An Eager Home Buyer’s Pre-Renovation Checklist

By : Jane Chang
20 November 2013

I’ve a confession. Since building works started on the BTO flat I applied for, I’ve been monitoring its progress like a hawk. I’m SO looking forward to receiving my keys!


I’m not wasting any time while waiting though. To prepare for the big move, I’ve been trawling home decor websites for furnishing and renovation ideas, and finding out what needs to be done before renovation works begin. I’ve even made a list on this (overly eager, evidently) and thought it’d be useful to share it here!


1. First Things First – The Right Person for the Job

You could engage any interior design company to design the perfect home for you. A good company should be able to provide you with many great ideas. But for the execution of renovation works in the flat, you’ll need an HDB Registered Renovation Contractor. For other types of work, please note the following.


– Window works: engage a BCA approved window contractor listed with HDB;
– Water pipe services: engage a PUB licensed water service plumber;
– Gas service works: engage a EMA’s licensed gas service worker;
– Electrical works: engage an EMA licensed electrical worker;
– Air-conditioner installation: engage a BCA trained air-conditioner installer.


2. Do I Need a Permit before Proceeding?

Renovation works involve varying levels of complexity, so some types of works can only be carried out with a renovation permit.


So, once you’ve settled on an HDB Registered Renovation Contractor, check against theHDB InfoWEB to find out whether the planned renovation requires a renovation permit from HDB. If so, renovation can only commence once the permit is obtained.  


For renovation works that don’t require a permit, there are still some key points to note. You could check out the guidelines on building work and sanitary work in HDB flats on the HDB InfoWEB.


3. Do I Need to Provide HDB with a Floor Plan before Proceeding?

Certain types of renovation works, such as the demolishment or construction of interior walls, need to be evaluated and approved by HDB before they can be carried out, as unauthorised renovation may affect the building integrity and in turn, your safety and the safety of everyone else in the block!


The renovation contractor needs to submit to HDB a scanned copy of the floor plan showing the proposed renovation in the e-application for these works.


I’m still holding on to the floor plan from the sales brochure during the selection of my flat. Don’t worry if you don’t have yours – it can be purchased online from the HDB InfoWEB or at the HDB Hub, too.


4. Supervise! (And Put Yourself in Your Neighbours’ Shoes…)

The HDB’s Notice of Renovation must be displayed outside your flat once the renovation commences, until the time all works have been completed. Your appointed renovation contractor also needs to inform your neighbours about the renovation at least three days before they start (I feel it’d be polite to personally inform your neighbours beforehand too… since living next to a flat that’s undergoing renovation should be anything but convenient).


I realise that it’s not just your renovation contractor who’s fully responsible for the job. Ultimately it’s your home. Therefore, flat owners also need to ensure that the works don’t go against HDB’s requirements and guidelines. This possibly means visiting the flat every now and then to check how everything’s coming along. Do note that there’re specific timings when the works can be carried out…


–  General renovation: 8am-6pm daily
–  Noisy renovation (e.g. drilling works, demolition/removal of walls): 9am-5pm on weekdays only, excluding public holidays
–  DIY household installations: Avoid early hours in the morning and night time – we don’t want to disturb our neighbours 


I’ve still a lot more to learn on this topic, but I hope this post has given you a fair idea of what needs to be done before you jazz up your home (or before you even get your keys – like me).


We’ve got more renovation dos and don’ts tips coming your way, so keep a lookout for the next one here on MyNiceHome!


If you’d recently moved, how did you prepare for the renovation works for your home? I’dlove to know!





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