HDB Responds to Need for Flexible Flat Layouts in Singapore

HDB Responds to Need for Flexible Flat Layouts in Singapore

Due to increasing demand for better housing options in Singapore, the Housing Board is beginning to change the way it designs its flats. Instead of putting structural walls in the center of the flats, the HDB has developed new ways to ensure that necessary beams and columns are at the edges of the space. This way, residents will be able to remodel and reconfigure the space in a way that better suits their family’s lifestyle.

The Singapore Public Housing System

In Singapore, public housing is under the purview of the Housing and Development Board, or HDB. About 82% of Singapore residents live in these leased or owned flats, which are publicly developed and managed. There are a variety of flats available, most of them with 1-3 bedrooms. However, there are some flats with four bedrooms, called 3-Gen flats. Executive flats boast a higher level of design and feature extra floor space. The flat buildings stand within complexes that are like their own small towns, including shops, hawker centres, sports centres, clinics, and schools.

A New Era of Flexibility for Interior Design in Singapore

Over the years, the HDB has become increasingly flexible about the way it designs the flats, attempting to keep up with the modern demand for flexibility and open living space. In Skyville@Dawson, the project featured flexi layouts within the flats. Since the project worked so well, the HDB is pursuing additional buildings with the possibility for different home interior designs. One of these will be the Woodleigh Glen complex in Bidadari, a 1,000-unit project which should be finished in 2021.

The Need for Variable Layouts

In the past, the HDB flats all had structural walls and posts throughout the unit. This made it difficult for residents to renovate and change the layout, even if they were willing to pay for it themselves. The demand for changeable layouts has increased over the past couple of decades, as changing family dynamics make it necessary to have multi-use living spaces.

How the Flexi Layout Works

For the new style of flat, the HDB will put up walls and create a Build-to-Order (BTO) layout as requested by the incoming resident. However, not all of the interior walls will be essential to the structural safety of the unit. As much as possible, essential posts and beams will be erected at or near the edges of the flat. This way, if someone would like to experiment with a new home interior design in Singapore, he or she can do so.

Benefits of a Changeable Flat Layout

The new type of flat permits families to adjust their living quarters as their needs change. For example, if a new baby is born, a grandparent needs to move in, or the residents need extra space for an open floor plan, they can hire a company like Home Guide, a group that specialises in beautiful, modern interior design in Singapore. The design company can come in and create a new floorplan, knocking down current walls and erecting new ones as needed to reconfigure the space. Home Guide also installs feature walls, sleek flooring, lighting, and other design elements to help residents customise and personalise their homes.

The Commitment from the HDB

In the future, homeowners may have even more options, says architect Calvin Chua. He explains that the HDB may be able to provide 3D digital models of the flats so that residents can play around with customising the space to suit their needs. The HDB has promised to use “urban design solutions that are found to be technically feasible, cost-effective and well accepted by residents.” That’s good news for Singapore singles, couples, and families seeking modern housing solutions in a heavily populated city.

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