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Homeowners can expect further renovation delays

Despite the governmentโ€™s announcement that renovations works can resume after 1 June, renovation firms advise customers not expect works to be carried out like before circuit breaker was implemented.

Many renovation works was put on hold when the circuit breaker kicked in on 7 April 2020. Renovation firms hope that customers understand that factories resources might be lacking and that it will lead to some delay. Much like other homeowners, we understand most homeowners are waiting for an update coming from their respective renovation firms.

(Photo Credit: Carpenters )

Several renovation firms are also facing labour crunch, given that some of their workers returned to Malaysia and may not be able to return back to Singapore in time due to a Movement Control Order (MCO) imposed by the Malaysian government and stringent approval from MOM to enter Singapore to work as their jobs are not considered under essential workers. Should the approval to enter Singapore is given, the workers have to serve quarantine in Singapore for 14 days before resuming work.

(Photo Credit:ย Straits Times)

Renovation firms expect continued delays as they have to meet stringent measures put in place by authorities before work can resume.

The resumption of works would require not only coordination from the various parties involved, but also their cooperation to follow a strict schedule to avoid deploying workers across different projects.

All companies that intend to restart have to seek approval from BCA and show documents such as providing all information of the workers involved in the projects and contractual agreements with home owners. Submitting paperwork to BCA and HDB could take up to one to two weeks,

The renovation firms can only apply for their respective in-house factories and workers. As for sub-contractors and suppliers for materials, these respective workers have to apply via their own respective companies to be approved by the BCA and the renovation firms would not be able to be involved in assisting the approval.

(Photo Credit:ย BCA)

Approval will be granted only when companies show they can comply with the set of safe management guidelines, which include sending workers for swab tests and training to ensure familiarity with Covid-safe measures, which also includes COVID-Safe Training online courses for workers too.

This is set to followed by the need to roll out measures such as setting up QR (quick response) codes for contact-tracing at every worksite, having only one sub-contractor at a worksite at any time.

(photo credit: Canva)

About 80 per cent of workers in the renovation industry are Malaysians, the majority of whom are now in Malaysia, said Mr Sky Tan, president of the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association.

The contractors are also coordinating with one another by getting certain carpentry work such as cupboards done by workers in Malaysia, then hiring a truck driver to pick them up and deliver them to Singapore and will then find someone available here to do the installation for different projects.

Such arrangements could raise costs, especially when work needs to be carried out off-site in factories, before moving the materials to the worksites.

Delays from tile, sand and cement suppliers could also extend the waiting time for home owners.

According to suppliers, tile shops still have to remain closed during Phase 1 after the exit of the circuit breaker. Sand and cement suppliers are having problems importing their materials because of Malaysiaโ€™s movement control order.

The low stock could cause prices of materials to go up and incur additional fees.

(photo credit: TNP FILE PHOTO)

Some sub-contractors might also have to return to worksites repeatedly if the work is not up to scratch, which will drive up costs and worsen delays.

Rising costs brought on by the stringent measures could also be a challenge to the renovation industry where profit margins are already thin.

Even if the projects are given the green light, the next challenge is securing enough workers to handle the large number of projects.

In this industry, every aspect of works, from carpentry and window works to painting and plastering, is done by different professionals. Such example like if there is 50 projects to be completed yet there is a shortage of manpower, it would face a challenge to complete the project in stipulated time.

Nevertheless, renovation firms will prepare to start work with all the necessary safety measures in place, including temperature taking, installing the TraceTogether app and marking out 1m safe distancing across sites after the approval of BCA to resume approved sites.

Reference:ย https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/workers-companies-are-short-of-manpower-workers-miss-their-loved-ones

Reference:ย https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/coronavirus-further-renovation-delays-for-home-owners-as-contractors-face-labour-shortage

Reference:ย https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/renovation-delays-homeowners-circuit-breaker-labour-shortage-12793478

Reference:ย https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/homeowners-brace-themselves-further-renovation-delays-contractors-face-labour-crunch

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Jason Fang

With a certificate in interior design from NAFA and over 7 years of experience is a senior design consultant at Carpenters who strives to exceed his client's expectations with innovative and functional design solutions.