In planning and designing our towns, HDB constantly seeks out innovative solutions that will raise the bar for public housing.
Planning for New Housing Areas
With the launch of the first 2 housing parcels in smart and green Punggol Point District in August 2018, our plans to develop Punggol into an eco-town are well on their way to being realised.
Bidadari, envisioned to be a tranquil urban oasis, is also progressively taking shape with 7 BTO projects launched as of this FY, each designed with a garden-like setting.
In Tengah, our 24th and youngest town, we marked a new milestone with the launch of the first housing parcel in Plantation District in November 2018. With an area of about 90 hectares, the first of 5 housing districts in Tengah is envisioned to be the home of community farming, with abundant spaces for community gardening and farming, and homes set amidst nature and greenery.
Tengah will be a Forest Town that is green, sustainable and smart
To strengthen the connection between our built environment and nature, we are progressively applying the Biophilic Town Framework for new housing projects launched from July 2018. Under this framework, we will infuse nature more purposefully and holistically into the urban landscape, so that residents can enjoy the numerous benefits that nature has to offer.
Town Design Guides were also introduced in the FY to unify future developments in our towns and preserve their distinctive identity. Unique to each town, the guides offer strategies and ideas that reference the town’s history, vision, and distinct character. The first of such design guides was launched in September 2018 for Woodlands, and all HDB towns will have their own Town Design Guides over the next 5 years.
HDB introduced Town Design Guides to strengthen the distinctive identities of HDB towns
Rejuvenating Our Towns
Upgrading programmes to rejuvenate the towns and maintain the value of flats remained a priority for HDB this FY.
We completed the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) for 27 projects during the year, helping some 29,700 households to address common maintenance problems in their ageing flats. Another 74 projects comprising about 68,000 dwelling units were also announced. Going forward, the HIP will be extended to flats built between 1987 and 1997, benefitting 230,000 more HDB households.
In conjunction with HIP, about 111,000 households opted for the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme to equip their flat with elder-friendly fittings at highly subsidised rates. Another 67,800 households applied for EASE directly.
Since December 2018, residents also have the option to install ramps at the flat’s main entrance or within the home as part of EASE, to help them navigate level differences.
At the precinct and block level, 6 Neighbourhood Renewal Programme (NRP) projects were completed during the FY, bringing the total number of completed projects to 73 since the programme was implemented in 2007.
The Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) has also been implemented for all feasible blocks, benefitting more than 500,000 families across 5,000 blocks to date. Another 38 blocks are currently undergoing LUP construction works as at 31 March 2019.
As part of the strategy to renew older estates, HDB announced a Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) site at MacPherson Lane in May 2018, involving 313 households. SERS renews older HDB estates and gives residents the opportunity to move into new homes with a better living environment and modern facilities. Separately, 675 SERS flat owners from other previously announced SERS sites collected the keys to their new flats.
In August 2018, the Government announced long-term plans to progressively renew and rebuild older HDB towns. A second round of upgrading, HIP II, will be offered for HDB flats when they reach about 60 to 70 years old, while selected precincts will be offered redevelopment under a new Voluntary Early Redevelopment Scheme (VERS) where home owners can collectively vote to sell their flats back to the Government. Details on the schemes are being worked out.
Driving Sustainability through Smart Technology
HDB is committed to creating towns that are smart, sustainable and highly liveable, by leveraging game-changing innovations and urban solutions.
In July 2018, we inked 3 research agreements with industry partners to advance smart and sustainable homes for Singaporeans. The collaborations include studying the potential of developing Tengah into a first-of-its-kind Smart Energy Town, developing a floating system in the open sea to harvest solar energy, and researching the use of 3D concrete printing for the production of unique architectural forms to expand our design and construction capabilities.
To boost adoption of renewable sources of energy, HDB expanded its solar programme this FY, introducing solar panels at another 1,218 HDB blocks and 49 government sites. Beyond rooftops, HDB is also studying the feasibility of installing solar panels on the vertical spaces of HDB blocks.
HDB expanded use of its floating system for solar panels in open sea
Powering Construction Productivity
HDB achieved an overall productivity level of 17.8% during the year, up from 14.8% in the previous year. This is due in large part to the wider adoption of innovative construction technology, standardisation of design and detailing, and new materials over the years. Prefabricated Bathroom Units (PBU) were installed in 85% of the dwelling units launched in 2018, up from 60% in the previous year, while adoption of Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) was implemented in 23% of building projects.
The adoption of the Automated Precast Production System (APPS), which integrates upstream design information into the downstream precast production work process through Computer Aided Drafting/ Computer Aided Manufacturing (CADD/ CAM) technology, also contributed to raising productivity and reducing the dependence on labour.
Using this system, we completed the production of 49,100 m2 (equivalent to 650 4-room flats) of Large Panel Slab (LPS) for in-house design projects at Punggol North and Bidadari during the year. The Precast Sandwich Wall System and Precast Flat Slab system were also successfully piloted in Punggol Northshore, Singapore’s first smart and sustainable public housing district.
Tapping on new technologies, HDB, in partnership with the Building & Construction Authority and Enterprise Singapore, launched an innovation call under the Government-Partnership Capability Transformation (Gov-PACT) initiative for the Development of a Drone Inspection System for Building Façades, to better prepare the drone and building inspection industry and develop local capabilities for façade inspection. 5 proposals have been selected for development trials which are expected to take place in 2019.
Rethinking Our Commercial Properties
Residents enjoy more convenience with integrated facilities at Oasis Terraces
Oasis Terraces, the first of 6 new-generation Neighbourhood Centres, officially opened its doors in February 2019, marking several firsts. Beyond bringing together a polyclinic and a host of retail, dining, and community facilities in a lushly-landscaped development that overlooks the Punggol Waterway, the centre is also the first to be built with smart and sustainable features throughout. These features include motion-sensor lighting and sensor-activated fans, rooftop solar panels, a rainwater harvesting system that treats surface water runoff, and a sensor-triggered irrigation system to manage the distribution of water to designated planting zones. In keeping with new retail trends, the centre has also pioneered an Entrepreneur Cluster, where budding business owners can try their hand at running their own stores at lower rents.
Construction of the other 5 new-generation neighbourhood centres in Punggol, Canberra, Hougang and Sengkang are in various stages of construction, and are expected to be completed by 2022.
The year also saw the official opening of Kampung Admiralty, the first-of-its-kind development in Singapore to integrate housing for the elderly with social, healthcare, communal, commercial and retail facilities. Entirely designed to facilitate interaction between residents among different age groups, this modern 'kampung' has set a new benchmark for future public housing.
Kampung Admiralty is a one-stop hub with housing for the elderly and co-located facilities for residents of all ages