Buildings Under Construction As Workers' Quarters FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are foreign workers currently allowed to be housed at construction sites?
Under the existing Building Control (Temporary Buildings) Regulations, foreign workers are allowed to stay in purpose-built worker’s quarters erected at construction sites.
- Why is there a need now to allow foreign workers to be housed in permanent buildings under construction?
To ease the shortage of foreign workers dormitories, other than the purpose-built housing on site, allowing workers to stay in the completed part of the permanent building under construction will give the builders more flexibility in housing their workers.
- How will foreign workers living in permanent buildings under construction be regulated?
A new set of Building Control (Use of Buildings under Construction as Workers’ Quarters) Regulations 2008 was published in the gazette on 16 Dec 2008, to be operational from 1 Jan 2009.
The provisions of the new regulations will ensure that the completed part of the building is structurally safe for them to live in and a minimum standard of comfort is provided.
- Is this a new policy since a separate set of regulations is set out?
This is merely an extension of the existing practice. It is not a new policy as purpose-built workers’ quarters at construction sites are already allowed under the Building Control (Temporary Buildings) Regulations.
As the Building Control (Temporary Buildings) Regulations only deals with temporary buildings (which will eventually be demolished or removed), a separate set of regulations is required to facilitate these workers to be housed in completed parts of these permanent buildings under construction.
- Are there any benefits for the builders/workers in allowing workers’ quarters in the completed part of the building under construction?
This will help ease the problem of shortage of workers’ dormitories. In addition, housing workers at site eliminates travelling time for workers.
- Does the building owner need to give consent?
This will depend on the contractual arrangement between the builder and the owner.
For example, some building owners may require the builders to apply for permission to house the workers in a permanent building under construction.
- Can workers who are not involved in the construction of the building stay there? How is the government going to ensure that only the workers directly involved in the construction of the building stay there?
No. Only workers directly involved in the construction of the building are allowed to stay there.
The new Regulations specifies that the use of parts of permanent building under construction as workers’ quarters should be for workers directly involved in the construction of that building.
Builders should ensure that this is adhered to. BCA may also conduct random checks, where necessary.
- How soon must they vacate the workers’ quarters in the building under construction?
The builder must clear up the workers’ quarters in the permanent building before BCA conducts the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) inspection for the completed building.
- To what extent must the surrounding areas under construction be ready so that workers can live in the building under construction? Is it dangerous since the building is still not fully completed?
Provision has been made in the new Regulations to ensure that the portion of the building used for workers’ quarter is structurally safe for occupation, in particular, the floors immediately above and on which the workers’ quarters are to be located, and their supporting columns, have been constructed in accordance with the approved structural plans of the building.
In addition, the builder will have to ensure compliance with fire safety and public health requirements under Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD) and National Environmental Agency (NEA).
- Where can builders obtain the set of National Environment Agency's guidelines?
National Environment Agency’s existing guidelines stipulated in sections 2 and 8 of the Code of Practice on Environmental Health (COPEH) and the provision of sanitary facilities will apply. Builders may view the guidelines here.
- Where can builders obtain the set of Fire Safety and Shelter Department guidelines?
The fire safety guidelines were circulated by Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD), Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on 15 Dec 2008. Builders can access the guidelines here.