Saturday, July 5, 2008

Step Up Scrutiny To Curb Illegal Renovations

Source : The Straits Times, July 03, 2008

I refer to last Friday's report, 'Illegal storey in house: Buyers lose case', about the couple who lost their case against the sellers of a 1 1/2-storey property.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) had informed the parties that the property had an illegal storey added to it.

This was a case that was in the making for a long time.

Innocent parties have wasted resources when they are not familiar with the building rules and regulations and believe that the property they are purchasing has duly complied with such regulations.

The illegal structure may not be a mere transgression of building rules - where a backyard shed is built right up to the rear perimeter wall.

Situations may arise where neighbours are so much nearer to you because walls and roof eaves are being built with less than the permitted distance set back from the boundaries of the property.

Or your property is now less private because your neighbour is looking down at you from his third-storey bedroom window.

If rectification work is required for these transgressions, it could be very costly.

In the last 10 years or so, there have been a lot of renovation work all over the island. I have seen many renovations or reconstruction of houses which do not seem to abide by BCA rules.

I believe this may be attributed first to inconsistent application of these rules by the regulators.

Second, too much reliance on certification by the architect/engineers who submit the building plans and endorse that the plans have conformed with all aspects of building regulations.

Third, too little groundwork by regulators to confirm that the actual construction adheres to these regulations.

As an example, in certain housing estates, properties can be redeveloped but the new structure should not exceed 2 1/2 storeys.

However, it is evident when you drive around the housing estates that several of these renovated structures are actually three-storey buildings.

No comments: