Make Building Inspection a Norm (Part 1)
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Make Building Inspection a Norm (Part 1)
Posted Date: Jun 01, 2008

Make Building Inspection a Norm (Part 1)

Is it the right time to purchase or invest in property? This is the most frequent question asked by investors and potential house buyers. However, how many will ask: “How should I ensure the quality of the product (property) that I purchased is fairly justified with the amount of money that I paid?”

Many people are paying thousands to engage a reliable property agent, a famous Feng Shui master, attending property investment courses, conducting detail surveys of the property and many more before making a decision to invest in the property market or buying a house. The process seems to have ended when the deal has been sealed and a signature has been signed on the dotted line. But has your right been fully protected after signing off the deal? Has the quality of the product been guaranteed and as per what you have seen in the “show unit”?

Signing off on the paper is just the beginning of the investment or the purchase. Throughout the construction period, nothing much can be done by the investors or house buyers except to cross our fingers in hopes that the project can be completed on time.  Finally, the handover stage is the most joyful moment for the investors as well as house buyers. However, don’t let the excitement blind your eyes. There are some rules of thumb that we should follow during the handing over stage:

Defects Inspection 

What shall we do after collecting the keys from the developer? Although there is a standard Defects Liability Period of 24 months (increased from the previous 18 months with the recent amendment to the Housing Development (Control & licensing) Regulations wef 1.12.2007), as a smart investor or house buyer, we should always inspect and submit the defects list to the developer prior to acceptance of the unit or carrying out any renovation. There is no such thing as a defect-free building constructed but only an ignorant and “defects-blind” investor or house buyer. Recently, there are more and more developers giving assurance of their quality of works by highlighting claims such as: “This project will be assessed by CONQUAS 21”. Does CONQUAS 21* or QLASSIC** (Quality Assessment System in Construction) guarantee the quality of the property purchased? If you don’t know how to carry out the inspection, an independent professional building surveyor or quality consultant shall be able to assist you in defects inspection and also quality compliance inspection. Remember, defects inspection is the most important process that you should never skip.

Submission of Defects Report

After defects inspection has been carried out, a defects list or defects report should be submitted to the developer. Within 30 days after submission of defects report, it is under the developer’s obligation to rectify and repair the defects submitted. However, in most cases, some developers may delay the rectification works intentionally or unintentionally. Should you find that the rectification works are unreasonably slow, a discussion and deadline shall then be given to the developer to prevent further delay and losses on the rectification works.

In the event that after 30 days after the defects report has been submitted but no action has been taken by the developer to rectify the defects, we can call up a quotation to rectify the defects detected. However, before rectification works are carried out, a written notice of fourteen (14) days shall be given to the developer as well as the S&P lawyer on the intention to rectify the defects.  

Defects Rectification 

According to the standard Sales & Purchase Agreement clauses, only defective material and shoddy workmanship are classified as “defects”. For example, chipping of the floor tile is classified as a defect in material, and misalignment of door is also classified as a defect as it is caused by shoddy workmanship. However, “design fault” is not classified as a defect. For instance, non provision of a drop between dry kitchen and wet kitchen shall not be identified as a defect as it is part of the design.

By understanding the definition of the defects, our rights can be protected by ensuring the defects are rectified to our satisfaction and according to the industry standard. A reasonable timeframe shall be given to the developer to carry out necessary rectification. However, a prolonged rectification period can be avoided by setting a deadline on the completion of the defect rectification.


Whether an investor or a house buyer, we should always ensure that the property we purchased has been constructed up to the value paid and according to the quality standard set by the industry. However, do you know the quality standard in construction industry? If you don’t, you are not ready to be a smart investor or house buyer yet. (In our next topic, we will explain quality standards in construction industry.)

*CONQUAS 21 – The Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) has been promoting the use of Construction Quality Assessment System or CONQUAS as the de facto national yardstick for measuring the workmanship quality of building projects.

**QLASSIC - Quality Assessment System in Construction (QLASSIC) adopted in Malaysia (as a Singapore equivalent) is a system or method to measure and evaluate the quality of workmanship of a construction work based on the relevant approved standard. QLASSIC enables the quality of workmanship between construction projects to be objectively compared through a scoring system.

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