BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – More than 18,000 homeowners under the National Housing Scheme across Brunei have illegally  extended or renovated their homes, having failed to seek prior approval from the Ministry of Development.

Minister of development YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar on Tuesday said illegal extension works could affect the structural integrity of a particular building. He added that houses identified as unsafe will be asked to be demolished as stated in the Building Control Order 2014 so there is no compromise on safety.

Responding to YB Siti Rozaimeriyanty DSLJ Hj Abdul Rahman on the eighth day of the Legislative Council meeting,  the minister refuted claims that the ministry prevents National Housing Scheme homeowners from extending their homes.

“The Ministry does not prevent owners from extending — whether it is for residential, commercial or industrial — provided that applications are submitted and approved by the ministry,” he said.

Development Minister, YB Dato Hj Suhaimi, speaking at a Legislative Council meeting. Photo: Hazimul Wa’ie/The Scoop

Acknowledging the huge number of non-compliance, he noted that there is a need for families to extend their existing houses to accommodate their growing family.

Brunei-Muara recorded the highest number of illegal extension with 14,746 cases. Belait came second with 3,030 cases, followed by Tutong with 499 reports and Temburong with 352 reports.

The minister said for houses that do not comply with the guidelines, the ministry will review the extension works and will order for the homeowners to carry out further work as necessary in order to comply with the Building Control Order 2014.  

The National housing scheme is a public housing programmes that give opportunities to lower income group population to be able to afford quality housing.