How to Inspect Your New HDB Flat and Rectify Any Defects
What to do if you discover defects in your BTO flat.
Getting an HDB flat move-in ready isn’t just about hunting for a comfortable bed/sofa/table or scouring the Internet for renovation ideas. Sometimes, you could potentially be faced with issues such as surface cracks or squeaky hinges after arriving at your new home. So, the question is: What’s next?
Well, for a start, you can get familiarised with the various (unwelcome) defects that could come with your new HDB flat as well as the steps in the home inspection process, from checking for faults to reporting and rectification. So, keep scrolling!
What defects are covered for newly finished HDB flats?
If you’re a new homeowner, the most important thing to know is that your HDB flat will be covered by a warranty within 1 year from the date of key collection under the Defects Liability Period (DLP), during which you’ll be able to report any faults to your estate’s Building Service Centre (BSC) to get them fixed.
But on to the details, according to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA)’s homeowners’ guide, here are some typical defects that you might run into during a home inspection, and also what they’ll probably look like:
1. Inconsistent floor tonality
Image credit: BCA
For flooring with wood finishes, the tonality of planks should look consistent throughout your home.
Likewise, for ceramic, marble and granite floor finishes, you might encounter tone variations but these ‘defects’ along with open veins and pinholes aren’t always the result of faulty manufacturing or workmanship and could simply be natural (and fixable) characteristics inherent to these finishes. So, take note!
2. Floor cracks and indentations
Regardless of flooring finish or tile used (wood, ceramic, marble, granite or otherwise), there should be no visible cracks, chip-offs or scratches visible from a distance of 1.5m. Additionally, after the defect is patched up, do make sure to check if the touched up area(s) closely matches the existing material’s colour.
3. Wall cracks and indentations
As with floor cracks, the surface of your wall should be visually smooth from a distance of about 1.5m and also free of defects, such as cracks, indentations, peel offs, chipping and paint blisters. If a wall is tiled (e.g. bathroom walls), the tile joints should be straight and consistent.
4. Chipping, peeling or cracked ceiling paint
Image credit: BCA
If your ceiling has been painted, it should be free of brush marks and there shouldn’t be any dampness, patchiness or inconsistent colours. Likewise, there shouldn’t be any cracks, chipping (which can be caused when water from a leak enters a fresh coat of paint) or pinholes (small craters that form in paint during the drying process).
5. Squeaky windows, door hinges or built-in mechanisms
For sliding doors in areas like the bathroom, yard and kitchen, do make sure to check if they slide smoothly along the track and close snugly. There should also be no squeaking sounds when the door is being opened and closed.
In the case of hinged doors, do also check to see if the door frame and door leaf (the door’s movable panel) are flushed and aligned when closed.
6. Rusty knobs, handles, hinges and other fittings
Whether they are hinge mechanisms, hinge screws, door handles, window hinges or shower handles, make sure that all of your new HDB flat’s fittings are free of rust and stains. They should be well-fitted as well and shouldn’t have any unnecessary gaps between them.
How to inspect your flat, report defects and get them rectified
While the list of examples above illustrates typical defects that you might encounter during a check, it is by no means exhaustive, so it’s important that you go over all of your HDB flat’s surfaces, rooms and fittings with a fine-tooth comb to fix out all the kinks.
For instance, if you have finishes installed as part of the Optional Component Scheme (OCS), do get (read: beg, borrow, but don’t steal) a spirit level to check if these surfaces are evenly levelled.
Likewise, checking all of your home’s pipes and nearby surfaces (ceiling and walls) for dampness could help you identify an early ceiling leak or water seepage issue, if there’s one.
After you discover a fault, be sure to mark it out with tape and take a photo. After which, you can consolidate your flat’s defects, list them out in HDB’s defect feedback form, and submit it to your estate’s BSC or via HDB InfoWeb.
And last but not least, it’s highly recommended that you inspect your flat right after receiving the keys and report any defects within 7 days of key collection. This way, any defects can be resolved before your renovation begins and ensures your moving-in plans stay on track!