Knock, knock! Any good developers
01/07/2004 Published in Malaysian Business
- Housing & Property By the National House Buyers Association of Malaysia
The qualities of good developers
is to be emulated, if you can find them.
THE housing industry has come a long
way since the advent of large scale housing development in the late fifties
and early sixties. The players in those times were bona fide entrepreneurs.
Most probably, conscience ruled and pride in workmanship, timely delivery of
quality and affordable houses were their hallmarks.
The present delivery system of `sell
then build' through progressive payments is fraught with risk for the unsuspecting
These second generation of housing
developers, good or bad, are used to lucrative environment in the housing industry.
This is so because the post-independence period has been a period of high population
and economic growth. Hence, the demand for housing is ever increasing. In a
sellers' market, the buyers are always disadvantaged. When greed is inversely
proportionate to conscience among industry players, the situation can get very
We often hear of developers lamenting
the fact that the shortage of workers (legal or illegal, skill or inexperienced),
shortage of building materials, complying with new laws or regulations making
it hard for them to complete their projects in time. At the same time, we also
hear of projects making profits of multi-million ringgits for the developers
and we do not see or hear news of housing developers retiring or quitting the
business entirely. This would mean that the housing development is still a lucrative
Enough on the bad ones, we at HBA
do keep our ears opened for the qualities of good developers to be emulated.
In the first place, how do buyers judge if their developers have been good?
The construction industry is a very unique field. It is one of a few professions
where no formal education is required. There is is no formal award giving ceremony
by buyers to tell the world their developers have been 'good' and responsible.
There are also some other things
the good developers do that prove they have a passion for their profession.
Here are some of the traits practised by good developers.
Attention to environment and existing
Good developers do not just depend
on their buyers to pass around the word of their reputation. No new project
is an island. There are existing neighbouring projects, trees, etc. A good developer
ensures the existing neighbourhood is not disturbed by their new development.
If there are complaints eg cracks, landslide, floods that the new construction
is causing to the existing neighbours, they are quickly attended to. They also
ensure that the existing roads are kept clean regularly from construction activities.
Amenities, facilities and infrastructure
Developers who provide adequate amenities
and facilities like playgrounds, schools, markets, community halls and even
police booths are not only fulfilling the obligations imposed by the local council
but also their social responsibilities to society. These developers are commendable
as good corporate citizens. It enhances their image too. There too are developers
who invest and build infrastructures first prior to selling their houses.
Takes pride in quality and timely
Whether low cost or high cost houses,
chasing the developer to rectify shocking defects, bad workmanship is a nightmare
to buyers who lose out while waiting for repair works. Good developers do their
own quality check before handing over their products. Caring developers do practise
the following before handing over their products.
Adopt quality check at all stages
of construction, test and commissioned utility supplies;
Clear and clean individual units
and construction site from construction debris;
Ensuring the Certificate of Fitness
for Occupation is timely with the handover;
Retain a team of competent workers
to do rectification promptly if there are complaints on defects.
Some developers even extend the mandatory
defects liability period of 18 months. We have also heard of developers providing
alternative lodgings for their buyers while waiting for defects to be corrected.
Time of the essence of the contract
of sale and purchase. Houses should be delivered within the time stipulated
in the sale and purchase agreement ie within 24 months for 'land and building'
and 36 months for 'building intended for subdivision'. If for whatever reason,
there are delays, compensation should be paid immediately to buyers without
second thoughts or finding devious ways to 'short change' the buyers.
Good developers keep their buyers
informed of delays and tell them of the next expected delivery date. Some buyers
even told us of the extras they have received at delivery time, which surely
endears them to the developers. These are some of the 'welcome packs' that they
have received: Useful gifts like key box; warranties from paint companies, auto-gates,
pest control, electrical appliances; certificates of treatment for termites
/ pest control; a copy of the Certificate of Fitness for Occupation issued by
the Local Council and certified as a copy of the original.
One clause in the sales contract
states that the buyers is responsible for late payment interest. It is a common
complaint by buyers that their developers would charge interest for late payment
even though it is the fault of the end-financier or their lawyers doing the
legal documentation. Good developers assist in ensuring that the documentations
are in order and the buyer is not burdened with any late payment interest.
Joint management (for subdivision)
Good developers assist their buyers
to form committees and be prepared for the formation of the management corporation.
These developers realise that the projects they have developed will eventually
pass to the owners to maintain and manage.
Encouraging community living
Developers who encourage forming
of resident/owners association are a welcome lot. Some even go to the extend
of contributing monies for the formulation of buyers representative group for
a meaningful channel to voice grievances. Some even provide meeting facilities
and allocate a multipurpose room for the elected representative group.
The line of communication should
always be open between buyers and their developers. It is obvious to do so for
the obvious reasons:
Keeping buyers informed of the
ongoing projects and their products;
Developers not to appear having
shun away from their responsibility;
Treating the buyers with respect
as buyers can serve as their marketing tool. Show respect and you will gain
Transparency and accountability
on monies collected;
Providing regular accounting reports
Voicing of any grievances rather
than through the media, which will bring adverse effect to the detriment of
Build first then sell
There is no step that can be more
pronounced than for housing developers to adopt the 'built first then sell'
so that potential buyers can see for themselves the finished product before
buying. We believe that in this way, most of the present day ailments afflicting
the housing industry can be avoided and the housing industry will be a lot more
There are good developers whose names
are synonymous with quality and trust. They are able to win over buyer's confidence.
Today, they have created their own brand names. No wonder some developers do
not advertise, yet all their units are sold-out even before the official launch.