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Revision To The Art Incentive Scheme For New Developments In Central Area

  Published: 29 April 2009
Circular No : URA/PB/2009/06-CUDG


Who Should Know:
Architects, building owners and developers

Effective Date:
With effect from 29 July 2009 and to remain valid till 29 July 2012.


  1. The Guidelines for the Art Incentive Scheme for New Developments In Central Area (Scheme) were first introduced in September 2005 by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA1) to encourage the provision and integration of public art works within new developments in the Central Area.

  2. The URA has reviewed the proposals submitted under the Scheme since its introduction and, together with feedback from architects and developers, has updated the Guidelines to ensure that they remain relevant and pro-business. The revised Guidelines provide a clear definition of the types of art work and the cost items which can be considered under the Scheme. The incentives offered aim to encourage the integration of art works into the building over free-standing art work.

  3. This Circular supersedes the earlier Circular URA/PB/2005/23-CUDD released on 5 September 2005 and is to be read in conjunction with the overall 10% bonus GFA budget in URA’s Circular No: URA/PB/2009/03-DCG dated 29 April 2009 on “Framework for Managing Bonus Gross Floor Area Incentives”.  

How Can You Benefit?

  1.  Developers and building owners can apply for additional Gross Floor Area (GFA), over and above the prescribed GPR of the site under the Master Plan 2008, in return for the inclusion and retention of art works within their developments, according to the conditions of the Scheme, as set out in this Circular.

Definition of Art Work for the Purpose of Computing the Incentive

  1. The art work provided under this Scheme must be a permanent installation. It can be integrated into the building façade or designed as a building element (e.g. a wall relief or mural) or a free-standing feature. The provision of integrated art work is encouraged over free-standing art work as it has a greater impact and contribution to the public realm if it is designed and well-integrated with the overall design of the building. Some examples of integrated and free-standing art works are shown at Appendix 1.

  2. Art works incorporating water may also be considered as a form of art work, subject to the evaluation and endorsement of the Public Art Appraisal Committee (PAAC) and approval of the URA. The PAAC is a committee appointed by the National Heritage Board (NHB) to assist the URA to appraise the value of the art work to be used by URA to compute the additional GFA allowed under the Scheme.

  3. Art work which can be easily removed form the development (e.g. paintings, topiaries, etc.) will not be considered under this Scheme.

  4. Works which are traditionally recognised as interior design elements (e.g. “wall paper”), landscape elements (e.g. topiary) and light fittings, will also not be considered under this Scheme.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Proposals under the Scheme will be evaluated by the URA and the PAAC based on the following criteria


  • The Scheme is applicable to all new developments, redevelopment projects and developments undergoing major addition and alteration works within the key activity corridors and commercial areas in the Central Area. This includes Marina Bay, Marina Centre, the Central Business District, Orchard Road, Singapore River, Civic District, and the Bras Basah / Bugis area (see Appendix 2);
  • The art work must be located within the boundary of the development and within an area which is publicly accessible from the adjacent public street or space and not obstructed from view. Art works displayed in areas that are obscured from view from the adjacent public street or spaces will not be considered. The detailed location for the display of the art work is subject to the approval of the URA. Possible locations are outlined in Appendix 3;
  • Art work proposed to be displayed outside the site boundary (e.g. road sidetables, public spaces and parks, waterfront promenades, etc.) will not be considered under the Scheme. Such proposals can be submitted to the NHB and evaluated against NHB’s Public Arts Tax Incentive Scheme (PATIS). Details of PATIS can be found in NHB’s website at http://www.nhb.gov.sg/WWW/Patis.html;

Value of the Art Work

  • Only cost items that directly affect and contribute to the value of the art work can be included in the assessment of the value of the art work for the purpose of computing the additional GFA that can be applied for under the Scheme. This excludes costs incurred in procuring the art work (e.g. travel expenses, artist’s tools, freight charges, insurance, submission fees, etc.); and
  • For art work that is integrated into the building facade or located within landscaped areas and which result in the omission of parts of the development that would have otherwise been provided if the art work had not been provided, the value of the art work endorsed by the PAAC, will be based on the ‘nett-value’ of the art work, after deducting the cost of the building elements (for example the façade) that would have otherwise been provided in its place. Details and documentation of the replaced building element, certified by a quantity surveyor, are to be submitted for the URA to determine the adjusted value of the art work to be used to compute the additional GFA.
  1. Applicants making a submission under the Scheme may be required to attend an interview, with the URA and the PAAC. The URA and PAAC may also request for additional information and clarification, to be presented or submitted. All costs associated with an application under the Scheme, including travel expenses to attend interviews are to be at the full expense of the Applicant.

 Computation of Additional Gross Floor Area (GFA)

  1. The additional GFA to be granted under the Scheme will be based on the equivalent value of the art work, as endorsed by the PAAC, and computed based on the land value for the site. The land value is computed using the Development Charge (DC) rate as a proxy, based on the approved land use for the site. The DC rate to be used for the computation of the additional GFA to be granted will be pegged to the prevailing DC rate as at the date of planning submission incorporating the art work proposal that is approved by URA and the PAAC and where the additional GFA is endorsed by the URA through a planning conveyance (i.e. Provisional Permission [PP] or Written Direction [WD]).
  2. For mixed use developments, the total proposed GFA, inclusive of the additional GFA under the Scheme, must adhere to the use quantum requirements under the corresponding Master Plan land use zone or any specific land sales requirement applicable to the site.
  3. Under the Scheme, the additional GFA for the provision of integrated art work is capped at a maximum of 1.0% of the total prescribed Gross Plot Ratio (GPR) for the development under the Master Plan 2008 or 700 sqm, whichever is lower (see Appendix 4-1 for an example of the computation).
  4. The additional GFA for the provision of free-standing art work is capped at a maximum of 0.5% of the total prescribed GPR for the development under the Master Plan 2008 or 350 sqm, whichever is lower (see Appendix 4-2 for an example of the computation).
  5. Developers and building owners that provide both integrated and free-standing art work can apply for a total additional 1.5% GFA of the prescribed GPR for the development under the Master Plan 2008 or a total of 1,050 sqm, whichever is lower, subject to separate caps of 1% and 0.5% for integrated and free-standing art work, respectively. The proposed location and form of the art works shall be approved by the URA and the PAAC before it can be considered under the Scheme. Art work which does not satisfy the Evaluation Criteria set out under the Scheme will not be considered.
  6. The grant of the additional GFA under the Scheme will be subject to the conditions outlined in Appendix 5.
  7. The additional GFA approved under this Scheme will not form part of the prescribed GPR for the site under the Master Plan 2008 and will be required to be removed when the approved art work is relocated or removed from the development. The approved art work can be replaced with another art work of equal value, subject to the endorsement of the PAAC and approval of the URA. Any proposed relocation or replacement of the art work shall be submitted to the URA for approval.

 Submission and Evaluation Process

  1. To ensure good integration of the art work with the overall design and architectural treatment of the development, the provision and location of the art work must be considered during the early stages of the design process. Applications under the Scheme should preferably be made to the URA as part of the development control process prior to obtaining PP for the development. Applications for developments which have obtained WP but have not yet commenced construction of the superstructure works on site may be considered, subject to the merits of the proposal and the approval of the URA. In such a case, the Applicant may either submit an amendment to the WP or make a fresh submission, to include the additional GFA.
  2. Applications under the Scheme are to be made to the URA using Form DC/PAAC(2009) attached in Appendix 6. The submission requirements are indicated in in the form.
  3. The location, concept, design, size, material, value, quality and maintenance requirements of the art work must be endorsed by the PAAC before the additional GFA is computed and approved by the URA and added to the GPR of the development. Once the art work is endorsed, it must be reflected in the proposal plans for the development for the URA’s approval. The evaluation criteria are listed in Appendix 7.
  4. A retention clause will be included as a condition in the WP for the development to ensure that the art work is retained and displayed within a publicly accessible space of the development and will be enforced through the Planning Act on the owner and any subsequent purchaser of the development.
  5. The approved art work provided under the Scheme must be installed at the approved location and verified by the URA under the Planning Act. URA’s clearance of the completed art work is required before the Commissioner of Building Control issues the Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP), or Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) (in the event the TOP is not required). The building owner is to submit confirmation of the completed works to URA to seek URA’s clearance of the completed art work*. The standard processing time to evaluate and approve a complete and compliant submission of completed works is about 4 weeks. Please note that a longer processing time may be required if the submission is incomplete or not in order. The Applicant is to ensure sufficient lead time is allowed to secure the clearance prior to applying to the Commissioner of Building Control for TOP/CSC. The submission is required to include labeled and annotated photographs (in .pdf file format) showing the completed art work on site. URA will evaluate the photographs submitted and, if necessary, arrange for a site inspection before issuing the clearance letter for the completed works.
  6. Applicants are also required to declare upfront to the Commissioner of Building Control at the point of application for TOP or CSC (in the event the TOP is not required), that URA’s clearance is required for the art work before issuance of TOP, or CSC (in the event the TOP is not required).
  7. TOP/CSC will only be granted by BCA after the art work has been satisfactorily installed on site.
  8. A Maintenance Report shall be prepared by a qualified person (e.g. qualified conservator) and submitted annually by the building owner to the URA. The report shall clearly indicate the condition and maintenance work carried out on the art work. The PAAC will assist the URA to evaluate the maintenance work carried out and the condition of the art work.
  9. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this Circular to the relevant members of your organisation. If you or your members have any queries concerning this Circular, please do not hesitate to contact Senior Architect Bernard Chan at Tel: 6321 8243 (email: Bernard_Chan@ura.gov.sg) or our DCG Enquiry Line at Tel: 6223 4811 (email: ura_dcd@ura.gov.sg). We would be pleased to answer queries on this, and any other development control matter. For your information, the past Circulars to the professional institutes are available from our website http://www.ura.gov.sg.


Thank You.


1The term "URA" is used in this Circular as a convenient reference to mean ‘the Chief Executive Officer, URA, as the Competent Authority (CA) under the Planning Act’.


*Please refer to Circular No: URA/PB/2009/19-CUDG for more details.

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