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Improved Standards For New Migrant Worker Dormitories To Strengthen Public Health Resilience And Enhance Liveability

  1. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Ministry of National Development (MND) and Ministry of Health (MOH) have developed improved standards for new migrant worker dormitories to strengthen resilience against future pandemics and enhance liveability. The new standards will apply to all new dormitories1, including Purpose-Built Dormitories (PBDs), Factory-Converted Dormitories (FCDs), Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQs) and Temporary Occupation Licence Quarters (TOLQs).
  2. The Government has conducted a comprehensive review of existing dormitory standards in consultation with public health and infectious diseases experts, taking reference from local and international standards. A set of standards was piloted at the Quick Build Dormitories (QBDs)2. These standards were subsequently refined, based on our experiences with the QBDs and in managing the COVID-19 outbreak in the dormitories. The review also took into consideration the feedback from stakeholders including employers, dormitory operators, migrant workers, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and architects.

    Improved standards for new dormitories

  3. The improved standards will reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases in dormitories by:
    • Reducing intermixing amongst dormitory residents by modularising dormitory living and segmenting communal facilities (e.g. cooking, dining and laundry facilities). Examples include: Room occupancy capped to 12 residents, en-suite toilets, and segmentation of communal facilities for dedicated use by 120 residents per section.
    • Improving ventilation of dormitory rooms and toilets to reduce virus accumulation within enclosed areas. Examples include: Requiring at least one exhaust fan per toilet and adequate number of fans in dormitory rooms to ensure sufficient air circulation.
    • Facilitating early detection and quick isolation of unwell residents. Examples include: Increased isolation facility capacity and requirements to facilitate wastewater surveillance.
  4. The standards will also enhance liveability for dormitory residents. Residents will have more spacious rooms (at least 4.2sqm living space per resident) and in-room Wi-Fi coverage to allow them to communicate with their families and friends.
  5. The improved standards will complement existing safeguards such as enhanced Safe Living and Safe Working Measures at dormitories and worksites, including the implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, and the multi-layered strategy to detect, isolate and contain outbreaks. A longer-term medical support plan is also being developed to ensure migrant workers have access to comprehensive and timely primary care. 
  6. The key changes in the improved standards are summarised in Table 1 below. Please refer to Annex A for more details on the key improved standards.




    Occupancy per room

    No maximum residents per room. In practice, 12 to 16 residents per room.


    No requirement for spacing between beds, mostly double-decker beds


    ≤ 12 residents per room


    ≥ 1 meter spacing between beds, double-decker beds allowed


    Occupancy per floor

    ≤ 240 residents

    ≤ 240 residents, capable of being divided into self-contained sections of 120 residents


    Communal facilities (e.g. cooking, dining, laundry facilities)


    No segmentation required

    Designed to allow segmentation for dedicated use by ≤120 residents per section



    Subjected to BCA’s prevailing requirements for natural ventilation4, e.g. windows or openings to be at least 5% of the floor area of the room



    Additional requirements:


    ≥ 1 exhaust fan per toilet


    Adequate number of fans, reasonably spaced out throughout room, to provide sufficient air circulation







    If air conditioning is provided in room, additional requirement, i.e. install a filter of at least MERV14 rating,to reduce transmission risks in enclosed areas



    ≥ 1 set of common or en-suite toilet, bathroom, sink and urinal: 15 residents


    ≥ 1 set of en-suite toilet, bathroom, sink: 6 residents

    Isolation facility

    ≥ 1 isolation bed per 1,000 bed spaces during peacetime


    Additional 19 isolation beds per 1,000 bed spaces to be stood up during pandemics


    ≥ 10 isolation beds per 1,000 bed spaces during peacetime


    Additional 15 isolation beds per 1,000 bed spaces to be stood up during pandemics

    Living space excluding shared living facilities5

    ≥ 3.5sqm per resident

    ≥ 4.2sqm per resident



    Wi-Fi in common areas for residents

    Wi-Fi in common areas and rooms for residents6

    Providing sustainable housing options for migrant workers

  7. To ensure sufficient housing for our migrant workers and support efforts to reduce the density of existing dormitories, the Government will be launching two new PBD sites (at least 12,500 beds) at Kranji and Jalan Tukang, to be completed in the next three years. To ensure the timely construction of PBD beds in the current economic climate, the Government will construct and own these dormitories, while the day-to-day operations will be managed by a dormitory operator. The Government will continue to monitor and assess the overall housing needs of the migrant workforce and launch new PBD sites, where necessary. Given our limited land area, some dormitories may have to be located closer to residential areas. We hope that Singaporeans will continue to give their support to these workers who build and maintain our homes and public spaces.


  1. These standards will apply to all new applications submitted on or after 18 September 2021 to the relevant Government agencies for clearance to develop a dormitory. For existing dormitories, we are reviewing the improvements that are feasible within current built infrastructure constraints.
  2. The standards piloted at QBDs include 10 residents per room, en-suite toilets and ensuring communal facilities (e.g. cooking, dining and laundry facilities) cater to residents in smaller groups.
  3. The current standards refer to standards that were applied to dormitories licensed under FEDA.
  4. Permanent dormitories (i.e. PBDs and FCDs) are subject to the BCA Approved Document for Building Control Regulations, and temporary dormitories (i.e. CTQs and TOLQs) are subject to the BCA Building Control (Temporary Building) Regulations.
  5. The current standard of a minimum living space per resident of 4.5sqm today includes shared living facilities (e.g. en-suite kitchen, toilets, yard spaces). Excluding the shared living facilities, this broadly works out to a minimum living space per resident of 3.5sqm.
  6. Provision of in-room Wi-Fi should be priced into the bed rental rates charged. Hence, residents should not be separately charged for their Wi-Fi usage.