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Assisted-living flats in Bukit Batok delayed after HDB axes contractor over poor progress

SINGAPORE – Buyers of Singapore’s first assisted living public housing flats in Bukit Batok will face a delay of three to four months after the Housing Board terminated the services of the project’s main contractor.

The completion date of Harmony Village @ Bukit Batok, which consists of 169 community care apartments in a 15-storey block, will be pushed back to between September and October 2024. It was initially slated to be completed in the second quarter of 2024.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, HDB said it had appointed Qingjian International (South Pacific) Group Development Co. to take over the project from main contractor JSM Construction Group on Feb 14.

HDB terminated the services of JSM on Jan 9 due to “unsatisfactory site progress”.

Despite the delay caused by the change, HDB had initially assessed that it could meet the completion timeline of the second quarter of 2024 by working closely with the new contractor and implementing measures to expedite construction.

Such measures include using more machinery, hiring additional subcontractors, and carrying out quieter works such as plastering and painting after office hours and on weekends within the permissible noise limits set by the National Environment Agency.

“While progress has been made and the project is now at a more advanced stage of construction, we were not able to make up for the lost time as planned, and other operating constraints were encountered on-site,” HDB said.

As the construction site is located near residential areas, the working hours allowed for noisy construction works, such as drilling, were limited, it added.

Buyers were informed of the delay on Nov 8. Acknowledging that the delay has inconvenienced buyers, HDB said it will continue to work closely with the contractors to expedite construction, without compromising on the quality and safety of the project.

The pilot batch of assisted living flats, located in Bukit Batok West Avenue 9, was launched in February 2021.

Each unit will come with senior-friendly fittings, such as wheelchair-accessible bathrooms with slip-resistant flooring and grab bars.

Residents will also have to subscribe to a basic service package, which includes 24-hour emergency monitoring and basic health checks.

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Buyers of these flats must be aged 65 and above, and can choose from leases that start from 15 years.

The second batch of community care flats in Queenstown will be ready in the fourth quarter of 2028.

The third project in Bedok, launched earlier in December, is slated for completion between the fourth quarter of 2027 and first quarter of 2028.

In July, HDB terminated the services of the main contractor for a Build-To-Order project in Punggol – CKR Contract Services – due to unsatisfactory progress and a repeated failure to meet necessary construction targets.

It appointed Qingjian to take over phase two of the Punngol Point Cove project in August.

The completion dates of five of the six blocks under the second phase of the development were pushed back by three months. This was on top of delays of between six and nine months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Singapore sets aside $800m to help seniors age well at home, in their communities

200 assisted living flats for seniors to be launched in Bedok in 2023

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