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‘Our Renovation Was a Nightmare, Learn from Our Mistakes’

Renovation is a huge endeavour. A daunting process that has many components and aspects to consider. We get it - it’s not easy managing a renovation, and oversights or mistakes on the interior professional’s part are bound to occur.

But when does an innocent error become a full-blown nightmare? And what should you do to prevent it from happening? Here, three homeowners share their renovation horror stories – and dish out some helpful advice on avoiding (or dealing with) the mess of it all.

1. Slipshod work, burst pipes and bad working attitude

Renovation Horror Stories Singapore Homeowners
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Homeowner - Natalie*

We decided to engage Firm A* as we felt that the ID we spoke to was experienced and provided good design. However, problems soon cropped up when the renovation works started. Our ID gave us wrong information on the order of works, which led to us having to dismantle and re-do our invisible grilles and balcony flooring. The workers were careless, damaging and sloppily fixing our existing timber flooring, despite warnings. Works were delayed by 3 weeks by then, and we had already sold our previous house. As a result, we had to ask our homebuyer to allow us to extend our stay.

After moving in, we realised that the workers had accidentally burst a water pipe and did a slip shod job of patching it back. As a result, dirty water had been leaking into the our neighbour's unit below! When pressed, the ID simply left us to fend for ourselves, telling us to apply for our own HDB permits.

But the icing on the cake was the irresponsible attitude given. Our initial ID threw the project to a junior designer to manage despite his promises to handle the project. We even caught the junior designer lying about being on-site, when we were clearly in the house and she was not. The entire experience was exhausting and stressful.

Natalie's Words of Advice

Don’t totally rely or trust their words. Granted, not all interior professionals are like that, but it pays to be vigilant and safeguard yourself from any mishaps. Make it a point to go down to the site regularly and monitor the progress yourself.

2. Two-month long renovation delay and repeat mistakes

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Homeowner - Drea

We first met our ID through the seller of the resale unit we were buying. The firm was rather reputable, and the previous owner of the house had used them for their renovation. Despite that, the entire renovation was a struggle. Our initial timeline for works was three weeks, and we gave them a buffer of another three weeks before we had to move in. Yet, the renovation was delayed for almost two months from the stipulated date. We had to move in while the works were still ongoing!

We were panicking as two weeks before our move-in date, nothing was done. When we highlighted the issue to our ID, she simply replied ‘noted’, with no other follow up. We were left hanging, and we had to call, text and chase her every day to get updates.

There were quite a few errors made too. For instance, our walls were painted the wrong colour, and the workers had to repaint, adding to the delay. Mistakes and defects spotted took forever to rectify. We had to constantly remind, and despite telling the ID what needed to be done, she’d always come back asking the same questions, which was frustrating.

Drea's Words of Advice:

Always double check with your ID on the materials used, as you’ll be paying for it and make sure to give yourself ample buffer time, unless you’re not in a rush to move in. Never feel obliged to comply to whatever the ID suggests, as this is after all your home. But most importantly, don’t let the bad stuff and stress diminish the joy of creating a home.

3. Holes and gaps, shoddy workmanship and roach infestations

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Homeowner - Erica*

One year after the renovation with Firm B*, we discovered shoddy workmanship and a lot of unsealed gaps at joints for our trunkings, which led to our home being riddled with cockroaches on a daily basis!

Our kitchen piping next to the chute had a 50-cent coin sized gap, and an even bigger one under our built-in cabinet. We highlighted this to the ID, who sent a worker down to seal the gaps. Even so, the guy they sent didn’t even have the proper tools and did a messy job.

We thought that was the end of the problem, but we still had cockroaches popping up in our living room, bedroom and even our bathroom. Turns out, there were even more hidden gaps under our sockets, near our skirting and above the air con unit where the cockroaches could hide! Up till today, we’re still dealing with roaches, and there’s nothing much we can do - it has been so long since the renovation! We even keep our lights on at night so that we can spot the cockroaches, which in turn has caused our electrical bills to go up.

Erica's Words of Advice:

We placed a lot of trust in our ID to get the job done right, but unfortunately it did not pan out well for us. I’d encourage homeowners to play a more active role, doing more spot checks and site visits during the renovation instead of leaving it all up to the ID. This way, any problems can be rectified at once.

*Some names of the homeowners and interior firms have been changed/omitted for privacy.

Don't lose faith just yet.

Just as there are renovation disasters, there are success stories of homes wonderfully handled and built up by worthy, reliable designers.

That story can be yours - all it takes is to know how to sift out the bad from the good. And we can help. Read unbiased reviews and ratings of interior firms from verified homeowners on our Professionals page to make a better decision.

When you’ve decided on the interior professional you’d like to work with, request for a quote to connect with them. All recommended IDs from Qanvast will be eligible for the Qanvast Guarantee, which safeguards up to 50% of your renovation deposits up to $50,000. Renovating a home has never been easier – or safer.

Renovate with assurance, only on Qanvast. Find and meet interior designers verified by homeowners, with no hidden costs and no commissions involved. Find an ID

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