Various initiatives and projects have continued to emerge following the nation moving towards an endemic phase.
Among those highlighted early on by the former Minister of Development Dato Seri Setia Ir Awang Haji Suhaimi bin Haji Gafar were the initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Development (MoD) to ensure the country’s sustainability and resilient development.
At last year’s 18th Legislative Council session, the former minister announced that the Housing Development Department under the Ministry of Development (MoD) would carry out plans in building National Housing Schemes (RPN) either through National Development Plan (RKN) or using alternatives that lessen full reliance on government expenditure to provide more sustainable national housing.
According to the former minister, BND38.8 million with a cost plan of BND250 million was allocated under the RKN 11 for housing projects including 1,000 units of terrace houses at RPN Kampong Lugu and 750 houses at RPN Kampong Tanah Jambu Project starting in mid- 2022. Meanwhile, 245 out of 300 units (10 blocks) of H40 apartments in Kampong Lambak have been occupied.
This was backed by the smooth construction of the RPN which resumed in 2022 following the COVID-19 infections, as outlined by the former Minister of Development.
Construction of 1,000 units of houses for RPN Kampong Lugu is scheduled to be completed by early 2023, with another project involving construction of infrastructure for a nearby site where 86 hectares of land will accommodate around 500 to 600 housing units.
Other housing projects also resumed in 2022, including 750 units of terrace houses at the RPN Kampong Tanah Jambu Phase 7 which was reported in January last year as being under the tender assessment process and the upgrading project, and 140 units of terrace houses in RPN Kampong Rimba.
While government initiatives to help bolster property are in full effect, various parts of the private sector are also pitching in to provide opportunities to invest in the reemerging sector. In March 2022, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) concluded a virtual forum which discussed the country’s real estate and construction industry as a continuation of the 10-part ‘BIBD SME360 Series’.
The event saw discussions on the market challenges faced by industry players at the start of the outbreak of COVID-19 and during the transition phase. The panel of speakers included BIBD Head of Corporate Digital and Business Development from the Corporate Banking Group Haji Shamri bin Haji Mahali. “Home ownership is something that almost every Bruneian looks forward to and we at BIBD try to take the extra mile to help them realise their dream,” he said.
Despite the outbreak of COVID-19, property financing has been fairly stable and has not been directly impacted by the pandemic.
“However, external challenges caused by the pandemic such as delivery and completion time due to limited manpower as well as the rising cost of materials are causing home buyers and investors to put the idea on hold,” he said.
The panellists agreed that the local real estate market bodes well for homeowners despite the pandemic. Prices of properties are also expected to become more competitive and reasonable with better designs being offered to prospective buyers with the country’s growing population.
As part of the event, a forum titled ‘Brunei’s Construction Industry Challenges and Opportunities’ was also conducted where panelists discussed project delays caused by manpower issues due to restrictions and labour shortages. These issues were common and a major challenge in the pandemic, especially with the construction industry being reliant on foreign labours. However, this has also opened up opportunities for locals to step up and upskill themselves.
Similarly, another forum ‘Facilitation Management: Optimisation and Opportunities’ Critical Measures’ also highlighted that while the facilities management industry in Brunei is still in its infancy, there is a greater understanding and emphasis on the importance of facilities management that could play a role in ensuring the efficiency, quality and profitability of a business.
The final session focussed on ‘Impact and Sustainability’ in which speakers discussed the trend of eco-friendly business practices and emphasised that sustainability goes beyond design and materials but the overall lifestyle in general.
The speakers also called for full public support for the ‘Protokol Hijau’ or Green Protocol, to adopt and contribute significantly towards building a sustainable nation that is efficient in its waste management, carbon reduction, environmental conservation and restoration.
Situated along the scenic Kedayan River in the heart of Gadong, One Riverside is Brunei Darussalam’s first luxury residential and commercial development. The development is made up of 84 condominium units, with private courtyard gardens and a riverside promenade. Spacious and elegant, each apartment comes with three bedrooms, a study, a utility room and a kitchen. Residents have access to a private parking area on the first level.
Gadong and Kiulap are a five-minute drive away, with a pedestrian bridge connecting the promenade to Kiulap. This is ideal for those looking for a breezy stroll. Alternatively, one can ride a boat from the promenade to Gadong or Kiulap for a unique commuting experience.
Brunei’s premier supermarket, Supa Save, opened its fourth branch at One Riverside in 2019. The supermarket offers a wide range of gourmet and organic products from overseas, while the Supa Save Café offers popular local delights.
Patrons can also find popular eateries such as Excapade, Nanyang Food Garden, Margherita Pizzeria, Area 8, Twinkle Kids Café, Amsarra, Bloom Café, Chocolate Origins, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Brunei, Iskandar Curry House, Ximply Chriz and Kaizen Sushi at Riverside House. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy shopping at Run Trail Nation and Under Armour. There is also Bloom Project Co with beautifully designed bouquets and flower arrangements for all occasions.
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