9 Things Every First-Time HDB Homeowner Must Know Before Renovating their Flat
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#1. Only engage renovation professionals from the Directory of Renovation Contractor (DRC)
You may earn a fine of up to $5,000 and other penalties if you did not engage renovation professionals from DRC, since only renovation professionals listed in the DRC are authorized to carry out HDB renovations.
Do you know?
Renovation companies listed in the DRC are reputable since they are subjected to strict screening process. In order to be listed in the DRC, the renovation companies…
1. are trained; they have completed the ‘Renovation for Public Housing’ training course
2. are experience since they have at least 3 years of experience in renovation works
3. are actively involved in the renovation trade
4. have at least 1 year of good track record with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
5. have proven to be profitable in the past 1 year
6. have partner/ directors who are not undischarged bankrupts or have any criminal records
#2. HDB’s written approval must be obtained before the commencement of any demolition and hacking works which involve walls
In order to preserve the structural integrity of the building, any demolition or hacking works which involve walls (be it partial or complete) can only be carried out after the HDB’s written approval. You will face prosecution for unauthorised demolition or hacking works.
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#3. Housing & Development (Composition of Offences) Rules 2006 allow HDB to compound offences committed by the homeowners and the renovation professionals
Even after engaging the renovation professionals, you are still responsible for all the renovations in your flat. Make sure that all the renovation works which are carried out by your renovation professionals adhere to the HDB guidelines*. Otherwise, you and/or the renovation professionals will be prosecuted in Court when the composition sum is not paid.
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#4. Notice of renovation must be displayed throughout the entire renovation period
Ensure that the renovation notice is prominently displayed during the renovation period. Also, remember to apply for an extension if your renovation has been unexpectedly delayed!
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#5. At least 2 of immediate neighbours (surrounding the apartment) must be informed at least 3 days before the commencement of the renovation works
Image from HDB
Aside from displaying the renovation notice, at least 2 of your immediate neighbours must be informed at least 3 days before the renovation works (even when no demolition and hacking works are involved) begin. Here is an example of the list of neighbours who should be informed.
#6. Only carry out the renovation works within the permitted stipulated period and time
Only allowed to be carried out on weekdays and Saturdays, from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. General renovations are also not allowed on Public Holidays.
Which involve demolishing of walls, removing wall/ floor finishes, cutting of tiles and heavy and excessive drilling works are only allowed to be carried out on weekdays only, from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Noisy renovations are also not allowed on the eve of major Public Holidays (i.e. New Year’s Day, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa and Christmas Day).
Days when renovations are prohibited
Strictly no renovations are allowed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Do you know?
Avoid Do-It-Yourself (DIY) works which include drilling or hammering from 10:30 pm to 7:00 am. You have to inform your neighbours beforehand if you are unable to keep within these timings!
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#7. Only HDB approved tools, pre-packed cement screed and plaster is allowed
Image from HDB
HDB Approved Tools
The renovation professionals are allowed to use 2 HDB approved handheld power tools or the equivalent. Hence, they have to seek HDB’s permission if they are using tools not in the approved list. Furthermore, such work has to be completed within 3 consecutive days!
Only pre-packed screed, for the laying of floor finishes, and pre-packed plaster, for wall finishes, are allowed.
Do you know?
Pre-packed material (e.g. screed, plaster, etc) helps to reduce the time spent to complete the renovation. This is because pre-packed material is pre-blended with the required material proportions at the factory. It is also cleaner to use pre-packed material, since the renovation professionals do not have to prepare additional materials on site.
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#8. Inform the HDB Branch immediately once your renovation works have been completed
For resale flats, the renovation works must be completed within 1 month from the date the renovation permit is granted, while the timeline for the newly TOP flat is 3 months. You need to inform the HDB branch of your estate once the renovations have been completed.
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#9. Seek assistance through CASE, Singapore Mediation Centre, the Small Claims Tribunals, or through court proceedings
Usually, during or after renovation completion, disputes may arise over the defects and/or shoddy workmanship. If the disputes with your renovation professionals are unable to be resolved amicably, you may seek a resolution through the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), Singapore Mediation Centre, the Small Claims Tribunals, or through the court proceedings if you have exhausted these other options.
Do you know?
Before signing any renovation contract, make sure that you have read all the terms and conditions stipulated under the contract. You are encouraged to use the CASE model contract agreement and not sign the renovation professional’s proprietary contract since it is usually written in favour of the renovation professional.