What Does it Take to Be CaseTrust Accredited? An ID Tells Us
Whether it’s setting expectations right or being completely frank about the renovation industry, Posh Living founder Henry Ong has never been one to shy away from the hard facts.
Founder Henry, in center, fifth from the left.
‘Hefty markups are rife in this industry, which has given many people the misconception that a hiring an interior designer is an expensive endeavour,’ he explains.
Having seen this huge gap between quality design, workmanship and price, the seasoned designer sought to address the issue by setting up his own firm, Posh Living Interior. It’s aim? To provide quality renovation works at reasonable, accessible prices.
Through good business practices and an emphasis on transparency, Posh Living’s honest dedication to creating homes has paid off. Case in point? The firm was recently awarded its CaseTrust accreditation, a testament to its consistent service and reliability.
Opening up about all things renovation, we chat with Henry as he shares with us about Posh Living’s story, future plans and valuable tips for a safer, more fulfilling renovation.
Qanvast (Q): Tell us the story behind Posh Living – how did it come to be?
Henry (H): Having worked more than a decade in this line, I noticed how hefty markups and hidden costs have made it hard for homeowners to achieve a quality renovation at a reasonable cost. I wanted to make things accessible – bringing good workmanship and design at transparent prices, and that was how the idea of Posh Living first came about.
Q: What about the name, 'Posh Living'? Any story behind that?
H: We wanted something that could convey the upscale feel one would commonly associate living in a well-designed, well-made space. Thus, we felt that the name ‘Posh Living’ managed to reflect that.
Q: How does Posh Living stand out against other interior firms?
H: We believe in educating homeowners and setting the right expectations from the get go. Often, the root of most disputes are the result of miscommunication and false information on the firms’ part. That’s why we strive to be as honest and open with our clients, especially when it comes to their budget or expectations on the quality of work.
H: For instance, many homeowners have the misconception that a budget of $10,000 is able to get them a totally done-up home. This is the result of low-balling firms or contractors who promise these prices to unassuming clients. What they may not be aware of is that these quotes may not include other hidden costs that the firm/contractor might add on along the way, or the fact that every home is different. Yes, $10,000 may be enough to properly do up a new 1-room condo that already comes with flooring, kitchen and bathroom fittings, but for a resale HDB flat, it may only be enough to cover certain areas.
Q: So, what ideal budget range should homeowners look at for a decent renovation?
H: For most condos and HDBs, a budget of at least $25,000 to $30,000 should be enough for a complete renovation that’s decently done-up.
Q: What else does Posh Living do to provide homeowners a more fulfilling renovation experience?
H: We are CaseTrust-accredited, which provides homeowners an extra peace of mind knowing that there’s a third party who’s monitoring our standards in service. Also, CASE actually provides a protection programme that safeguards 100% of the homeowner’s deposit in the case of closure, winding up or liquidation of the company.
H: In fact, in order to be listed under CaseTrust, firms will need to be audited and maintain less than 5 complaints per year to be qualified. It’s a testament to how much we at Posh Living emphasise on providing quality services and building trust through fair business practices and cost transparency.
Q: In your opinion, are there any important aspects homeowners shouldn’t overlook when choosing an interior designer?
H: Especially for HDB renovations, go with an interior firm that holds its own HDB licence; not just the sub-contractors that it works with! It’s important for both parties to hold this licence, as it ensures that 1.) the designer knows the relevant regulations and restrictions regarding the design of the flat, and 2.) the contractor and its workers are aware of the works they are restricted (or allowed) to execute.
Q: How about the quality of works? Is there anything homeowners should be aware of?
H: Quality of workmanship is highly subjective. While we do make clear to clients that it is the firm’s responsibility to install well fitted pieces, each carpentry piece is ultimately handmade. And that means the quality of finishes isn’t always 100% perfect all the time.
H: Likewise, I’d advise homeowners to think twice about getting electricals like fans and lights from overseas countries like Malaysia or China. While they may be cheaper, they are often not approved by the proper government agencies. Basically, if a short circuit or fire breaks out due to these faulty electrical pieces, your home insurance may not cover the damages caused by it! Sometimes, you pay more at local stores, because they are paying for the relevant approvals (quality checks, testing, inspections) to get them stocked here – so it might be wiser choice for the sake of your home’s protection.
Q: Finally, what’s the biggest achievement for Posh Living so far?
H: Getting genuine compliments from customers and knowing that we were able to create a cosy, done-up space they can call home to. It makes it all worthwhile to go the extra mile when homeowners tell us how grateful they are for the time and effort we’ve put into the project.
Q: And, any future plans for Posh Living in the works?
H: Perhaps opening two more offices in the North and South? Then we’ll cover all ends of Singapore! (Laughs)