Guidelines for renovation works, HDB

In Singapore many people live in homes which are governed by the Housing and development board (HDB for short). If you are one of these people and you are looking at having some renovation works done, it is very possible that you may need to obtain a permit from HDB. These permits are very important, and without the permit you could be facing a hefty fine adding up to five thousand dollars. 


When is a Permit Required?


  1. Certain types of renovation (hereinafter referred to as the "Work" and which shall be taken to mean alteration and addition work) to the flat can only be carried out with HDB's prior written approval. Such approval is given in the form of a permit before the commencement of the Work.
  2. Failure to obtain the permit will mean that the Work is unauthorized and HDB shall be entitled to require the owner to reinstate his premises to its original condition.
  3. Examples of the common types of Work which require HDB's approval and a permit are set out in the guidelines prescribed by HDB governing building work and sanitary work in HDB flats.
  4. For special precincts (eg. DBSS flats) with unique designs and special features, flat owners must comply with some additional specific renovation guidelines pertaining to their precincts. Flat owners can view the specific renovation guidelines on the HDB Info WEB under "My HDBPage".
  5. The flat owner is required to open a Utilities Account (ie. water and electricity) of his new flat with SP Services Ltd before a renovation permit is granted.
  6. For renovation items which do not require a permit, you are required to comply with the guidelines/conditions governing the items as set out in the guidelines for building and sanitary work in HDB flats.
  7. If the work does not comply with the guidelines/conditions stated, it is treated as unauthorized work. HDB has the authority to ask you to remove and reinstate your premises to its original condition or that of the guidelines/conditions stated.
  8. Where renovation items are not reflected in the renovation guide or where the measurement and technical details of the proposed work deviate from that stated in the renovation guide, flat owners are required to seek HDB prior approval before commencement of works.
  9. The flat owner shall strictly observe and adhere to the terms and conditions, technical conditions and guidelines issued by HDB for such Work.
  10. If the flat owner fails to do so, HDB shall be entitled to revoke the permit granted for the Work, the flat owner shall be required to reinstate his premises to its original condition.

Who can do the work? 


All renovation works should be carried out by a HDB registered contractor. These contractors are registered under the HDB Registered Renovation Contractors' Scheme (RRCS) which is meant to ensure that the contractors who are engaged by residents are regulated and do not damage the building structure when carrying out renovation in HDB flats. 


What should you do before work starts?


Some renovations require machinery which can make a lot of noise, so it is important to forewarn your neighbors about the renovation work as it can be very disruptive for them. It is also advisable to tell them the time duration of the renovation so that they can adjust their life as well as work accordingly. If not, then people will raise complaints which will be a great inconvenience to you and your contractor. If the renovation is taking place in a community where children play, the contractor should arrange for the area to be  also secure. This means that your house will be well protected and will ensure the safety of others. This will also enhance your privacy. 



Time Allowed for Renovation 



 The most important factor of HDB in Singapore is the time duration in which the renovations must be completed. It strictly implements the time rules.
  1. For new blocks, the approved work must be completed within 3 months from the date of the permit.
  2. For existing blocks, the approved work must be completed within 1 month from the date of the permit.
  3. No Work shall be carried out before 8.00 am and after 6.00 pm.
  4. Noisy Works such as cutting of tiles, demolition of walls and removing floor/wall finishes are restricted to between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm during the weekdays. Such work are not allowed on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays.
  5. At any one time, only two of the approved hand-held power tools or their approved equivalents are allowed to be used.
  6. Renovation contractors are not allowed to take more than three consecutive days to demolish walls and/or remove wall and/or floor finishes.
Checking the legality of the contractor is very important. Customers are usually shy about asking, keep in mind that doing business with an unauthorized company is a crime as well. if you are selecting a company then there are many other things which you need to check, other than just the Singapore HDB renovation rule. You need to have an overview of the company and the remarks of their other customers. Do not entirely believe what you read on the official website of a contractor. No company exposes their weak links. Keep your budget in mind and all the above mentioned point. This way you would find yourself dealing with the most suitable contractor.



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