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Published: Sunday December 8, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday December 8, 2013 MYT 7:20:29 AM

Encourage developers to conserve heritage sites

DEVELOPMENT which has to incorporate the conservation of a heritage site will likely incur extra cost, says the Real Estate and Housing Developers Association Malaysia (Rehda).

“I’ll almost say for certain there will be extra cost, as there will be constraints on the working area,” says Rehda president Datuk Seri Michael Yam.

“You need adequate protection for the antiquity or heritage building on the development site, and it might mean tighter working space. You might have to consider a safety buffer, for example, and that will mean more effort than working on a greenfield project.”

He adds that while there have been many examples of development and conservation working together, it still has to be viewed on a case-by-case basis.

“If you have a big piece of land, then you might be able to build around it (the heritage site), or somehow work to accommodate it within your development. But if the piece of land in question is very tight or small, then it might be quite a challenge and it may not work,” he says.

Yam says the industry would certainly appreciate some encouragement from the government and authorities to encourage the big players into conserving heritage sites.

“If we have a big developer who has a piece of land with a heritage site on it, it is definitely going to cost him more to include the conservation of that site. It would be good if the authorities could say ‘Okay, consider this your CSR (corporate social responsibility) project, and for your next development, to compensate you, we will give you additional plot ratio, or waive certain charges’,” he says.

“These are some ways which could lure the bigger corporations into rejuvenating heritage sites. I’m only talking about the big developers, because they are the ones who have access to the whole ecosystem (of architects and engineers with the expertise to do so).”

As for developers who are keen to go down this route, Yam says there are also best practices and methods available in adapting development to include conserving a heritage site.

“Architectural planning wise, there are some famous architects who specialise in this area. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” he says. — By LISA GOH

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Heritage; Development


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