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HDB-Registered Firms: What Do You Need to Know?

March 1, 2018

Ready to transform your blank slate of a HDB flat? Hold up – before you engage someone to sledgehammer (aka christen) your place, have you checked if the interior designer/contractor you’re working with is HDB-Registered?

Not just another fancy title, homeowners are actually required to engage HDB-Registered firms to carry out works. If that’s news, worry not – in this guide, we'll cover everything you’ll need to know about HDB licensed firms, and what to look out for in choosing the right one.

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: Icon Interior Design

Why is it important to engage a HDB-Registered firm?

It’s illegal to carry out works without one. While it can be easy to assume that all IDs and contractors are equipped to renovate HDBs (considering how majority of Singapore’s housing are public flats) – that’s not the case.

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: Voila

Firms that are HDB-Registered are essentially those who are acknowledged to be aware of HDB’s renovation requirements. They are also required to ensure that:

  1. Works done do not affect the structural integrity of the building
  2. Is conducted safely
  3. Do not pose a nuisance to surrounding neighbours

But, that doesn’t mean HDB endorses or guarantees the quality of works. Ultimately, engaging any of them means a contract between you and the firm, not with HDB. Thus, any issues or disputes will have to be handled privately, or with mediation centres like CASE or the Small Claims Tribunal.

For the full list of licensed firms, check out HDB’s List of Registered Renovation Contractors here.

Wait, what if the ID firm I’d like to work with isn’t HDB-Registered?

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: Juz Interior

It’s a common misconception, but you don’t necessarily need to engage an ID firm that’s HDB-Registered. Why? Interior designers don’t often execute renovations themselves – instead they outsource it to sub-contractors who handle the manual work. And HDB’s licensing scheme is targeted specifically to ensure works are carried out correctly.

Thus, rest assured that you can still work with a reputable (albeit) non-registered interior designer. Just make sure to check with your ID that the sub-cons they are working with are HDB-Registered.

Picking a HDB-Registered firm: What else should you look out for?

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: KDOT Associates

Now, there’s more to choosing a reliable firm to carry out your HDB’s renovation than having a ‘HDB-Registered’ label. Here are two important factors that might tip the scales on who you should pick:

Demerit Points System

In line with making sure that contractors and interior designers abide to HDB’s renovation guidelines and administrative rules, all firms are subject to a Demerit Points System (DPS).

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: Meter Square

When a contractor/ID is found to flout any rules (like carrying out renovation during public holidays, or using an unauthorized tool), they are slapped with demerit points. If a firm receives more than 24 demerit points within 24 months – their license will be suspended for a year. Alternatively, if they commit a major infringement, suspension could range from 3 – 5 years.

While not necessarily a deal-breaker, a clean record free from infringements is a good reflection of an ID/contractor’s adherence to rules and work ethic. In fact, HDB keeps an archive of infringements for each of its registered firms on its e-Service portal – which you can check out here.

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: Prozfile Design

Check out these demerit-free firms on Qanvast:

Registration Expiry Date

A HDB license isn’t a permanent thing – firms will need to renew their registration before they are permitted to carry out works. To play it safe, do remember to check out and confirm a firm’s registration expiry date on its profile at HDB’s e-Service portal before committing.

For a safer experience, consider a CaseTrust Accredited Renovation Business

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: EC Vision Design

We don’t mean to shade, but trust is a word that’s thrown around a lot (and not often found) in the interior industry. And unfortunately, being ‘HDB-Registered’ doesn’t mean much in providing homeowners assurance that a firm won’t cheat or run away with their money. That’s where CaseTrust’s Accredited Renovation Business scheme comes in helpful.

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: Hue Concept Interior Design

This scheme requires firms to protect a client’s deposit payment through the purchase of a deposit performance bond. The bond thus ensures that a homeowner’s monies is safe in the event of closure, liquidation or if the company winds up.

All Accredited Renovation Businesses also go through a stringent process to ensure they have a good track record in cost transparency and good business practices. Homeowners can expect clear documentation and policies on fees and refunds, as well as clearly defined dispute resolution mechanisms.

HDB Registered Firms in Singapore

Interior Designer: In Expat

Casetrust Accredited (and HDB-Registered) IDs on Qanvast

Need more assurance? There’s always the Qanvast Guarantee

Don’t see any that you like above? You can still get a peace of mind; homeowners who engage an ID from our list of recommended designers are eligible to opt-in for the Qanvast Guarantee! The Guarantee ensures that your renovation deposits are safeguarded up to $50,000 or 50% of your contract value (whichever is lower) in the event an ID becomes insolvent.

For more details + terms and conditions, read more here.

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