New materials but quality of flats won't suffer

Mar 16, 2007

The Straits Times

I REFER to the letter, 'Steel construction can cause noise problems' (ST, Feb 24), from Mr Yeh Sau See.

The recent ban on export of concreting sand by Indonesia has given greater impetus to our construction industry to adopt construction practices and technology that lessen the use of sand.

For HDB building projects, we have been adopting alternative construction materials, such as the use of metallic parapets, metal roofs and steel pillars for linkways and drop-off porches, and ferro-concrete for lift shafts.

HDB is looking into the use of other alternative materials, such as composite concrete (steel combined with concrete) for load-bearing structures. For partitions within flats, it is exploring the use of alternative materials, such as steel sandwich panel walls, calcium-silicate boards and ferrolite partition walls.

HDB is mindful of the need to maintain the high quality of its flats, even as we adopt alternative construction methods and materials. Most of these methods and materials have already been well-established and accepted worldwide. Some, such as steel sandwich panel walls and calcium-silicate boards, are already being used in private residential developments in Singapore.

Tests conducted by HDB on ferrolite partition walls have shown that they possess sound-insulation capabilities comparable to conventional concrete or brick walls.

We would like to assure our residents that HDB flats will continue to be subject to stringent quality control, and comply fully with the relevant building codes and regulations.

We thank Mr Yeh for his feedback.

Dr Johnny Wong
Deputy Director
(Building Research)
Building Technology Department
Housing & Development Board