HDB’s Optional Component Scheme (OCS) may come with useful perks, such as payment via CPF and a ready-to-move-in home, but is it really worth it?
If you’re planning to buy a new HDB flat, one of the first things you may end up needing to decide on is whether to opt in for the Optional Component Scheme (OCS). And while it seems like a cost-effective way to outfit your home with the essential finishes and fittings it needs, the truth is that going for the OCS isn’t always the right choice.
Why, you may ask? It’s because there are alternatives – both price and design-wise – that might work better for you, your home, and your wallet. Keep reading to find out what your options are!
What you get with the Optional Component Scheme (OCS)
So, when we say ‘essential finishes and fittings’ that come with the OCS, what does that include? According to HDB's page, the following can be bought under the scheme:
Internal doors: For 3-room flats, this includes 2 bedroom doors and 2 bathroom doors (total of 4 doors); for 4-room flats and 5-room flats, 3 bedroom doors and 2 bathroom doors (total of 5 doors).
Flooring: Vinyl floor strips are provided for the bedrooms, while polished porcelain tiles are used in the living/dining area (including the dry kitchen, where applicable).
Sanitary fittings: This includes a wall-mounted wash basin with tap mixer as well as a shower set with a bath/shower mixer for both the common and master bathrooms.
Do note that the following items come with your new 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-room or 3Gen HDB flat regardless of whether you opt in or not for the OCS scheme:
- Floor finishes (for kitchen, household shelter, service yard and bathrooms)
- Wall tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Toilets in each bathroom
Which is more affordable? The OCS or renovating on your own?
One of the biggest advantages of the OCS is that it allows homeowners to pay for their renovation (or at least, some parts of it) through CPF – this can be a boon for anyone with a tight budget or is unwilling to fork out too much upfront.
Based on prices from HDB and estimated figures (courtesy of Artspaze), here’s an idea of how the OCS stacks up to hiring an interior designer when it comes to getting the job done.
Breakdown of OCS and Interior Designer Prices
The OCS offers two packages to homeowners, one for flooring and another for internal doors with sanitary fittings, and they’re priced differently for 3-room and 4-room units.
According to HDB, the OCS flooring package will set you back $3,340 for a 3-room unit, whereas the cost is $4,970 for a 4-room unit and $6,060 for a 5-room unit. As for the OCS internal doors and sanitary fittings package, it’s priced at $2,770 for 3-room units and $3,180 for both 4-room units and 5-room units.
And, compared side-by-side to the costs of engaging an ID...
|Flooring for Living/Dining and Bedrooms
|Internal Doors and Sanitary Fittings
|$3,640 - $4,320
|$4,120 - $4,870
|$4,120 - $4,870
Average size of a BTO flat living/dining rooms: 280 sqft for 3-room unit / 320 sqft for 4-room unit/ 500 sqft for 5-room unit Total average size of BTO flat bedrooms: 220 sqft for 3-room unit / 400 sqft for 4-room unit/ 400 sqft for 5-room unit
Here's how we arrived at these numbers for ID costs:
Based on the final figures, one can make the case that the OCS offers flooring, internal doors and sanitary fittings at a more affordable price than interior designers for 3, 4 and 5-room flats.
Why it might be better to work with an interior designer
Now that we know which is more affordable, you should definitely opt in for the OCS… not! Based on what we’ve been told by both local homeowners as well as interior designers, it turns out that there’s good reason why you should hold your horses.
Based on a quick Q&A that we did on our Instagram account, some homeowners were quick to express their dissatisfaction with the flooring that was provided under the OCS due to reasons like the "vinyl flooring colours on the website [being] different from what they gave” and the “white polished porcelain in the living room [feeling] sticky”.
Interior designer Nivel Lim, who is the co-founder of Artspaze, outlines that there are various pros and cons to consider before opting in for the OCS scheme.
|Pros of opting in for the OCS scheme
|Cons of opting in for the OCS scheme
Nivel shares: “It’s tough to predict how your needs and financial situation will change over the four to five years before you get your BTO flat, so it’s understandable that the majority of homeowners (I’ve worked with) say they regret opting in. It’s mainly because the fittings provided aren’t what they’re looking for.
For example, most of the fittings have chrome finishes, which are difficult to maintain; after a while, you’ll find water stains and peeling. The bathroom sink comes with a porcelain stand at the bottom, which homeowners say isn’t aesthetically pleasing. On a practical note, they can’t use it as is and have to hack it away if they want a storage cabinet.”
To opt in, or not?
Depending on a combination of factors – namely your aesthetic preferences, practical needs, and finances – you may wish to either opt in for the OCS or stay out.
If you prefer to pay with your CPF funds instead of cash, opting in is the clear choice. But as mentioned, do note that the cost of the OCS is added to the total purchase price of your HDB flat, which also means it will roll with the interest on your housing loan.
On the flip side, if you already have a specific look in mind that doesn’t go well with the basic/entry-level fixtures and fittings which the OCS offers, don’t opt in and work with a private renovation professional instead. The same applies if you need more functional options at home (e.g. non-slip tiles for your elderly parents or young children).
Looking for professional renovation help?
Let us know your renovation requirements! Submit your request for an interior designer and receive quotes for free.
Plus, you will also be eligible for the Qanvast Trust Programme, which includes the $50,000 Qanvast Guarantee that safeguards your deposits!
(This article was originally published on 30 April 2019 and last updated on 18 April 2023. All facts and figures listed in this article are accurate as of 18 April 2023.)