Published September 12, 2012

Govt in no hurry to finish DBSS review

HDB has played an active role in managing disputes between DBSS flat buyers and developers: Khaw

By Mindy Tan

THERE is no rush to complete the review of the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS), given the government's current priority to ramp up Built-To-Order flats and executive condominium (EC) units.

This is despite the fact that DBSS land sales have been suspended since July last year, following a public outcry over a Centrale 8 DBSS unit in Tampines bearing an original price tag of $880,000. The DBSS scheme, which allows private developers to design and build some public flats, was introduced in 2005 to give flat buyers more choice.

While the Housing & Development Board (HDB) would provide broad planning parameters such as the mix of flat sizes and the range of social and community facilities to be provided, the developer is responsible for the design, construction quality and the pricing of the flat.

Responding to a question by Member of Parliament Ang Hin Kee on whether the Ministry of National Development has completed the review and if the review looks into how it will impact owners of DBSS flats, Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan noted that the HDB's primary role is to ensure that only those who are eligible for public housing can buy such housing, and to disburse housing grants and provide concessionary loans to eligible buyers.

"As DBSS flats are sold directly by private developers to flat buyers, resolution of any contractual disputes, including defects, rests with the buyer and the developer," he said.

However, the HDB has played an active role in managing disputes between buyers and developers.

Said Mr Khaw: "HDB is playing a very active part to help them, counsel them and advise them to resolve the conflicts. Where they can play a mediating role will depend on what is the specific issues involved.

"But at the end of the day, we must be mindful that it is a contractual obligation between the buyer and seller. But we can advise the residents, perhaps together with the local MP, to see what the problem is and whether there are ways to resolve some of the issues."