Tag Archives: Indonesia

Haze: Developers take precautions

Singapore’s property developers are closely monitoring the haze situation that has seen the city-state blanketed in smoke from forest fires in Indonesia for much of the week.

The Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached a record high of 401 at noon on Friday lunchtime – putting air quality in the city-state will into the “hazardous” range.

Chng Kiong Huat, Executive Director, Property Services, Far East Organization, told PropertyGuru: “In view of the poor air quality conditions, Far East Organization is working closely with our partner contractors to conduct thorough risk assessments of all on-going projects.

“We consider the health and safety of our construction partners an important priority and support all contingency and mitigation measures to protect the construction workforce from the unhealthy levels of pollutants rendered by the haze.

He added that possible measures being considered include issuance of protective masks and the imposition of stop work orders if the air quality persists at the very unhealthy level.

“Together with our partner contractors, we will continue to monitor the situation and implement the necessary safety measures as recommended,” he said.

A spokesperson for CapitaLand said: “CapitaLand is closely monitoring PSI readings to ensure that the health, safety and well-being of our staff, tenants, shoppers and serviced residence guests are safeguarded.

“The Group is making appropriate masks available to all its 1,960 staff in Singapore and has informed them of precautionary measures. Staff at all of our properties have also been briefed to advise our tenants, shoppers and guests on these precautionary measures.

“To ensure that the Group responds to such contingencies in a timely and effective manner, CapitaLand Group managers are empowered to assess and allow staff to work from home when the need arises.

“At our worksites, we have worked closely with our main contractors and sub-contractors and stepped up vigilance over workers’ health, safety and well-being. Besides briefings on precautionary measures, we are working with our contractors to ensure that appropriate masks are issued. We have also stopped work temporarily when visibility is affected and at some parts of our projects that are under construction.”

A spokesperson for City Developments Ltd (CDL) said: “In response to the worsening haze conditions, CDL has issued an Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) alert to all our builders to remind them to be vigilant and to comply with all advisories and guidelines issued by the relevant government agencies including the National Environment Agency and the Ministry of Manpower.

“The builders are to monitor the situation closely and must conduct risk assessments to take the necessary EHS measures to protect the welfare of their workers on the worksite which is a top priority.

“CDL employees have also been activated to keep a close surveillance on all worksites to monitor the situation.

CDL has advised all its builders to take appropriate protection measures which include the provision of masks, identification of more vulnerable employees, e.g. those with heart or lung problems, avoiding non critical outdoor works involving high physical effort, assessing the exposure of outdoor works depending on PSI level as well as implementing more rest rotations.

“With poorer visibility, there is also more safety monitoring onsite,” the spokesperson added,

A spokesperson for the Housing Development Board (HDB) confirmed that its contractors are required to abide by Ministry of Manpower guidelines. HDB is continuing to monitor the situation closely, the spokesperson added.

Source – PropertyGuty – 21 June 2013

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Haze: Property viewings cancelled

The on-going haze situation in Singapore is having a detrimental effect on the real estate industry, with many agents reporting cancelled viewings and a lack of new enquiries.

Agents contacted by PropertyGuru on Thursday and Friday also reported a signficantly low turnout of visitors at showflats, as the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reached a record high of 401 at noon of Friday lunchtime – classifying air quality in the city-state into the “hazardous” range.

Singapore has been blanketed by haze for most of the week as a result of forest fires in nearby Sumatra, Indonesia.

Evan Chung, Assistant Vice President of Resale Division for DTZ, told PropertyGuru: “Undeniably the haze has impacted viewings and show flat visits, however there are still a handful of clients who’ve chosen to defy the record high PSI and proceed with viewings.

“True enough, discussions through the viewings have proven that these are indeed a group of serious buyers, not wanting to miss out on a potential unit. Nonetheless, many came armed with N95 masks and an obvious disdain on the issue of transnational air pollution.”

Ella Sherman of Premiere Realty echoed the experiences of many agents over the past few days.

She said: “All my viewings scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled, and my phone hasn’t rung since the haze began. This makes me worry about paying my mortgage this month.”

Sherman added: “This terrible haze is negatively impacting business as well as health, and a cause of lots of worry. Undoubtedly it’s an environmental disaster and big setback for Singapore business.”

Jason Lim of Vestor Realty added: “I’m not sure if it’s because of the haze, but my phone has been silent since yesterday morning.”

Mohd Ismail, Chief Executive Officer of PropNex Realty, said that his company is constantly monitoring the situation.

He said: “Despite the poor air quality, I still see hardworking individuals, some with their face masks on, making their way to meet their clients. For most of us, we cannot afford for things to come to a standstill — business is as usual despite that hazy situation.

“As health risk increases, the number of people taking medical leave may increase; especially those with existing respiratory problems who may not be able to perform optimally as before. To counter this, we have advised our people to take extra care especially when they need to be outdoors for long periods of time.

“Whilst livelihoods of some may be affected, I believe that if we help one another, we will make it through this period. We have come a long way as a company, overcoming various challenges such as the SARS in 2003, the dengue outbreak, the economic crisis in 2008 and come what may; this haze is will be something that we can also overcome eventually.

“(We) will make necessary recommendations to our salespersons should the haze situation aggravate further,” added Ismail.

A spokesperson for Jones Lang LaSalle added: “We are closely monitoring the haze situation in Singapore. We have, and will continue to provide on-going guidance to our employees, clients and vendors in line with government recommendations.

“Whilst the PSI levels remain high we are advising our employees to avoid spending time outdoors, in accordance with official advice, and have made masks available to all of our staff in Singapore.

“We have advised our agency staff in Singapore that where possible property viewings should be postponed until the haze situation improves. The health and safety of our employees, clients and vendors is our number one priority and we are continuing to monitor PSI levels and follow official government recommendations.”

However, one agent specialising in re-sales reported almost no impact to his level of business, while another said a buyer had lowered his offer as a direct result of the haze.

Source – PropertyGuty – 21 June 2013