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22nd December 2014

Singapore Real Estate

6 in 10 BTO flat buyers opt for open kitchens

Source: Straits Times / Singapore

INTERIOR designer Jolland Lee, 57, has taken a fancy to the spacious look of open kitchens, having designed many of them for HDB flat owners over the years.

That is why he was happy to be given the option of not having a kitchen partition wall built in his new flat in Yishun.

Mr Lee, who applied for a five-room flat in July this year, is among many flat buyers who are choosing an open-kitchen option offered by the Housing Board.

Having an open kitchen will give his family more living-room space, he said.

About six in 10 flat buyers in 30 Build-To-Order (BTO) projects over the past year have requested their homes to come without kitchen partition walls, said the HDB.

An HDB spokesman said it has offered the open-kitchen option since September last year to give families more flexibility in designing their flats.

"This option also saves home buyers the hassle and cost of hacking down the walls if they prefer an open-kitchen layout," said the spokesman.

Flat owners said they can save about $400 from hacking down the wall to create an open kitchen. It would also take contractors about about four to five days to hack down the wall.

Another flat owner who opted for the open-kitchen option is finance executive Ben Chia, 30. He plans to have an island table in the kitchen of his five-room flat in Teck Ghee, in Ang Mo Kio.

"The open-kitchen concept suits our lifestyle. My wife and I cook healthy meals. So we are less concerned about oil and smell travelling to the other parts of our home," he said.

The HDB piloted the open-kitchen option in its September 2012 BTO project Teck Ghee Parkview. About 70 per cent of flat buyers in the project took up the option, and the first batch of flats will be ready in the first quarter of 2017.

The open-kitchen option is part of the Optional Component Scheme, introduced by the HDB in 1989 to allow flat buyers to customise their homes to suit their needs.

The scheme has been expanded over the years and offers different options for flooring, doors and sanitary fittings.

-By Amelia Tan

Open kitchen concept gaining popularity among HDB BTO buyers

Figures from HDB showed 60 per cent of build-to-order (BTO) flat buyers opted not to have a kitchen partition wall, if they had a choice.

Source: Channel News Asia / Singapore

SINGAPORE: "Open kitchens" have appeared to be the preferred option among buyers of new Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartments.

HDB figures showed 60 per cent of build-to-order (BTO) flat buyers opted not to have a kitchen partition wall when given a choice. One reason cited was that people do not cook as much as before, and households with less use for a kitchen can put the space to better use.

The option to have an open kitchen was piloted during a BTO exercise at Teck Ghee Parkview in September 2012. Around 70 per cent of home buyers chose the open kitchen concept at that time.

The choice of whether or not to have a wall separating the kitchen from the rest of the flat comes under HDB's Optional Component Scheme (OCS) - introduced in 1989 to give flat buyers more options when customising their homes.

Kelvin Tan, co-founder and interior designer at Celsius Ink, said such options help new home owners save money.

"Without the open kitchen concept, they have to knock down walls, remove tiles, and a lot of submissions are required in order for them to achieve this new design,” he said. “With the savings, if this option is provided, they're able to use their funds in some other areas for renovation.” 

Alvin Chan, managing director of i.Haven Design Consultants, said: "I think you can save a good amount of money, because if you're talking about hacking, on a high price side, you're looking at anywhere between $400 and $500. Touching up might cost you about $300 to $400 if it is a big wall. Easily, you can save up to $700 or $800."

The first batch of flats offering the open concept kitchen are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017. 

- CNA/xq/ir

Open kitchen concept popular with BTO buyers

Source: Today Online / Singapore

SINGAPORE — More than half of Build-to-Order (BTO) flat buyers have opted for an open kitchen concept since the Housing and Development Board (HDB) started offering such a choice in September last year.

As of Oct 31, six of 10 BTO buyers who have selected a unit chose the feature, the HDB said. So far, this option has been offered in 30 BTO projects.

The choice of whether to have a kitchen partition wall was first offered to buyers under the expanded Optional Component Scheme last year. 

Teck Ghee Parkview, at Block 455A to Block 455C on Ang Mo Kio Street 44, was the first to offer the option in the September 2012 BTO exercise. It received a positive response, with about 70 per cent of home buyers opting for an open kitchen. The first batches of such flats are expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.

The HDB said it offered the open kitchen option to provide home buyers greater flexibility in terms of layout and design to suit their lifestyle needs. 

Mr Steven Chua, who selected his flat at Toa Payoh Apex in July, chose to have an open kitchen. “Visually, it makes my flat look more spacious,” said the unemployed 37-year-old. 

Mr Kelvin Tan, co-founder and interior designer at Celsius Ink, said such options help new home owners save money. 

“Without (this option), they have to knock down walls and remove tiles, and a lot of submissions are required in order for them to achieve this new design,” he said. “With the savings, they’re able to use their funds in some other areas for renovation.”


-By Amanda Lee

Global Economy & Global Real Estate

Johor reclamation project sparks concerns again

Source: Straits Times / Asia 

PONTIAN (Malaysia) - A proposed land reclamation project in the Johor Strait has once again raised environmental concerns, even as a Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIA) report on it was released by the Pontian authorities last month.

The project to create a 1,411ha island, known as the Tanjung Piai Maritime Industrial Park, is one of two massive land reclamation projects in the south-western end of Malaysia's Johor state which have previously sparked concerns among environmentalists.

The other project, a 2,000ha proposed island, near the Second Link Bridge connecting Johor to Singapore, is known as Forest City.

A Straits Times report in June quoted the company involved in the Tanjung Piai project, Benalec Holdings, as saying reclamation is expected to begin before the end of this year, and oil storage facilities would be built once the island is completed.

Pekan Nanas assemblyman Yeo Tung Siong of the opposition Democratic Action Party raised concerns at a press conference over whether Tanjung Piai will become another Pengerang, reported the Sin Chew Daily last Saturday.

He was referring to a US$16 billion (S$21 billion) project on the south-eastern side of Johor, in Pengerang, called the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (Rapid), which activists have said would harm the environment and affect the livelihoods of fishermen. Previous media reports said this project is part of the Malaysian government's plan to capture some of the global energy business from Singapore.

Benalec is also involved in the reclamation works to extend the shoreline of the Rapid project.

As for the Tanjung Piai project, Mr Yeo raised fears that the proposed oil storage facility, which is less than 1km away from Tanjung Piai's mangrove forests and about 10km away from Kukup fishing village, will bring irreparable damage to the forests and fishing grounds in the area.

The facility will attract large oil bunkers, leading to the possibility of oil spills that will have a serious impact on the water quality.

Many fish farms and resort operators are likely to be affected too, added Mr Yeo.

Already, he said, close to 90 per cent of local residents are against two other major development projects in the area, a power plant in Tanjung Bin and a port in Tanjung Pelepas.

According to the DEIA report, 51.2 per cent of residents polled have voiced opposition to the Tanjung Piai project. Mr Yeo cited this as a reason that he is gathering at least 50 signatures for a petition which he will submit to the Environment Ministry on Friday.

-By Kua Yu-Lin

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Source: Business Times / Real Estate

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