SINGAPORE: There will be some HDB blocks that will not be offered the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) due to excessively high cost and technical constraints.
This is even though the Housing and Development Board is focusing its efforts on upgrading the remaining feasible blocks by 2014.
Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan said HDB will continue to look for solutions for these blocks.
MP for Bishan—Toa Payoh GRC Zainudin Nordin had asked the minister in Parliament whether the ministry would review the basis of its computation of the cost per benefiting housing unit.
But Mr Lee said it will not be appropriate for HDB to change the basis of its computation, as the programme is nearing the end.
The figure is derived by dividing the total cost of upgrading a block by the number of units which will benefit directly from the LUP. The total cost comprises the building construction cost, the lift cost and other related costs.
Mr Lee said HDB has applied the basis of computation consistently to all blocks selected for LUP.
Mr Zainudin also asked if the HDB would consider other alternatives.
"Beyond the construction of lifts, are there other alternatives that HDB or MND is looking at that is more feasible and viable for residents? Beyond half a landing, or maybe one or two floors?" he asked.
Mr Lee said: "LUP is a huge programme. It covers 5,000 blocks with a budget of S$5 billion. So necessarily we have to set a financial cap on how much we can build and spend on each benefiting unit. This is so that we spend prudently and to maximise the budget. When this programme was being executed, initially we encountered about 1,000 blocks that are very difficult to deal with because of the way the flats are laid out and also because of the tight site constraints. But over time we found solutions, technical solutions to some of these blocks and we have managed to reduce the number to about 200 today.
"We will still continue to look for technical solutions that can be cost effective and still address the needs of the residents, but some of these technical solutions will take time to test whether they are feasible. But for residents with medical conditions and with severe handicap in the physical movement, let HDB know and we will see how best to assist them."
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