When upgrading of HDB estate goes wrong…

By May 7, 2018Current

TL;DR – And the follow-up ain’t much better.


It’s something that many HDB flat owners look forward to. After upgrading, the property values of the flats in the estate usually go up. But not all upgrading projects deliver the desired outcomes.

A recent article in the Chinese media site RedAnts detailed one such upgrading project that appeared to be very poorly thought through and implemented.

Project progress kept being delayed

During upgrading, the estate tends to get quite messy. Things get dug up, machines get left around. Worse, some times the project gets unnecessarily delayed.

In the article, the writer talked about one particular upgrading project. In that project, as with most others, there was a lot of digging, drilling, hacking. Then… nothing. The work site then appeared to be abandoned for months.

The reason?

The materials needed haven’t arrived yet.

The writer (rightly, I think) questioned – if the materials had not arrived, then why did they even start the work? Couldn’t they start work only when the materials were about to arrive? Didn’t the project coordinators know that any upgrading project would inconvenience residents? Couldn’t HDB have coordinated the project better and more efficiently?

The delay may be worth it if the finished products were of excellent quality that immensely improve the lives of residents. Alas, it was nothing like that.

Poorly designed playground

Take a look at this… ermm… playground.

Three slides… but… how to get up? (via)

This playground has three slides, but how are the kids supposed to get to the top of those slides?

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Ah… so there’s this so-called ladder…

The “ladder” (via)

Young kids find it difficult to climb up that ladder. That’s not all, according to the writer, the gap between the ladder and the platform is also too big, forcing kids to have to stretch. That is dangerous because kids can lose their footing and fall. As a result, kids who use the playground tend to just make their way up from the slides.

Given the poor design, it’s no wonder that not many kids play at this playground.

Useless study area

Before upgrading, there used to be people sleeping overnight on the benches at the void decks. To prevent that, and also to prevent unsavoury characters from gathering to drink and smoke at the void decks, the big tables and benches were removed.

In their place, study spaces meant for one person’s usage were constructed.

“Upgraded” study corner (via)

The writer pointed out that the table of the “study” corner is too small to be useful for students to do their work and for revision. The space of the table’s so small that its surface can be completely covered by spreading open a broadsheet newspaper (like Straits Times). If you were studying… a textbook and your bag are probably all you can fit on that table.

And then there’s the chair. The writer highlighted that it is very ergonomically designed. That is if it’s designed for people to sleep. You see that the back of the seat is reclining backwards, it’s low, and it is too far away from the table.

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How on earth do they expect students to actually use the study space, seriously?

Good for… sleeping? (via)

As a result of its terrible design, no one actually uses it to study. It’s a complete waste of effort and money.

Have covered porch? Will still get wet!

Then there’s the covered porch. It’s height of the shelter is double that of normal covered walkways. But it’s narrow, so narrow that it has space only for a car. So if it’s raining, a passenger alighting from a car that stops at the porch will most definitely get wet.

In fact, the writer pointed out, by the time you open the door, both the passenger and the inside of the car would already be wet.

Shelter that doesn’t provide enough shelter? (via)

One wonders why the shelter was built to be so high. Did the “designer” expect buses or lorries to stop there? Perhaps this “designer” should use the covered porch he/she designed when it’s raining heavily to know how useless his or her “design” is.

Town Council of no help

The writer, being the good citizen that he is, decided to provide feedback to the authorities. But who are the authorities? You would think it would be the Town Council, right? Well, you would be wrong.

The writer claimed that he had called the Town Council (hurhur, he said it’s not from the hammer camp…) to provide feedback. And the Town Council coldly responded:

“We aren’t in charge of the designs of the upgrading project.”

That’s all. There was no desire to in helping the writer get in touch with the relevant authority. And… you know… there are so many Town Councillors, so many grassroots committee members. But did anyone go to take a look at the upgrading project and given any feedback? No.

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And surely the Residents’ Committee members would also see all of these since they live there too, but did they say or do something? No.

The writer ended his article like this,

“Do not blame us for being cold to the society, we’re just following other people’s examples.”



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Author CRC

Working on a startup is a scary crazy process. To destress, I write random stuff.

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