EASE Programme Expanded to Maximise Residential Property Safety in Singapore

EASE Programme Expanded to Maximise Residential Property Safety in Singapore

Singapore Residential property safety has long been one of the primary focus areas for the Singapore Housing and Development Board (HDB). The board has undertaken numerous initiatives to maximise safety and the EASE programme is one of them.

In December 2018, HDB announced an expansion of the programme aimed at even more effective residential property safety measures.

The Scope of the EASE Programme Expansion

Starting December 5, 2018, the HDB will be offering ramps for the residents who live in older flats that feature staircases and multi-step entrances.

The ramps will be provided under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme – a part of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP). The improvement items installed in a flat or a building through EASE aim to increase comfort and safety for senior residents and also – to enhance their mobility.

Before the new announcement, the EASE package consisted of three possible improvements.

The first one was the use of slip-resistant treatments on existing floor tiles. The scope of application is up to two bathrooms or toilets.

Another improvement under EASE is the installation of grab bars made available in a set of two varieties – one set of up to 10 grab bars to be used within one toilet or through the apartment and a second set of six grab bars for installation in a second toilet.

A final fixture under the programme was up to five ramps available for installation within a flat, as well as at the building’s main entrance.

EASE is a highly subsidised programme. Participants have to pay for only a small portion of the property improvement costs. Depending on the specifics of the flat and the applicant’s eligibility, the programme can cover up to 95 per cent of the residential renovation cost.

How Does the EASE Expansion Work?

More contemporary HDB flats are created with safety and senior mobility in mind.

Older residential properties constructed in the 1970s and 1980s, however, all feature multi-step entrances. A wheelchair-bound individual will find it virtually impossible to get in or out of the building without assistance.

According to HDB statistics, nearly 170,000 HDB flats in Singapore have multi-step entrances. The design is needed to ensure the privacy and the security of those living on the first floor. At the same time, however, it poses issues to those dealing with mobility challenges.

Under the EASE expansion, both a portable and a customised ramp will be made available. Both of these are suitable for installation in apartment buildings that feature a multi-step entrance.

Portable ramps are a good choice for the buildings that have a corner entrance, for example. The ramp can easily be dismantled and removed when it’s not being used.

Customised ramps are built to meet the configuration of the specific apartment building’s entrance. These are great for places that feature space constraints in front of the unit. Units located alongside corridors can also benefit from the installation of a customised ramp.

Terms and Conditions of the EASE Expansion

Those whose apartments are undergoing an HDB renovation under the HIP programme will be offered EASE improvements in conjunction. This is when the ramps can be installed for added convenience and speed.

If a flat renovation isn’t taking place under HIP, a direct EASE application can take place.

An application can be submitted via the programme’s e-service. By following the link, potential applicants will get more information about the documentation that will be required to qualify for EASE improvements financial assistance.

A functional assessment report has to be submitted during the application process for Singapore property owners whose household has at least one member aged between 60 and 64 and requiring assistance for one or more activities of daily living.

A qualified assessor has to endorse the report for it to be accepted by the HDB. The Singapore Medical Council is one example of such an entity that can act as a qualified assessor.

People over the age of 65 or property owners who live with at least one family member in that range can also apply for the programme expansion, if the senior citizen is a wheelchair user.

Once the application is received, the HDB will respond within seven business days. HDB staff members or an appointed contractor will get in touch with the property owner to discuss a possible installation date.

Usually, the entire process takes approximately a month (from applying to having the respective EASE item or fixture installed).

HDB has announced one final programme possibility that will apply to HDB buildings where a ramp cannot be installed.

A lightweight mechanical wheelchair lift that is suitable for HDB estates will be installed in such buildings under a separate pilot programme.

Keep in mind, however, that the lift is a lot costlier to install and it also requires professional maintenance. Thus, if a ramp solution is not feasible at all, a separate application outside of the EASE programme will be required.

For Singapore citizen households, the government will subsidise half of the lift’s cost. The balance and an annual service fee will have to be covered by the HDB apartment’s owner.

Making HDB residential spaces safer and more accessible for seniors does not have to be challenging or incredibly costly.

Partnering up with the right team will give you access to smart, cost-efficient solutions that can result in greater mobility, convenience and safety. For the purpose, however, you will need to partner up with a team that has a lot of experience with HDB renovations and the selection of tailored solutions for residential problems.

Home Guide is one such Singapore interior design team with a lot of experience in renovations and interior design of HDB apartments.

Over the years, we have renovated multiple HDB apartments to address the specific needs of the owner. We know what it takes to offer personalisation, safety and readily accessibility, and we have the appropriate licences to do so.

Contact us today if you would like to make your residential property much more senior citizen friendly.

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