Why Singapore buildings look perpetually new

By Nippon Paint / The Edge Property Malaysia | May 31, 2017 10:03 AM SGT
Mei (not her real name) had never given a second thought to her apartment block’s appearance until a visit from a Singaporean friend. The 10-storey high façade walls, which started out white, had turned so patchy and weather-beaten over the years that her friend could not help exclaiming: “Why hasn’t it been given a new coat of paint? You will never find this in Singapore!”
To Mei and Malaysians in general, such unsightly buildings are so common, even in the capital city, that they have grown indifferent to it. But the embarrassing encounter has made Mei wonder how the Little Red Dot has achieved such an impressive level of property sustainability.
A check with Dr Lim Lan Yuan, president of the 12th and 13th Council (2014-2018) for the Association of Property and Facility Managers (APFM) in Singapore, reveals that while both nations feature basically the same tenets in real estate — such as the stakeholders and their respective roles, governing laws, regulations and legislations, arbitration channels, property management professions, and even similar problems and challenges — the differences lie in the following:
1. Tighter enforcement of laws
The laws and regulations are identical, but what keeps Singapore spick and span is its push in implementation. A stricter control by the relevant authorities ensures that once any breach or mismanagement occurs, it is promptly rectified through enforcement. One such example is the collection of maintenance fees. Unlike Malaysia, it is not a serious problem across the causeway as the Management Corporations (MC) are empowered to eventually sell off the units concerned if arrears are not settled.
In dealing with errant developers, buyers of houses under construction are protected by the Housing Developers Act. In the Lion City, developers that continue to build poorly constructed houses will be queried by the authority and subsequently may be granted only non-sale licenses, which allow them to sell only when their properties are completed.
2. Rule on repainting
What has kept the Singaporean edifices looking impeccable was a requirement to have them repainted every five years, and this is now amended to not more than...