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All you need to know before embarking your DIY Renovation Journey Part 3 – 3 Tips for Selection of Contractors

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1. Understand the Roles of the Different Types of Renovation Professionals

The first step in finding the right renovation professionals to work with is to understand that there are different types of renovation professionals available. In addition, they also offer varying types of expertise and services.

Design: The Association

Design: Kejico

There are three different categories of renovation professionals – interior designers, main contractors and contractors in the renovation industry.

A. Interior Designers

An interior designer delineates the interior living and work spaces in order to make them functional, and aesthetic pleasing. In order to communicate his or her ideas to the client, the interior designer will make use of floor plan, perspective home interior sketches and 3 Dimensional renders as the communication tools. The interior designer will also make use of various colour palettes, materials, furnishings and liaise with multiple vendors to achieve the client’s desired style.

B. Main Contractors

A main contractor, who oversees the various aspects of renovation work, usually work closely with the Interior Designers. In other words, the main contractor is a general contractor who works with a team of sub-contractors such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters. They specialise in various scopes of renovation work. Unlike the interior designers, most main contractors do not possess project management services, interior design, space planning or abilities to perform 3 Dimensional renders. They are usually simply executors of the plans entrusted to them by the Interior Designers. Therefore, they can provide only the technical related advice and not interior design-related solutions.

C. Contractors

Contractors or sub-contractors are experts in their respective field of renovation work. Examples include paint, wall and floor, electrical wiring, carpentry and curtains contractors. They do not have a comprehensive view of what of the renovation project and have a very limited overview. They usually depend on the main contractors to provide them directions on when and what to do.

2. Where You Can Look for the Contractors

A recommended place to start looking for a reliable contractor is to look at the HDB Registered Renovation Contractor (RRC) e-Service, where details of both the Interior Design and Contractor firms are listed. These renovation professionals are aware of the HDB’s renovation requirements in order to protect the structural integrity of the building as they are registered under the HDB Registered Renovation Contractors’ Scheme (RRCS). Nevertheless, do note that the HDB does not endorse nor guarantee the workmanship of the professionals listed. In addition, contractors that are not registered with HDB are not allowed to carry out any renovation in HDB flats.

3. What to look out for prior engaging a Contractor

A. Find out the standard pricing for your scope of renovation work

Request for different quotations from both Interior Designers and Contractors before committing so that you can roughly gauge the prices charged by different types of the renovation professionals. The quotation from the Contractors should be cheaper than the interior designers and contain itemised billing with clear description of products and services rendered.

B. Only engage the renovation professional based on the on-site quotation

Never engage the contractor based on off-site, floorplan quotation alone.

This is because of the following considerations:

1) The floor plan does not reveal difficult tricky corners or structures that they might encounter during the renovation process. Therefore, their quotations might vary greatly, depending on their approach to resolve these issues. Hence, it is highly recommended to sure that they have done the on-site measurements prior the quotation.

2) The preferred contractor may not be available to perform your renovation by the time you are ready to start your renovation. This might result in delay. Hence, always shortlist at least 2 contractors which meet your requirements so that when such a situation arises, you can always fall back on the 2nd preferred contractor.


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Additional Tips:

A. Model agreement on home renovation provided by CASE

Consider using a model agreement on home renovation provided by CASE and never make full payment upfront; the payment should be rendered progressively.

B. Find out the various dispute channels

Know your dispute resolution avenues. Aside from CASE, consumers can alternatively lodge a claim via the Small Claims Tribunals.

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