5 Common Defects in New HDB Flats You Should Know
No matter how well-built a property is, there will invariably be some small defects. Some are pretty serious and require immediate attention, but other defects like hairline wall cracks will not be easy to catch and may only surface a few months later. You might be anxious to get on with your renovation, but our recommendation is to look over your home carefully with a few simple tools. It might be tiring now, but imagine the inconveniences you have to go through in order to rectify the defects a few months down the road! HDB also stipulated on their website that all new HDB flats are provided with a 1-year defects liability period (DLP), which is effective from the date of sale. This means that HDB will rectify defects in the flat as reported by the flat owner, but any defects resulting from the flat owner’s renovation works or usage are not covered by the DLP. In other words, inspect your flat carefully and report any defects found within 7 days of receiving your keys or before starting your renovation.
Hollow & Uneven Floor Tiles
If you’ve opted for a flat where the cost of the floor tiles are factored into your total buying price, then you should make sure that they are in an acceptable condition before you start your renovations. We list out the likely problems and the tools to detect them:
- Coins or marbles: used to detect hollow floor tiles by tapping on them; a hollow sound usually indicates that the floor tile has hollow spots, a condition which may lead to tiles popping up in future
- Ruler: make sure your floor tiles are even by placing a ruler on them; if the edge of one tile appears to be higher than its neighbour’s, then do take note. At the same time, check for any hairline cracks on the tiles.
Check that all electrical sockets are working with a simple plug-in LED light and make sure that none of the sockets are rusty, otherwise a report to HDB is warranted. This is only possible after you activate the utilities so don’t forget to do so after you’ve collected your keys! The same goes for TV points i.e. the provided TV cable must be able to fit.
Cracked or Slanted Walls
An insidious problem that may not surface in your initial checks, cracks in the wall can be an absolute eyesore. The good news is you can approach HDB to fill and paint over the cracks even after your renovation. One of our bloggers, PandaGirl, encountered this very problem and it was swiftly corrected by a representative from her estate’s Building Service Centre (BSC). But if you spot the hairline cracks before your renovation, then make sure to indicate them clearly with masking tape and marker pens. In addition, have a Spirit Level handy to ensure that your walls and ceilings are not slanted. Oh, and watch out for leaking walls during wet weather.
Clogged Toilets & Leaks
Sometimes rubbish or cement may be carelessly thrown into the toilets or down the drains. To make sure your pipes are not clogged or leaking, activate your utilities and run the water. This will also let you see if your taps and basins are functioning. Toilet bowls shouldn’t come with cracks and must be able to flush as well.
Windows & Doors
Next on the list are the windows and the doors in your home. Make sure they can open and close without any difficulty, have no rusty parts and are properly aligned within their respective frames. Among the keys that you received from HDB should also be a set of keys to your various bedroom doors (except the bomb shelter and bathrooms). Try these out to make sure the mechanisms are working as they should. Last but not least, check your windows on rainy days to ensure they do not leak.
Once you’ve found the defects, do remember to document them with a digital camera and highlight them with masking tape and markers. Having your own record is far more efficient than relying on your memory, especially when there are more than 10 defects in the flat. Another vital thing to remember is this: DO NOT give your house keys to the BSC personnel and buy a bicycle lock/padlock to lock your front gate instead.