SDB attributes Singapore FIABCI success to “Brand Manifesto”


Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB) recently flew the Malaysian flag high in Singapore when its Hijauan on Cavanagh development bagged the FIABCI Singapore Property Award 2017 for the Residential (Mid-Rise) category. This means that the development will now compete in the forthcoming FIABCI World Prix d’Excellence 2018.

SDB’s group managing director Ms Teh Lip Kim attributed the success of Hijauan on Cavanagh to its “Brand Manifesto”, a pledge to purchasers and stakeholders that the company would always “walk the talk” and deliver on its high and exacting standards.

Hijauan on Cavanagh comprises 41 residential units located in the prime and green tree-lined Cavanagh Road, and adjacent to the grounds of the Istana and just a short walk away to the shopping belt of Orchard Road and the Somerset MRT station. This development is cleverly blended with the lush surroundings and designed with subtle elements of art incorporated to bring to life its aesthetic elements. Each unit has a hand-tooled copper door which opens up into spatially planned homes with balconies to bring in the refreshing outdoors.

Teh Lip KimSDB’s “Brand Manifesto for living well and responsibly” is the company’s pledge to “walk the talk and do what we say we will,” said Ms Teh (pic).

This Manifesto was documented after years of practicing and instilling values, beliefs, principles, and responsibilities into the developments, the community and its employees.

The Manifesto lists seven points which the company not only believes, but also puts into practice such as “investing in our product, investing in our community, investing in our quality, investing in our customers, investing in our people, investing in our environmental sustainability and investing in our peace of mind.”

SDB’s investment in its products is rooted in its belief that every product it creates is meant to deliver an extraordinary living experience.

To this end, its approach is broken down into: “Design Thinking”, by delivering optimum and well-thought-out living solutions; quality aesthetics & environment, ensuring that more than 35% of its developments’ total acreage is dedicated to creating an artistically-designed landscape and creating an environment that complements the unique characteristics of each site;  and being future-focused, adopting a resident-centric approach that tailor-designs each environment to resonate better with the community in each of its developments.

SDB firmly believes that people are always stronger together. This forms its determination to invest in developing modern-day communities. “Every feature and every facility we put in is designed to enhance liveability, so that our residents can easily and conveniently engage with each other, and thrive from such engagements.”

Additionally, SDB engages with communities through various innovative Corporate Social Responsibility projects. For example, its Sungai Satu Programme (adjacent to SDB’s classy By the Sea project) in Batu Ferringhi, Penang has been recognised internationally; winning a silver in the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence award – the highest industry recognition – for the rehabilitation of a polluted river.

Thanks to this CSR commitment, SDB’s By the Sea development was not affected by the recent floods in Penang.

“Across our different developments, we organise family-centric activities to allow us to engage with our communities. We also work with organisations and people whose values match what we ourselves believe in; one of our projects with a social enterprise partner turns used cooking oil into candles and soaps.”

Ms Teh also emphasised that SDB also invests significantly into ensuring its products’ design and quality. In this light, SDB is committed to ensuring all its future developments achieve a CONQUAS rating of 75, and adopting technologies that enable the delivery of such quality; working with best-of-class experts and partners to ensure that every concept developed and every product delivered is in the best interests of its customers.

SDB also created the ‘SDB Centre of Excellence’, which houses its cumulative experiences and learning, both physically and digitally, in terms of product design and quality, as well as management of customer relationship issues.

Customer satisfaction of paramount importance

SDB’s customers’ satisfaction is of paramount importance to its business and key to its continued existence. “We understand and appreciate the financial and emotional investment that our customers put in every SDB home, and in turn, we invest in our customers too. It is vital that we demonstrate our integrity in not just delivering quality products, but also in standing by them for the long term. As such, we remain committed to our customers even after their purchase of an SDB home,” said Ms Teh.

Unusually for Malaysian property developers, SDB continues to manage nine of the 11 properties it has developed in the Klang Valley. “A lot of developers don’t want to manage their projects after completion. The bulk of the money comes from the sales of the units and management fees amount to very little compared to that. Well, we feel we know our products enough to take on the job, no one will know our developments better than us. It has become an extension of our brand and services.”

Through the upcoming ‘SDB HOST’ service, SDB will assist its customers with services covering renovation, sub-sale, tenancy, loyalty programmes, and handyman requirements, all of which are managed by dedicated property management teams. It has also created multiple feedback channels for customers to confidently reach out and engage with it constructively. These feedback channels, together with resident engagement activities and yearly resident dialogues, are tied to SDB’s customer satisfaction programme.

SDB is also aware that SDB’s employees play a significant role in its success. “At SDB, we want our people to feel excited and engaged about working with us; that’s why we are committed to investing in their success. Our aim is to create a fair and impartial workforce who feel inspired to deliver results, and who are strongly aligned to the aims of the business and our purpose,” she added.

To this end, SDB strives to build a performance-driven culture, with a dedicated team to monitor the progress of the company’s strategic plans and to ensure its people can achieve their targets based on clear KPIs and scorecards. It also has an equal-opportunity policy, inclusive of people with diverse backgrounds and the physically- and learning-challenged among both employees and in all community and social activities.

As a property developer, SDB is committed to practicing sustainability. “It isn’t just a millennial trend. We are fully aware of the consequences of our actions, especially on the environment. As such, we aim to exceed environmental sustainability standards as much as possible, in terms of our developments’ design efficiency, energy efficiency, ecological footprint, as well as our increased use of renewable resources,” added Ms Teh.

In coming up with the Brand Manifesto, SDB is cognisant of the need to provide its customers – many of whom are parents – with peace of mind. As such, it practises a holistic, pragmatic approach to security across all its developments, rigorously assessing all security firms before engaging any of them, providing comprehensive emergency response training to its guards, using its own in-house security supervisors to manage all outsourced personnel at site, and conduct no less than two security audits in a year.

SDB also incorporates earthquake-resistant specifications in most of its future developments regardless of location. “We were the first to adopt earthquake-resistant specifications (Eurocode 8) as standard practice in Malaysia, beginning with our Park Seven development and extending to most of our high-rise developments,” said Ms Teh.

The Brand Manifesto can be downloaded from SDB’s website here. As evidenced in the recognition SDB has received regionally and internationally, the Brand Manifesto is an initiative that other property developers could learn from.

SDB had previously won 5 FIABCI Malaysia Property Awards for its developments, namely Park Seven in Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), 20trees in Melawati in 2012, Dedaun in Jalan Ampang, and, as mentioned earlier, By The Sea in Batu Ferhinggi and an environmental award for the River Rehabilitation project on Sungai Satu, Batu Ferhinggi Penang.

These projects have then gone on to participate on a global level at the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence awards. SDB has since garnered 1 gold and 4 silver awards at this prestigious international competition.

FIABCI is the French acronym for ‘International Real Estate Federation’, which recognises excellence in real estate throughout the four corners of the world.