partnering Philips and Hunter Douglas separately, SIA will also launch the SIA-Philips Green Innovation Awards and the Eco Friend Awards.

The former recognises innovative sustainable design, while the latter promotes the creative use of sustainable products.

Awards aside, the SIA will also bid to host the 2014 International Union of Architects World Congress, one of the world’s largest conferences on architecture and urban design, under the theme ‘Green Cities’.

Through the bid, SIA hopes to showcase Singapore not just as a model green city, but also as a catalyst for the creation of a green region around South-east Asia.

As a sign of the government’s support, Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan will lead the SIA delegation to Turin, Italy, to present the bid in July.

Yesterday’s spotlight was also on the 9th SIA Architectural Design Awards.

With talk of recession and belt-tightening making its rounds, it was a uniquely apt time for the awards to introduce a new prize – ‘Best Project Below S$1 Million Construction Cost’.

The winning design at 19 Jalan Elok by Chang Architects was a stunning display of urbanised nature, impressing the judges with the ‘magical quality of its spaces’.

Also making its debut was the ‘Building of the Year’ award, which went to RSP Architects Planners & Engineers for its work on the LaSalle College of the Arts.

According to the judges, the college is ‘a work with sensitivity to youth, to climate, to context, to construction’.

Source : Business Times – 22 May 2008

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