7 surprising aspects of home renovation that first-time Singaporean homeowners might not be aware of

  • Jul 6, 2023

Designer for all images in this post: Free Space Intent

First-time homeowners in Singapore, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised by a few lesser-known aspects of home renovation. Did you know that there are specific renovation guidelines for HDB flats? Yep, they cover everything from structural changes to the materials you can use. Oh, and don't forget about the permits and licenses! Depending on your renovation plans, you might need to get the green light from the authorities for tasks like electrical work or hacking walls. Private estates also have their own unique rules to keep things in order. But fear not, finding reliable contractors and interior designers can make the process a breeze. Lastly, don't skip the important step of inspecting your place and updating your home insurance coverage. When it comes to home renovation, there are several surprising things that many of you may not be aware of. Here are a few of them:

#1. Compliance with permits and regulations

Homeowners should be aware of the necessity to obtain permits and adhere to regulations before undertaking renovation projects. Certain renovations, such as structural modifications or changes to the building facade, require approval from relevant authorities such as the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) or the Housing and Development Board (HDB). Ensuring compliance with these requirements is of utmost importance.

#2. Adherence to HDB renovation guidelines

For homeowners of HDB flats, it is important to adhere to the renovation guidelines set by the Housing and Development Board. These guidelines outline requirements for structural modifications, sanitary and plumbing works, and the use of building materials. Familiarizing oneself with these guidelines ensures compliance during the renovation process.

#3. Obtaining necessary permits and licenses

In addition to permits for structural changes, homeowners may require additional permits or licenses for specific renovation works. This includes permits for electrical or gas works, air conditioning installation, or wall hacking. It is crucial to consult the relevant authorities and secure the required permits or licenses prior to commencing any renovation activities.

#4. Understanding private estate renovation restrictions

In Singapore, private estates or condominiums often have renovation restrictions imposed by the by-laws of the estate’s Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST). These guidelines may include rules regarding noise levels, working hours, and limitations on specific renovation activities. Homeowners should actively engage with the Management Corporation (MC) to understand and comply with these restrictions. It is important to seek clarification, adhere to the guidelines, and obtain any necessary permits or approvals to maintain harmonious relations within the community. By respecting these restrictions, homeowners contribute to a peaceful living environment for all residents.

#5. Reviewing and updating home insurance coverage

Before starting renovations in Singapore, homeowners should review and update their home insurance coverage. It is important to notify the insurance provider about the planned renovations and ensure sufficient coverage for the property and its contents. This safeguards against accidents, damages, or theft that may occur during the renovation period. Homeowners should carefully review their existing policy, understand any limitations or exclusions related to renovations, and communicate accurate information to the insurance provider. By ensuring adequate coverage, homeowners can protect their property and possessions and minimize potential financial risks associated with the renovation project.

#6. Look for Renovation companies registered under the Registered Renovation Contractors (RRC) scheme

The Registered Renovation Contractors (RRC) scheme is designed to ensure that renovation works carried out in HDB flats meet the required standards and guidelines. Renovation companies registered under this scheme have undergone a screening process and are deemed competent and qualified to perform renovation works in HDB flats.

To find a list of renovation companies registered with HDB, you can visit the HDB InfoWEB  or the HDB Registered Renovation Contractors Directory. The directory provides homeowners with a comprehensive list of renovation companies registered with HDB, along with their contact details. This allows homeowners to engage registered renovation contractors when planning renovation works in their HDB flats.

Engaging a renovation company registered with HDB provides homeowners with the assurance that the company is aware of and complies with HDB renovation guidelines. It helps ensure that the renovation works will be carried out professionally, adhere to safety regulations, and meet the necessary standards set by HDB for public housing flats.

#7. Consider Renovation companies listed in the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA) directory

For private properties in Singapore, such as condominiums, landed houses, or apartments, there is no specific registration scheme similar to the HDB's Registered Renovation Contractors (RRC) for renovation companies. However, professional associations, including the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA), play a significant role in connecting homeowners with accredited and registered renovation companies in Singapore. These associations typically maintain lists or directories of reputable renovation companies that have met specific membership criteria. These criteria often encompass stringent standards and ethical practices, ensuring that member companies are committed to delivering quality workmanship and adhering to industry best practices.

Homeowners can rely on the recommendations provided by these professional associations to identify renovation companies that have demonstrated their expertise, professionalism, and adherence to established standards. By engaging with companies affiliated with such associations, homeowners can have greater confidence in the reliability and competence of the chosen renovation professionals.

By being mindful of these surprising aspects, first-time homeowners in Singapore can navigate the renovation process with professionalism and efficiency. Adhering to guidelines, securing permits and maintaining appropriate insurance coverage, seeking guidance from professionals, and meticulous planning is key to a successful renovation journey.

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