Some rules are meant to be broken, others not so much. HDB renovation guidelines belong to the latter category – and that’s not due to the tough penalties, but because they prevent the structural integrity of your flat from being compromised.
So what exactly can you do to avoid falling afoul of the law while renovating your HDB flat? We have whittled everything down to 6 simple steps that you should take before, during and after your home makeover.
1. Check for unique property restrictions
Bet you didn’t know about this (most probably don’t), but HDB has a page that details additional renovation restrictions on certain estates. If you live in a Design, Build and Sell (DBSS) flat or a new Built-To-Order (BTO) flat, these additional rules may apply to you.
But what is the official line on this?
As stated on the HDB homepage, these guidelines are required to help ‘maintain the development’s aesthetics’. In the case of DBSS flats, there is also the consideration of ‘distinctive external features’ built by private developers.
The long and short of it is, there are renovation limitations on outside facing areas like the balcony, service yard, and air-conditioner ledge. For instance, you are not allowed to change the sliding door frames and glass panels of your balcony, or paint the railings in a colour that deviates too much from the original shade used by HDB.
2. Apply for the necessary permits
If you are thinking about swapping out the ceramic tiles in your new home for marble flooring, you will need to obtain an official HDB permit before starting work. The same applies to other major works like demolishing non-load bearing walls, repositioning doorways, and changing your bathroom finishes, just to name a few.
But what about applying for these permits? There are two ways to go about this:
You can either authorise your renovation contractor to submit an electronic application to HDB on your behalf, OR fill up this manual form and have your contractor send it to the HDB Branch Office in charge of your estate.
In any case, put it on your to-do list.
3. Note the time limit
As per current HDB guidelines, for new blocks, the approved work(s) must be completed within 3 months of the permit’s issue date. Whereas for existing blocks, this window is even shorter as your renovation contractor will only have 1 month to finish HDB-endorsed jobs.
4. Only engage help you can trust
HDB maintains a list of approved renovation contractors; and according to the HDB (Renovation Control) Rules, which were last revised in 2010, homeowners are obliged to ‘engage a registered renovation contractor who is registered by the Board’.
Other examples of renovation jobs that also require you to hire a contractor approved by the authorities include plumbing (approved by PUB), gas service works (licensed by EMA) and window installation (authorised by BCA).
Thinking about trying your luck? Think again.
In the event that any unauthorised work is discovered, you are legally required to restore your flat to its original condition on top of bearing all associated costs,.
But what if your chosen interior design firm isn’t listed under HDB’s list? That shouldn’t be a problem, so long as the works are handled by approved sub-contractors associated with your designer’s company. For extra reassurance, you can also check out genuine homeowner reviews on Qanvast to get a better idea of their work quality.
5. Don’t inconvenience the neighbours
It is true that a good neighbour is better than a distant friend, but it takes two hands to clap for things to work. One simple way that you can show consideration for the people living next door is by following HDB's rules on noise control.
Noisy renovation works are absolutely prohibited on weekends, public holidays and the eve of major public holidays. On regular weekdays, heavy works like tile-cutting, drilling and demolishing of internal structures should only be carried out from 9am to 6pm.
6. Delve into the nitty-gritty details
Did you know that you are legally allowed to install a spa pool in your home?(!)
However, that is provided your chosen tub is ready-made, not manufactured using bricks or hollow bricks, and does not exceed 400kg in total weight. But having a fancy bathroom should not be the only reason why you should take note of the minute (technical) details.
Renovation works like installing a false ceiling or replacing a door frame may not require HDB's approval to be carried out, but they are subject to certain caveats concerning measurements, fixture movements and materials that may affect your plans.
Always remember, knowledge is power. Plus, you will never know what interesting renovation facts that you may stumble upon while doing your research!
Don't feel confident about renovating on your own?
We have the perfect, fuss-free solution. Just let us link you up with renovation professionals. Simply request for a quote here, and get personalised ID recommendations.
Plus, renovate with a peace of mind when you engage an interior firm with us. Safeguard up to $50,000 of your renovation deposits under the Qanvast Guarantee!