HDB better than condo, in the social media age

In a recent post on Instagram, social media influencer Xiaxue highlighted the ‘derelict’ state of her HDB common areas in Hougang. Lo and behold!

Cover pic and above pic from Xiaxue instagram account

Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) wasted no time in addressing her concerns. Aside from explaining the situation online, AHTC also engaged workers the following day to fix the chipped cement surfaces and painted over the ceiling. https://www.asiaone.com/singapore/xiaxue-raises-concerns-about-destitute-state-her-hougang-hdb-block-town-council-responds

Pound for pound, in a Condo setting the Managing agent would have to …

  1. Get MCST council approval
  2. Mobilise contractors to do minor repairs
  3. Supervise minor works and ensure completion
  4. Release official statement to all residents

All within 24 hours.

Here’s the extra points. AHTC ended their note with “The town council recognises that there is always room for improvement, and welcomes feedback from residents.” My idol MA. Such eagerness and endearing level of service reminds me of SG in the 1980s or Japan today.

Not only that, in this instance the Public model trumps the Private model in both cost and efficiency. An extremely rare sighting for me.

Owners responsible for upkeep of buildings, says BCA

When the air ventilation system collapsed across several rows of seats at Shaw cinema in NEX, two were injured and sent to the hospital. One had to be carried on a stretcher (seemingly unconscious). The other was conscious but seen lying on the floor clutching her head. George Yang of Goodyfeed remarked if not for social-distancing measures, someone may have lost his life. Indeed, just look at how many seats are covered from the picture below. (See more pics here)

Definitely no small piece~ Even an iPad hitting one’s head from such a height would have caused much pain.

Water that had collected in an air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation duct likely caused the structure to crash during a movie screening earlier this year, Minister Desmond Lee said
(https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/aircon-duct-collapse-shaw-cinema-nex-mall-likely-due-accumulated-water-structure-desmond)

While the maintenance of air-conditioning mechanical ventilation (ACMV) ducts within buildings is not subject to regulatory requirements, the BCA spokesman told Straits Times that “building owners are responsible for the maintenance of their buildings, by ensuring that all parts of their buildings are maintained in a state of good and serviceable condition”. (https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/owners-responsible-for-upkeep-of-buildings-says-bca)

The unfortunate event is a stark reminder to many building owners. This includes some condos who have been turning a blind eye to overdue maintenance and replacement. My other Council member tells me one mixed development mall in Bukit Timah has repeatedly failed their air quality inspections and fire safety. To rectify and replace the core installations would cost $3-$5 million. I wonder if discussions are revived at their Council meetings.

It doesn’t matter if your MCST council choose to turn a blind eye, while the minority who insisted on doing right gets outvoted. When shit hits the fence, collectively all owners are responsible. Safety should never be compromised.

If your sinking funds are wafer thin, there are only two safe options.

1. Get all owners to agree to top-up from their own pockets. (Easier said than done?)

2. Shutdown the facility.

Decide quickly on which of the two before bickering over “How did we get to this?”. Matter of fact, you should have asked Is our condo running out of funds?” years ago. Read on about the poorly managed “Tyre Pancit” condo.