37 projects to receive BCA Universal Design Mark this year

More developments will receive the Universal Design Mark by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) this year. A total of 37 projects – including condominiums, shopping centres and even parks – were certified this year, to have a design philosophy which considers people of all ages and abilities.

This is up from 31 last year and 26 in 2013.

Some of the universal design features at Singapore’s largest private residential project d’Leedon include ramps to help wheelchair users and families with prams get around designated pedestrian footpaths at the carpark, as well as an additional view-finder at the main door of some units.

The 1,715-unit condominium also offers what it calls “ageing-in-place” provisions in some units. They include step-less entrances into bathrooms and help-call buttons, which allow elderly residents to send an alert to their family members in case of an emergency. All 312 units with such provisions have been sold.

CapitaLand Singapore’s design management manager, Phang Chin Ming, said: “We always aim to provide user-centric design to our home owners. We also have sustainable building guidelines, which strive to create all these principles of sustainable building and universal design in our developments.”

d’Leedon is one of the new buildings which received the Platinum Award – the highest honour in the BCA Universal Design Mark this year. The other two are the ITE Headquarters and the Westgate integrated development in Jurong East.

Other than new projects, existing ones like Causeway Point shopping mall were also recognised. The shopping mall in Woodlands, which opened more than 10 years ago, picked up the GoldPlus Mark.

Renovation works, completed in 2013, saw better signage, new toilets and even an intercom system at the mall’s entrance to help the visually-impaired get around.

Frasers Centrepoint Asset Management CEO Chew Tuan Chiong said: “We wanted to make sure that the shopping mall is not just a place for transactions. We know that people now have many channels to purchase things.

“It is also good for business to make sure that our environment is a place where people can spend quality time as a family, making friends – something they can look back upon, and look forward to visiting a mall.”

However, authorities have said some industry players are still hesitant to adopt universal design, held back by the extra costs and work.

Deputy Director at BCA’s Universal Design Department, Tan Jwu Yih, said: “Some of these developers may not see the business case in applying universal design. But we are trying to tell the developers and architects that by incorporating universal design concepts into their developments, they are actually catering to diverse needs of the population.

“So for instance, in shopping centres, if you design for everyone, you will actually get more patrons and clients to your developments.”

The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony on May 14.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 28 Apr 2015

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