Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Old Bay Window Rules Valid For 3 More Months

Source : The Business Times, September 23, 2008

Deadline extended as many projects are at advanced stage of design, says URA

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) will extend by three months the deadline for submission of provisional permission (PP) applications for new developments based on existing bay window and planter box guidelines.

URA said yesterday it has received feedback from developers that many projects are at an advanced stage of design using the old bay window and planter box guidelines.

The deadline for PP submissions was originally Oct 6 but developers asked for a longer grace period, URA said. The deadline has therefore been extended to Dec 31.

On July 7, URA announced that developers would have to include bay windows and planter boxes in total gross floor area (GFA) calculations. Previously they were exempt.

URA says bay windows are increasingly treated as internal floor space and few home owners use planter boxes for plants. The change in the guidelines is not expected to have a big impact on on-going projects. URA said that since the announcement there has been no 'spike' in PP submissions.

When the change was announced, the industry responded by saying that with no incentive to provide bay windows or planter boxes, buildings would start looking 'flat'.

But TID, which won the tender for a residential site next to Tanah Merah MRT station in September, said that despite the withdrawal of the GFA incentive, it has 'included bay windows and planter boxes in the design as it enhances livability'.

A spokesman for TID, a partnership between the Hong Leong Group and Japanese real estate company Mitsui Fudosan, said: 'With the extension of PP submission deadline, TID will have more time to finalise its proposal.'

Another aspect of the extension is that developers who priced in the GFA incentive when they bid for sites will now have more time to make submissions so their breakeven costs stay on track.

For a consortium led by Hoi Hup Realty, which won the tender for a Housing and Development Board Design, Build and Sell Scheme site at Lorong 1A Toa Payoh in August, submitting a PP application before the deadline could mean slightly lower prices for buyers. A Hoi Hup spokesman said launch prices could be 5-10 per cent lower than they would be without the GFA incentive.

URA is open to reviewing the new guidelines in a couple of years. 'The industry could possibly come up with innovative designs in response to the revised guidelines,' it said.

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