Members: Celine Koh (A0112975B), Hong Kay Yeong Daniel (A0110994A), Merilyn
Milyarti Wantasen (A0112993B), Tan Pang An Leonard (A0116560M), Tan Si Ying
To discuss on the facilities and property management at Northeast Exchange (NEX) mall.
1. Introduction & Rationale
The Northeast Exchange (NEX) shopping mall is one
the biggest suburban malls in Singapore and it is the
biggest in the north east region. NEX is strategically
located at 23 Serangoon Central, and is fully integrated
with the new Serangoon Bus Interchange and MRT
Station, where the North East Line and the newly
opened Circle Line intersect. The 6-storey mall boasts
a diversity of over 360 specialty shops and restaurants
as well as several unique facilities.
Positioned as the lifestyle hub for the North East
heartlands, NEX has shown to be extremely popular
and profitable ever since its opening in November 2010.
Furthermore, it is expected that a renowned developer
such as CapitaLand would undertake such a large
scale project but in fact this mall is developed by Gold
Ridge Private Limited - a relatively unknown developer.
2. Physical/Architectural Features
The following section will discuss the success in the architectural features of NEX.
The facade design of NEX is made to support the profit maximization goal of the developer so
that it can ease retail planning and functionality of the building. Therefore, the shape of the
building is made regular to ensure efficient space management inside the mall. Another aim
is to make an urbanistic design in which the architecture form engages and influences the
urban environment. NEX looks modern and eye-catching among other suburban shopping
malls. Moreover, it is possible for NEX not to have an iconic design as it is situated in the
suburbs with low tourist traffic flow. It is also targeted to middle-income customers in the
Another successful attribute on the design is the amount of greenery incorporated. Serangoon
Central is currently a dense residential estate with limited greenery. According to the Skyrise
Greenery Project, they analysis how NEX can provide a green lung to the region (National
Parks, 2011). Therefore, the mall has an opportunity to introduce a substantial amount of
landscaped spaces to stand out among the rest of the buildings in the area. NEX has
incorporated green wall climber as well as a roof garden. This design follows the architect’s
concept of blending the surroundings to create a green necklace permeating the shopping
3. Facilities Management
This section will discuss about the provision of facilities in NEX which support the core
business of the shopping mall and enhance the convenience of its visitors. Some of the
facilities include carpark, toilets and nursing room, library, KidzPlay and escalators.
When NEX mall first opened last November, the carpark was poorly designed. Even though
its carpark had more than 400 parking spaces, they are usually filled during peak hours and
weekends. Frustrated motorists turned to the HDB multi-storey carpark across the road beside
NEX which has 500 spaces. Guthrie Consultancy Services the mall manager for NEX,
proposed the construction of a new sheltered bridge to directly connect the HDB car park to
the mall, which effectively helped alleviate the parking situation, making it more convenient for
shoppers, especially when it rains. The mall's management also reacted quickly to shoppers'
feedback by removing parts of the walls of the car park which prevented motorists from
noticing oncoming vehicles (About Singapore Property, 2011). This has allowed the
management to quickly convert the failure of providing insufficient car park space into a
relative success by leveraging on the HDB carpark.
Toilets and Nursing Rooms
The toilets in NEX consist of both male and female toilets, are located at every level of the
mall. The mall has also met the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) “Code for Barrier-
Free Accessibility in Buildings” requirements by having one handicapped toilet located at every
level (Building and Construction Authority, 2006, p. 53). These special cubicles were designed
to have larger space and metal handles to help elderly and disabled people use the toilet
safely and comfortably. Moreover, the nursing rooms in NEX mall are each equipped with a
changing station, wash basin and hot/cold water dispenser that is catered to every nursing
mother. The nursing room provide mothers and infants a comfortable and convenient
environment as well as giving them privacy with curtains and a lockable door.
One unique public facility that the mall has provided is a public
library located at the rooftop of the shopping mall. A library
helps to increase and diversify the shopper traffic in the
shopping mall (Morris & Brown, 2004). This may be due to the
higher probability of people going to the mall as they have
larger range of activities and purposes that they can fulfil. This
essentially supports the core business of a shopping mall as
an increase in human traffic potentially increases retail
KidzPlay is a wet and dry playground located at the
rooftop of the NEX shopping mall, it includes spray
tunnels, water sprinklers and slides for kids to play in. In
contrast to Wild Wild Wet which requires users to pay an
admission fee, children can use the playground for free.
Parents can bring their children here to have fun at the
playground, at the same time enjoy reading session in the
library while keeping a look-out for their children.
Therefore, this attraction of NEX mall is considered as a
success because it draws many families to bring their kids
to the mall, hence increasing the shopper traffic in the
Escalators play an important role on increasing convenience in malls by transporting large
quantities of people in any building to a different level in the mall. It is especially effective in
commercial retail buildings as they increase customer density and thus increase the revenue,
especially in the upper levels. Strategic arrangement of escalators will help to evenly spread
out customer traffic throughout the different levels of the shopping mall. In the case of NEX,
the escalators at the southern wing connecting basement 1 to level 1 was not efficiently
placed. Shoppers had to find and walk a distance to get to the escalator. Even though shopper
traffic is still relatively high, it is not fully maximised due to the poor layout of that escalator.
However, majority of the escalators in the mall has demonstrated an acceptable arrangement.
Therefore, the escalators are successful as a facility that contributes to the efficient operations
4. Lease Management
The developer Gold Ridge Private Limited, has adopted unique leasing strategies to reduce
functional and economic obsolescence. This part will address the successes and failures of
One major strategy that the developer has used is to get a large
number of anchor tenants and subsequently spread them out
over the different levels of the shopping centre. This centre in an
evenly manner. In the process of attracting a large number of
anchor tenants, the developer has actually leased out retail
space to two different anchor tenants which compete in the
same retail market. Some examples include Cold Storage and
Fairprice Xtra, as well as Food Republic and Food Junction.
Theoretically, this would not be appropriate and suitable as
competing tenants would reduce each other’s market share by
locating in such close proximity. However, the developer has
successfully executed this strategy by dissecting the market into
two major segments of middle-end market and the high-end
market. Fairprice Xtra and Food Junction target middle-end
consumers whereas Cold Storage and Food Republic cater to
the higher-end consumers. This market segmentation has
allowed the respective anchor tenants to specialise in their own
market segments which lead to increased profits.
Another strategy that the developer has employed to maximise rental income and profits is by
increasing the net lettable area of the shopping mall through leasing out available spaces on
However, one failure in lease management which was observed during the site visit is the
extensive number of leases which expired at the same time. This resulted in the Level 1 floor
being extremely vacant. This had a spill over effect on the remaining tenants in the area as
traffic flow is significantly lower as compared to other sectors of NEX shopping mall.
5. Maintenance Management
One of the objectives in maintenance management is to comply with statutory obligations for
governing the ownership and usage of this building. One representation of NEX’s
management team complying is seen through the fire extinguishers being serviced and
maintained every year to ensure they can function properly in case of emergency.
Another objective of maintenance is to provide safety and comfort for the
occupants. As seen from the figure, the toilet at the ground floor appears wet
with foot marks alongside the squat-type toilet. The ground floor of the
shopping mall usually has a higher number of human traffic compared to the
upper floors, thus there is a higher frequency of which people use and dirty
the toilet. Therefore, housekeeping for ground floor toilets should be done
more often to ensure hygiene and avoid users from slipping due to the wet
In addition, preserving the value of investment and
maximising net return over the economic life of the
property is also one of the objectives in maintenance
management. The vacant shop units in NEX are well-
maintained to provide an aesthetically pleasing
appearance so that these areas become more
attractive to lease out. As seen from the picture, they
also project an image to shoppers that the vacancies
are planned and the management is bringing in newer
and more appealing tenants in the near future.
6. Fire Safety Management
Excellent fire safety management is compulsory in every property as it is concerned with the
well-being and protection of the occupants in case of an unexpected fire breakout. Every
development in Singapore is required to achieve a minimum fire safety standard set in the fire
safety legislations before their building plans can be approved. Thus, it is undoubtedly
expected that NEX comply with the minimum standard. However, attaining the minimum
standard may not be equivalent to providing the best. This section of the report will give deeper
insight regarding the fire safety management carried out in the development.
As a regular standard of any development’s fire safety management, NEX has implemented
a general fire safety precaution by not allowing any occupants - tenants and visitors to smoke
anywhere inside the shopping mall. It is also equipped with a complete set of fire protection
system such as fire alarm, smoke detectors, water sprinklers, portable fire extinguisher, dry
riser system and hose reel. These fire protection systems alert occupants, help to detect the
presence of fire and reduce its intensity so that the effect would be less disastrous. They are
readily available in every level of the shopping mall and are located at conspicuous places so
that they can be easily found by people during the chaotic evacuation process. In addition, all
fire exits are clear and unblocked with its doors made of fire-resistant wood so that fire can’t
pass through and invade the emergency stairs. Emergency stairs are wide to ensure faster
evacuation process. The emergency stairs are equipped with fire alarm speakers for voice
communication system. Furthermore, NEXhas a few staircases and escalators in the external
facade of the building which can be used in conjunction with the fire staircase for evacuation.
Fire safety managers of NEXhas also tried to improve its tenants’ evacuation skill by enforcing
participation in an arson simulation exercise which was carried out as realistic as possible, in
collaboration with Serangoon Neighbourhood Police Force, NEX security management team
and the Seng Kang Fire Station.
However, there are still some areas that are hindering NEX to provide maximum fire safety
measures to its occupants. NEX lacks of evacuation map and signs that guide occupants
towards the fire exits. Furthermore, clustered kiosks at some areas of the shopping mall that
helps to maximize profit, may hinder evacuation process. Lastly, high-ceiling atrium causes
water sprinklers to be ineffective on the particular area and results in more rapid smoke
7. Risk management
Business continuity management is a vital part of risk management which enables an
organization to minimize potential loss and manage a crisis efficiently. NEX’s management
has adopted several risk management approaches towards crisis that can lead to business
interruptions that result in financial and reputation losses. Risk management pinpoints and
rank the potential threats that might be faced by NEX and applies cost-effective measures to
curtail damages that might be caused when those threats become a reality. The following will
address the successes and failures of the approaches.
One strategy that NEX has adopted is by enhancing its
current security management. As there are an increasing
number of megamalls in heartland regions, these have
become popular areas for minor theft. Due to an increase
in shoplifting cases in the Serangoon area, an initiative
titled “Mall Watch” was implemented in NEX shopping mall
as a part of security management to educate and enhance
tenant’s crime prevention awareness. Training was
conducted for tenants and security officers. Workshops
were conducted for tenants and pamphlets were
distributed to engage visitors as well as educating them on
the common crimes. Frequency of patrols around the mall
has also been increased. Furthermore, installations of
CCTV and motion sensor camera are seen at the vital
areas of the mall to deter inappropriate acts in the mall.
NEX is also located next to the Serangoon Police Station, which can act as an off-site crisis
command centre so that any damaging situations can be better managed and solved quickly
in order for the mall to be able to resume its business operation.
Nevertheless, there was still one incident in which NEX shows a sign of failure in its crisis
management. The incident was related to malfunctioning of the elevator. The elevator stopped
working and the ventilation fan went off, leaving only an emergency light. The main problem
is that there was no response given when the passengers called for help through the intercom.
As a result, 11 passengers were trapped for approximately 45 minutes inside the elevator,
before any help came and rescued them. They had to resort to climbing through the foot of
the elevator to get out as the elevator stopped between floors. One of the passengers was
appalled by the security guard’s response when she got out of the lift. In this case, NEX’s
management has to be able to control the situation swiftly and efficiently as the passengers’
lives were being compromised. This incident may also damage the mall’s reputation.
8. Conclusion and Additional Recommendations
In conclusion, NEX is successful in terms of the overall project and facilities management.
Guthrie Consultancy Services (property manager of NEX) was capable in maintaining and
improving the value of the property as NEX was eventually sold to China Investment
Corporation and Mercatus Co-Operative Limited at a tidy profit. Moreover, NEX has been a
very popular suburban mall since it first opened which shows that visitors are convenient with
their management and there has not been any obsolescence. There has only been a few
minor incidents so far but they have implemented revamped solutions in their management
process to keep a sustainable image and reputation. However, some improvements can be
done to enhance the successfulness of the management. NEX is currently lacking in the
number of fire safety evacuation maps and signages displayed. Thus, occupants might not be
able to identify the assembly areas and escape route easily in an event of a crisis. NEX need
to display more evacuation maps and signs at conspicuous places to improve its fire safety
management. One recommendation for lease management would be to stagger the lease
expiry dates among tenants so that all of them would not expire at the same time. Also, to
mitigate the damage of the vacant shop units, the management could intensify advertising and
promotions of the area to potential tenants. In addition, NEX is encouraged to always keep an
emergency contact list and do a regular check on their risk assessment. However, the success
of the recommendations we provide depends on NEX management team’s commitment to
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Morris, A. & Brown, A. (2004). Siting of public libraries in retail centres: benefits and effects.
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