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What is HDB’s Home Improvement Program (HIP) and How Does It Help You?

May 23, 2022
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In short, it’s HDB’s solution to wear-and-tear in older flats.

Wear-and-tear is a common occurrence in HDB flats as they age. So, as part of HDB’s efforts to combat maintenance issues, the Home Improvement Programme (or HIP in short) was launched in 2007 as a way of keeping older homes in tip-top shape.

HDB Home Improvement Programme

Since HIP’s inception, it has heavily subsidised the cost of refreshing about 320,000 flats built in 1986 or earlier. And after the Programme was extended in 2018 to HDB flats built between 1987 – 1997, an estimated further 230,000 homes will stand to benefit from upgrading works!

How does your block qualify for the Housing Improvement Programme?

Eligible precincts that are shortlisted for the HIP will be published on HDB’s website (the list is accessible here), following which, there will be a poll held amongst the residents of the precinct to decide whether upgrading works will take place. Take note that a 75% majority in favour of upgrading is needed to determine whether a precinct will undergo the HIP.

What is included in the scope of the Housing Improvement Programme?

Under the HIP, there will be several enhancements made to an HDB flat to boost its safety and liveability, across 3 categories: 1) Essential improvements, 2) Optional improvements, and 3) Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) upgrades.

1. Essential Improvements

HDB Home Improvement Programme

Signs of concrete spalling on an overhead column.

Essential improvements are compulsory works that’ll be carried out for public health and safety, which is why their costs are fully borne by HDB for homes belonging to Singapore citizens. A list of works that are covered under this category is as follows:

  • Repair of spalling concrete/structural cracks
  • Replacement of waste/soil discharge pipes
  • Installation of new clothes drying rack to replace pipe sockets for hanging poles
  • Upgrading of electrical load to handle appliances with higher power consumption needs

2. Optional Improvements

HDB Home Improvement Programme

An HDB flat bathroom after HIP upgrades.

Optional improvements aren’t compulsory, and homeowners are free to choose to have some, all, or none of these upgrades performed. In other words, they only need to pay for the items that they have opted in for – and at highly-subsidised prices! Opt-in/outs for optional improvements can be made during the polling period.

Works that fall under optional improvements include:

  • Upgrading of bathroom tiles (wall and floor) and sanitary fittings
  • Installation of new fire-rated OR non-fire-rated main door
  • Installation of new metal grille gate
  • Replacement of old refuse hopper with new one (for applicable HDB units)

3. Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) upgrades

HDB Home Improvement Programme

An HDB flat entrance upgraded with a ramp for wheelchair accessibility.

Launched in 2012, the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme aims to create a safer and more comfortable living environment for the elderly at home. Under EASE, upgrades like slip-resistant tile treatments, ramps, and grab bars are added to the interiors of HDB flats so that they become safer and more comfortable to live in.

And just like upgrades that fall under the Optional improvements category, homeowners are only required to pay for the EASE items that they’ve opted in for, which they can likewise select during the polling period.

Improvements that can be added under the EASE programme include:

  • Application of slip-resistant tile treatments for bathrooms
  • Addition of grab bars (where feasible in an HDB flat)
  • Addition of a single-step ramp outside the main entrance OR a portable/customised ramp for entrances with multiple steps where technically feasible

How much does it cost to upgrade a flat under the Home Improvement Programme?

If you’re a Singapore citizen, good news! All Essential improvements are fully funded by the Government for Singaporean households. And for Optional improvements, you’ll only have to fork out a fraction of the cost as there are subsidies of up to 95% (based on HDB flat size) so that these upgrades are affordable for homeowners.

Furthermore, you can pay for HIP upgrades either in cash OR by tapping on your CPF savings. Below are two tables that show the approximate amounts that you’ll need to pay for Optional as well as EASE improvements.

Cost table for Optional Improvements

Flat TypeAmount You PayAmount the Government Pays
1, 2, and 3-room$550 (5%)95%
4-room$825 (7.5%)92.5%
5-room$1,100 (10%)90%
Executive flat$1,375 (12.5%)87.5%

Cost table for Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)

Flat TypeAmount You PayAmount the Government Pays
1, 2, and 3-room$125 - $192 (5%)95%
4-room$187.50 - $288 (7.5%)92.5%
5-room$294 - $384 (10%)90%
Executive flat$312 - $480 (12.5%)87.5%

This article was adapted from MyNiceHome, HDB’s official website for all things related to home buying and renovation in Singapore. Check out the original article here.

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