Sent to Forum Page, Straits Times
I recently looked at the cost of renovating a small office of 1,300 sq ft and was shocked to receive several quotations exceeding $70,000, in spite of my modest requirements. This shows how costly it is to operate a business in Singapore.
Included in the cost is a sum of $3,500 to obtain the approval of the authority for fire safety. I learned later that this is the fee payable to professionals to certify the safety of the renovation. This same fee is charged for a small premise as well as a large premise of 10,000 sq ft.
It does not make sense to impose such a costly requirement for a small premise. I suggest that renovation of small premises should be exempted from the need to get the certification of a professional. Perhaps this certification should only be required in exceptional cases where the premises have activities that could impose a danger to fire safety.
Over the years, I have heard many complaints from small enterprises about the high cost of operating a business in Singapore. Several initiatives were taken to address these complaints. I am surprised to learn now that these initiatives did not seem to address this regulation, which seemed to be unnecessarily costly.
Tan Kin Lian
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