Modern toilets, better tiles among upgrades for new BTO flats

New Build-to-Order (BTO) flats sold from February onwards will include higher-quality furnishings, such as more water-efficient toilets and tougher porcelain tiles, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said on Wednesday (Jun 5).

These changes are part of efforts to make new flats more modern and to bring standards closer to mass market condominiums, it added.

Speaking at a media briefing, HDB’s deputy director of project development and management Jansen Foo said the prices of the new flats are not going to increase because of the upgrades.

“There is a marginal cost increase, but for HDB, we are able to achieve economies of scale, so all cost involved will be absorbed by HDB,” Mr Foo added.

“The pricing of new flats will not be affected by these changes.”

“The layouts of HDB flats have also evolved from simple and functional rectangular corridor-facing units, to layouts that afford more generous views, natural ventilation and light while providing greater privacy to residents,” HDB said in a media factsheet.


The upgrades to the flats are durable and eco-friendly and were introduced to suit residents, HDB added.

New toilets will come fitted with low-capacity dual flushes, with a wider range of contemporary designs so home owners have options.

All taps will at least have a rating of “Very Good” under national water agency PUB’s Water Efficient Labelling Scheme.

Mr Foo said: “We now use better quality sanitary fittings and they look (sleeker) and more contemporary.”

Top-hung single panel windows will replace wired-glass louvred windows in kitchens and toilets, making them more durable and easier to clean.


Thresholds between the bathroom and living room and thresholds between the kitchen and service yard will be changed from ramps to a 20mm drop.

This is in response to feedback from home owners that ramps often cause water to seep out from the toilets and kitchens into other rooms.

The flats will still be accessible to wheelchair users, HDB said.

Existing ceramic tiles will be replaced with glazed porcelain tiles, which are less vulnerable to wear and tear.

Bathroom and kitchen tiles are also becoming bigger, with bathroom tiles going from 30cm by 30cm to 30cm by 60cm, and kitchen tiles going from 30cm by 60cm to 60cm by 60cm.

“The use of new fittings will help to save about 15 per cent of man-hours spent for fittings per dwelling unit,” Mr Foo said.

“The time saving is mainly due to the reduced reliance on manual processes. This includes reducing the number of tiles required to be cut and installed and the doing away of the construction of ramps at the thresholds.”

Floor traps in bathrooms and kitchens will be replaced by concealed floor traps, which are also more durable than the previous unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (uPVC) floor traps.


Mr Foo said the range of fittings provided for the new flats will give it a more modern look. That includes enhancements to entrance gates and windows for ease of maintenance and use.

Thumb-turn knobs will be placed on the inside of steel entrance gates, so that home owners will not have to use a key to unlock their house from the inside.

The gates and doors will also come in more modern designs to fit the newer look of the flats.

Mr Foo said that HDB had modified the design of their flats according to feedback from home owners.
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“The changes were brought about due to feedback that we received from our residents and also future needs of our residents as well. We took that into consideration for the changes that we established,” he added.

HDB said it sought to provide homes that residents “can be proud of” through thoughtful planning and purposeful designs.

“Over the years, the designs and fittings of HDB flats have evolved from the simple and functional furnishings in the 1960s, to higher quality furnishings which are sleek, durable and eco-friendly to suit the different needs of residents,” the board added.

Source: CNA – 5 Jun 2019

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