DREAMHOUSE: NST RED talks to Joshua Kang, a surveyor who specialises in building inspection and construction quality assessment for new and old buildings
With his vast experience in Project Quality Control and Construction Quality Control Assessment System (CONQUAS 21), Joshua Kang Wee Leng has been invited by CIDB Malaysia (Construction Industry Development Board) as their technical committee member in preparing the Construction Industry Standard (CIS 7: 2006) in 2006. In 2010, he was recognised by the Building & Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) as their first Certified CONQUAS manager in Malaysia.
RED: What types of renovation works are most common in Malaysia?
Kang: Most people would do up their kitchen cabinet and wardrobe as well as extending their kitchen and car porch.
RED: What are the common things that can go wrong in renovation?
Kang: Sample materials shown are different or vary from the actual constructed; shoddy workmanship and poor quality of works; extension without proper engineer /local council approval; and wiring and plumbing works are carried out by unqualified or uncertified wireman/plumber. Non-testing has been carried out on works, for example, water proofing works where a water ponding test is required to confirm that there is no water leakage before installation of floor tiles, and etc.
RED: Why is renovation so popular in Malaysia?
Kang: The house is the single biggest investment for most Malaysians, so they are willing to spend to adapt it to their personal taste or functionality as well as for a better quality of life. Sometimes, it is also due to the poor quality of works delivered in respect of new houses from developers.
RED: What are your views on property design in Malaysia? Could it be improved so that less amount of work is required to renovate it before people move in?
Kang: The design nowadays is more contemporary compared with existing old houses. But as the size of houses gets smaller, people tend to renovate or extend the house. The design can be improved by providing better quality works, better finishing and maybe fully “extending” the building. Many of the existing houses with 5ft reserve land behind the building is “wasted”. If it is fully constructed or extended by the developer, then less renovation or extension will be carried out by the individual owner.
RED: As an expert in construction quality assessment, what is your view of the quality of most completed homes in Malaysia (both landed and strata)?
Kang: Generally, there is still room for quality improvement. In general, low and medium range of houses have yet to comply with the quality standard as stated in the Construction Industry Standard (CIS 7: 2006). Developers and contractors are still improving and may be “struggling” in meeting the quality standard set. Also, most house buyers are not aware about the quality standard that they deserve especially for those projects with CONQUAS 21 Certified or QLASSIC Certified as advertised by some developers.
RED: What is CONQUAS 21 and QLASSIC?
Kang: CONQUAS is the acronym of Construction Quality Assessment System. Meanwhile, QLASSIC is the acronym for Quality Assessment System in Construction. CONQUAS 21 originates from Singapore while QLASSIC is implemented by CIDB Malaysia. Both systems are an independent construction quality assessment system to evaluate and benchmark the construction quality of a project.
RED: When am I supposed to carry out building defects inspection?
Kang: You are recommended to carry out building defects inspection after taking possession of the newly completed house from the developer. Don’t ever rush the defects inspection with the developer’s representative. We have the full rights to carry out defects inspection and submit the defects list to the developer within the 24-month Defects Liability Period (DLP). Don’t commence any renovation before a proper defects inspection and report has been submitted. As for the subsale property, you are recommended to carry out the building condition survey before any concrete decision has been made on the purchase. The report will give you a better indication of the condition of the building and put you in a better position to negotiate with the owner on the pricing. It is also recommended to conduct a common areas inspection for a stratified property before the expiry date of the DLP.
RED: How much does it cost for a building inspection service?
Kang: The inspection fee is based on the location and built-up of the property. Normally, the inspection fee for a typical condominium unit is about a few hundred ringgit.
RED: What are the documents needed for the building inspection service?
Kang: We will need the owner’s details, floor plan and specifications for the inspection preparation. All these information can be obtained from the Sale & Purchase agreement.