Getting the key to their HDB flat is a significant milestone in the lives of many Singaporeans. This means that they are now homeowners with a place they can finally call their own. And like most proud homeowners, the next step is likely to carry out their HDB renovation to suit their taste and comfort.
If you are among one of the newly crowned homeowners, this is an article for you to read before you embark in your HDB interior design journey. Now, you may be thinking why bother with the details when you can leave them to the appointed interior design firm to sort them out? Well, although interior design (ID) firms can deck up your home to your liking, as the homeowner, you are ultimately responsible in ensuring that the renovation guidelines laid out by HDB are complied with.
Here is the 5 less exciting but crucial information you should know before you start your renovation journey in Singapore.
1. Make sure your ID professional is listed in the Directory of Renovation Contractor (DRC)
HDB only allows DRC-listed ID contractors to carry out HDB renovation. This is to ensure that the work carried out is conducted safely and does not damage the HDB property. To be listed in the directory, these ID professionals have to complete the training course stipulated by the HDB and have the necessary experience and a good track record. If you use an unapproved contractor, you may end up with a fine of up to $5,000 plus other penalties. Most reputable ID firms would be listed in DRC, but do check before you sign the dotted line.
2. Get HDB’s written approval before tearing down the walls
Any demolition and hacking of walls – whether partially or entirely – requires HDB prior written approval. I repeat, written, not verbal. This is for HDB to ensure that the hacking does not affect the structural integrity of the building nor compromise the safety of the public. Like before, there may be legal consequences for you as the homeowner if you do not comply with the rule.
3. Display your Notice of Renovation during the renovation period
Your appointed ID firm or contractor must get a permit from the HDB before carrying out any HDB renovation. Once the permit is obtained, the Notice of Renovation must be prominently displayed at the entrance of the flat before and throughout the approved renovation period. If your renovation involves noisy work such as hacking of walls or tiles, a written notice to your immediate neighbours must also be given at least 3 days in advance.
4. Renovation must be done within the approved period and time
HDB also limits the timings for carrying out HDB renovation. For general renovations, they can only be done between 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays and Saturdays, and no work is allowed on Sundays and public holidays. If the renovation involves noisy and excessive drilling works like knocking down walls or removing wall or floor finishes, work can only be done on weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm (no work to be carried out on weekends and public holidays). If your unit is a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat, your renovation needs to be completed within 3 months. For existing units, work must be completed within 1 month from the date of the permit.
5. Contractors must use only HDB approved materials
To ensure a cleaner environment and more uniform finishes, the HDB mandates that only HDB approved materials such as pre-packed cement screed for the floor and pre-packed plaster for the walls are allowed. As pre-packed screed is pre-mixed in a standard ratio at the factory, it requires minimal on-site preparation and higher consistency in the finished work. It also reduces the overall time needed to complete the renovation.
By following these guidelines, you can be assured that your renovation is completed legally and following HDB’s requirements. For more information on HDB renovation, contact any of our interior designers for a little chat!