Singapore

Contractors apply to house workers on site to resume business faster

While more dorms will be built in the coming months, contractors anxious to resume business have taken the initiative to apply to build temporary quarters for their workers on work sites.

Some 25,000 bed spaces for such construction temporary quarters (CTQs) have been approved, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of National Development (MND) said in response to queries from The Straits Times.

The ministries also said another 25,000 beds in Quick Build Dormitories (QBDs) are in the pipeline to reduce the density of workers in dorms. Such QBDs are semi-permanent and last for two to three years.

But new standards and specifications for QBDs are still being discussed with stakeholders, such as dorm operators and health experts, said MOM and MND, adding that more consultations will be held next month.

Last month, it was reported that QBDs will have no more than 10 beds per room, with only single-deck beds and a space of 1m between them.

Not more than five people will share a toilet, bathroom and sink, compared with 15 people currently. Each resident will have 6 sq m of living space, compared with 4.5 sq m now.

MOM and MND said early feedback from some dormitory operators suggests they are "generally supportive" of capping the number of workers per room and increasing the living space per resident, to help reduce the extent of transmission during a disease outbreak.

The ministries also said slight variations on some of these proposed changes to configurations could first be tested in select QBDs.

As for CTQs, MOM's website specifies they are allowed to house a maximum of 300 people each, though appeals can be made for higher occupancy.

There are two types of CTQs. The first are quarters located within an uncompleted permanent building still under construction. These are allowed to house only foreign workers in the construction sector.

The second are standalone, temporary quarters within the construction project site that will eventually be removed. They are to house only foreign construction workers engaged at that particular site.

Requirements from various government agencies need to be met before such quarters are allowed to be built as housing for workers. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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