About 63 per cent of the Covid-19 pandemic-delayed Build-To-Order (BTO) projects were successfully delivered by HDB in March, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a Facebook post.

This represents a total of 58 projects completed in the last two years, including the Keat Hong Verge project in Choa Chu Kang, which was completed in March.

Waiting time for Keat Hong Verge was about two years

Keat Hong Verge BTO Waiting Time: 2 Years Only

Mr Lee said the waiting time for Keat Hong Verge was about two years, adding that it was the first BTO project delivered without delays since the Covid-19 circuit breaker in 2020.

HDB completed seven projects in March – the highest number in a month since 2017, and more than the average of one to two completions monthly, he added.

Marsiling Grove BTO's waiting time was affected by the liquidation of the previous main contractor, Greatearth
Marsiling Grove BTO’s waiting time was affected by the liquidation of the previous main contractor, Greatearth

Delays in BTO projects due to liquidation

Another of the completed projects is Marsiling Grove in Woodlands, which was affected by the liquidation of the previous main contractor, Greatearth.

Greatearth was also the main contractor for Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok, Senja Heights and Senja Ridges in Bukit Panjang, and West Coast Parkview in Clementi. Work at the sites stopped in August 2021 when the company said it was unable to continue doing business owing to its liabilities.

“It was not easy, but through the concerted efforts of HDB colleagues and contractors, we managed to deliver the project according to committed timelines, without compromising on safety and quality,” Mr Lee said.

He added that the last of Greatearth’s projects, West Coast Parkview, is on track to be delivered in the third quarter of 2023.

Covid-19 Delayed projects: Completed in 2 years

“We are turning the corner on addressing pandemic-induced delays to our public housing building programme,” said Mr Lee.

“We are grateful for the patience and understanding of home buyers as we look to complete all remaining delayed projects in about two years’ time.”

Earlier this year, HDB said the proportion of delayed BTO projects had fallen from more than 90 per cent in 2021 on the back of the improving Covid-19 and migrant manpower situation, as well as government support for the construction industry.

In 2022, HDB completed more than 20,000 flats. The same year, it issued more than 17,000 sets of keys to buyers, a 15 per cent increase from the year before.

Shorter BTO waiting time: From 2024

Mr Lee had previously said HDB is on track to launch up to 100,000 flats between 2021 and 2025. Part of that includes launching more BTO flats with shorter waiting times of less than three years from 2024 onwards. Around 2,000 to 3,000 of such flats will be rolled out each year by 2025, similar to pre-pandemic levels.

This story first appeared in The Straits Times.