Improvement works in private estates: BCA replies (The Straits Times Forum)

Thursday, 20 March 2014

We thank Mr Ng Yee Seng for his support of the Accessibility Fund as mentioned in his letter "Tweak rules for improvement works in private estates" on 14 March 2014.

Like Mr Ng, we recognise that our society is ageing and that mobility will be an issue. This is why the Building and Construction Authority has put in place a series of initiatives under its Accessibility Master Plan to support "ageing-in-place" and an inclusive built environment. These include the $40 million Accessibility Fund to encourage the upgrading of existing private buildings with basic barrier-free accessibility features for communal areas.

The Accessibility Fund co-pays up to 80% of the construction cost of these basic accessibility features, including the provision of barrier-free access, such as ramps, from the public walkway to entrance of building, accessibility at the ground floor level and an accessible toilet.

Mr Ng has rightly pointed out that for strata-titled buildings like a private residential estate, the management corporation (MCST) would need to pass a special resolution requiring at least 75% of the share value of all the valid votes cast at a general meeting before carrying out any improvement works in the estate. This is because such improvement works involve the utilisation of management funds and affect the use and layout of the common property. All unit owners should thus be given the opportunity to make a collective decision on the proposal for the estate.

BCA has already given an in-principle approval to the estate mentioned by Mr Ng to use the Accessibility Fund to provide basic accessibility features at the ground level and lift lobby. As the provision of accessibility features is meant to create an inclusive built environment for the estate, we strongly encourage the residents to consider supporting the proposal.

Chin Chi Leong
Group Director
Building Plan and Management 
Building and Construction Authority

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