november 2017 bto - woodleigh glen
video courtesy of HDB
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Frequently asked question (FAQ)
1. Shouldn’t the developer (public and private developers) have taken all the attributes into consideration when planning for the development? Like sun, wind etc?
The answer is Yes and No. Yes, in terms of macro planning and No, in terms of micro planning.
Macro planning refers to planning (as an example) the whole of Bidadari township, which consist of least 10,000 units all in. The architect/ planner will create blocks/ boxes to simulate the sun, wind etc to generate the best outcome (usually up to 75%) as they need to balance between cost of construction, return on development, views, safety, regulations and many more criteria. These blocks/ boxes are not the final floor plan or block plan which will be sold (in the brochures) to the end users as these simulations are just preliminary works to determine the baseline of the development.
Next will be micro planning. After all stakeholders agreed on the best solution (again, will not be 75% or more), then the plot of land will be carved out into smaller plots which generate at least 2,000 units each which we called a precinct and then sub-plots which consist of 500-1,000 units each. From here onwards, Architect will take over the work to design the unit layout, then the block layout which reflects the Masterplan original intention. Changes will and can be made during this stage to satisfy update URA, HDB, SCDF regulation, LTA, NEA, N-Parks requirements etc. At this stage, the analysis will still be done on sun, wind etc, but still on a block basis and not on each and every unit as this will take forever to find the right balance to push the product to the market. Even the best architect in the world will not get a good 60% or more units with excellence attributes. (Take a look at Zaha Hadid’s Ferrer Court D’Leedon, Moshe Safdie’s Bishan Sky Habitat, OMA’s Depot Road The Interlace or Daniel Liberskind’s Reflections at Keppel Bay, all with their own unique and mostly same problems)
In short, yes, there’s an analysis being done at planning level and no, it will never benefit each and every unit. Thus, each and every unit will have their own unique attributes which may be positive or negative attributes.
2. If all units are not equal in terms of attributes, why some stacks/ units have the same pricing?
Currently there’s no scientific mean to price a unit, thus the very inefficient market, which create price distortion/ manipulation and benefited the developers and agents. Non-landed property (high rise residential) is being priced loosely based on height, facing, location and premiums on selected attributes like swimming pool view, city view etc.
Higher level usually commands higher price point due to cost of vertical transport (lifts), structural loadings, mechanical and electrical services, etc. In some cases, for BTO pricing, there’s a discounted price for some higher floor due to a specific reason while the top 2 floors will mostly being priced the same (we have been actively explaining the reason behind this with data to all our paid users).
Take Alkaff Lakeview (Nov 2015 BTO) as an example, proposed Alkaff Lake to the north was made a marketing gimmick to home owners who is looking for ‘view’. The footnote does indicate that Alkaff Lake also serves as a stormwater retention pond. So, what does it mean by a stormwater retention pond? A stormwater retention pond was meant to serve as temporary excessive water collection point during heavy downpour before the water being channeled out through the main outlet. What if the main outlet was stuck or not able to perform its normal function? In this case, the water will stagnate in this ‘stormwater retention pond’ and if the source of water were tainted with waste, it will create foul smell and depending on the wind direction of the year, it may affect the unit which is facing it directly. To most readers, this maybe a bit too far fetch, then again, Orchard Road have suffered massive flood several times!
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An architect with 2 bachelor degrees. 15 years of industry related experience in Singapore, China and Malaysia. Designed for more than 10,000 units of completed residential property in Singapore, China and Malaysia including landed and non-landed alike. Designed for residential, healthcare, industrial and transportation oriented development (Finalist at World Architectural Festival 2014, Master planning; Won Singapore Institute of Planners Best Urban Design Project 2013). Completed projects including 1,010 units Punggol Topaz, Singapore, 2,290 units of landed and high-rise residential development in Xian, China, 4,236 units of high-rise residential development in Shenyang, China, 3,595 units of high-rise residential development in Chengdu, China and many more.