The Safe Haven Interiors
Reviewed by Jasper Su JieLong・Submitted 2 Apr 2021・Project completed Dec 2020・Designer Kevin Teng
Our first home renovation experience from The Safe Haven Interiors was an absolute nightmare for any home owner. We had engaged The Safe Haven Interior’s Kevin Teng to renovate our newly purchased HDB resale flat on June 2020, with estimated completion date to be between 23 Aug – 6 Sep 2020, and it was handed over to us on 13 Nov. Throughout the entire process and even after handover, there were many major flaws we found, from incomplete works, to damaged and low quality carpentry, to bad communication and follow ups from ID, to his dishonest and disgruntled contractors just to mention a few. We had to take so much time away from work to deal with the many issues that constantly arose and we also had to extend our rental at our temporary accommodation and thus incurring extra costs as the handover date advised was inaccurate. As one of us works from home, it had also resulted in income loss while the other had to take leave from work to deal with the problems. We had to rectify so many issues on our own that we felt Kevin did not do his due diligence as an ID. We might as well have gotten a contractor on our own and paid a fraction of the price paid and gotten better quality works done. It is embarrassing that an ID would even have the audacity to handover a place in the condition ours was in. We had to also get a feng shui date chosen and paid for three different times because of the constant delays that were not openly relayed to us. It is very easy to see why we are reluctant to let him rectify the remaining issues. It is extremely disruptive to our daily lives, we do not trust him to keep to time lines set by himself, we doubt the quality of work done, and most of all we do not trust the dishonest people he engages to do works in our home, especially now when we have already moved in with all our belongings. We also find him highly unprofessional and irresponsible from beginning to end and we would rather live with the flaws and spend more money sourcing for others to fix the issues and guaranteeing a good job done than to go through further distress by dealing with him. The mental anguish caused cannot be solved in dollars and cents. From looking forward to an exciting new home and now we already can’t wait to move to the next place to put this terrible experience behind us. Everyday just being in this house is a reminder of what we have been put through. One of the first red flags of how unreliable he is was his unauthorised office location (which we believe has since been changed) and also not setting up a group chat which he said he would do, and which we had to do it ourselves. He is also not technically sound and has very poor knowledge in this trade. Every time we inform him of problems, he will first try to brush it off as a non-issue, and when we insist, then he will tell us that he will inform his contractor and get back to us, which he does not do. His dismissiveness and attempts to brush off problems is very concerning. He is also slow to respond to our queries but is always readily available when it comes to us making payment. As this will be a lengthy review, we will start backwards with listing the faults we are still currently living and then to the issues we faced along the way and it soon be clear why we understandably do not want him or any of his contractors entering our house ever again. ISSUES CURRENTLY OUTSTANDING: There are cracks from the ceiling to the floor in the following areas: - Common room - Living room - Master bedroom Entrance: Hole on wall outside main door from not patched Kitchen Dish drying rack is not of normal height. It is so high up someone has to be on tip-toes to place dishes Dish drying rack is slanted and of uneven height Kitchen cabinet door hinge screws are loose Carcass of kitchen cabinets damaged because of tightening of screws (door handles) Kitchen island and counters are slanted and of uneven height Kitchen condiments drawers are not soft close – it has to be manually pushed in all the way Kitchen drawers hit each other when opening both at the same time – can only open one at a time Kitchen cabinet handles are of uneven height – does not line up Base of cabinets and Kitchen Island not sealed properly – ants have been entering those gaps Uneven thickness of kitchen cabinet base Paint mark stains on kitchen terrazzo backsplash Joint lines on outside of kitchen laminate facing dining area was ‘patched up’ to look seamless, and then it split open and visible again shortly after In the agreement, kitchen doors and fixed panel frames were changed from mild steel to aluminum without our knowledge. When we found out the change, it was tried to pass off as giving us a better deal than what we wanted originally. We ended up sourcing and engaging someone else to fabricate and install it ourselves Common Bathroom: Peeling paint on sewage and water pipes Excess paint on shower hose and drainage pipes Tile grouting are unfilled in certain areas Sewage air valve in common bathroom was covered with cement and then silicone Storage heater was installed wrongly – heater was leaking and we were asked to contact supplier instead to replace stronger valve. But actually ID’s contractor had installed 2 pipes instead of the actual 3 pipes, so to rectify their mistake, a make shift rubber hose was installed instead and is still left dangling there until now as the replacement 3rd pipe There are scratches on the common bathroom sink and toilet bowl Master Bathroom: Master bathroom floor grouting are of different colours – some areas are white, some areas are dark grey Sewage air valve was covered with masking tape and then silicone Excess paint stains on stainless steel water pipes Master Bedroom: Master bedroom wardrobe carcass is chipped, dented and dirty Configuration of master bedroom wardrobe badly thought out – a panel at the corner has to be opened before being able to access panel next to it that has a push to open latch Master bedroom wardrobe door handles are of uneven height – does not line up Mater bedroom dressing table drawers uneven height, one higher than the other, rubbing when opening Master bedroom wardrobe door hinge screws are loose Master bedroom wardrobe door heights uneven when closed The mosaic tiles in the master bedroom are very badly scratched up and uneven. Apart from that, it should have been brought to our attention the minimum cost of that, so that we can decide to use it for a bigger area or do without it instead of spending all that money for that little bit of tiling Hacked wall entrance not smoot and is lumpy Rest of House: Rough finishing of walls Door handle screws tightened so much that it has split open and are damaged Fibre point should have been discussed earlier on where would we like it, it was after moving in that we had to have it pulled to the other end of the living room and casing had to be installed across the living room We were never given the option to select things like wall switch casings The renovation notice was not removed from the lift and we had to remove it on our own There was no cardboard protection despite being stated in agreement on the floors so it is badly scratched and some areas damaged ISSUES AFTER HANDOVER Entrance: There was a non-functioning doorbell, a hook and the old unit number on the wall outside the unit. It would have taken little effort and some initiative to remove those Kitchen: Kitchen island only opens from one side, therefore it is near impossible to store or reach for something that is all the way 90cm inside. 3D drawing given shows both sides opening, utilizing and maximizing all space for storage Kitchen island marble counter top had a big crack across it, and it was attempted to pass off as water vein. After we insisted it was a crack, it was proved to be so during the replacement when it split into two at where the crack was Gas stove was not connected Two panels of kitchen cabinet door were not installed at all, left lying around the house Kitchen laminates were splitting open at the edges Kitchen cabinet shelves are not able to withstand weight of normal kitchen appliances Kitchen counter top is slanted Kitchen sink was leaking Did not make water outlet for fridge which we had requested Common Bathroom: We found that the chrome bottle trap we had purchased had been replaced with a plastic one. After meeting up with the plumber and ID to find out where the missing piece went, as contractor claimed he couldn’t find the chrome one we had purchased. Kevin suggested he may have accidentally disposed of it, as invoices proved the delivery. This is extremely fishy and we would like to think that the intention was not to steal it if we had not noticed as we found other unused parts as well, and we worry that our toilet bowls are not with original fittings and connectors, which may lead to further complications. Drainage choked and flooded. ID was uncontactable. Finally when plumber came, there were a lot of stones were found inside the drain Bathroom door was installed only after handover Toilet bowl had problems – did not fill up with water, which we got toilet bowl supplier to fix, and found stones and sand in bidet spray pipes, toilet bowl water tank. Master Bathroom: Basin was choked and leaking Water heater switch was only located outside common bathroom and none outside master bathroom, i.e will have to turn on/off heater in common bathroom to use in master bathroom Basin tap weak flow Basin leaking Both bathrooms toilet bowl water tank was full of sand in the pipes, and therefore the water was unable to fill up, and unable to flush. We were told to contact the supplier instead when it was obviously the doing of contractors Master Bedroom: Dresser mirror was still not installed Wardrobe drawers were supposed to be soft close but they were not Wardrobe laminate edges were split open Damaged laminate on wardrobe doors Wardrobe shelves are sinking even without anything being placed on them Rest of House: Painting stains were not cleaned Debris were not disposed of and left piled outside house, we had to get him to arrange with town council to do so Unpainted ceiling and window frame edges, store room door was painted only on one side, the backside of the door was completely unpainted We were told after moving in to get our own air con supplier to install water outlet pipes despite reminding Kevin 7 times. As we did not use his aircon supplier, he could not help with the installation of water outlet pipes, resulting in refrigerator and oven supplier being unable to start the appliances to test and commission. We were not asked about electricity/cable points placement Store room inside was completely undone – back of door unpainted, hooks behind door not removed and patched, multiple holes in wall Hooks in walls and doors from previous owner- all not removed and patched Multiple built in pegs for laundry from previous owner (possibly to sun clothes) outside almost all windows of house was to be removed but wasn’t Chipped paint on walls not cleaned ISSUES DURING RENOVATION Workers had placed heavy items such as uninstalled basin on my brand new oven and all over the bare marble top that was unprotected Marble counter top had a big crack across it, and it was attempted to pass off as water vein Carpenter had also told us that in the best case scenario, the wardrobe would last about 3-5 years maximum There were no works happening for 3 weeks straight and we were not informed until we did weekly checks and found out for ourselves, we asked to be notified about delays once weekly but never got an update, only an apology and assurance that things will speed up from then on, and that he will prioritize our reno over his other projects even though they were ongoing before ours, which gives us an idea that he has his schedules mixed up, compromising all his other customer projects as well. Neighbours complained about works going on into the night, even threatening to call the police ID is never present onsite to monitor progress or to oversee contractors, resulting in contractors asking me about positioning and placement of finishings Quotation changes and updates to price increment were not told to us, we only found out of the discrepancies when comparing the items side by side When we asked about lighting delivery, he told us it would be the next day but when we checked with supplier ourselves, we were told that was not arranged Agreement stated cardboard protection but there was none, with construction items placed all over the flooring, and works like sawing and cutting tiles taking place on the unprotected flooring Plumber had told us some sink items were missing and we purchased the missing parts from him even though it cost way more than what it would otherwise be as he said he would be unable to proceed with installation without those missing parts and that he wasn’t going to come back if we got those on another day. $70 for 3 sink parts from him, which we now wonder if he had also pocketed himself, just like the bottle trap There was no initiative or effort. Just because we did not want to replace bedroom doors, it would be common sense to paint both sides of the door instead of just the front, and also to remove/replace the rusty door stoppers from the previous owner Every single window’s wall border were raised, rough and bumpy On random visits, we realized that the number lock was not locked and anyone could have entered the house that already had many electronics, appliances and furniture in the house We were asked to provide him with all our supplier contacts and he would arrange delivery time but he never did and we had to arrange most of the deliveries ourselves Revised quotation took a month
Reviewed by Lyn Lim・Submitted 1 Feb 2021・Project completed Jan 2020・Designer Kevin
We evaluated 5 IDs before engaging Kevin from Safe Haven as we had a very good impression with his ideas and his seemingly management of project. While the renovation went ahead with it's usual share of hiccups, our main frustration with Kevin was his management skills. Many of the promises and commitments that were made to us were often lapsed or forgotten. While we had raised it multiple times to Kevin, it never really improved. From the beginning, we had shared our expectations with Kevin, so it is not to say he was not aware of them. Hence the frustrations of working with him. Would we recommend Safe Haven? No, unless you are able to follow up very closely with the project.
Reviewed by Cyrus Yung・Submitted 12 Jul 2019・Project completed Nov 2017・Designer Kevin Teng
We used The Safe Heaven’s interior design service for our kitchen and living room. Kevin was able to help us choose the tiles and colour of our cabinets. We went to choose the design of the tiles and he even encourage us to take a bold step to choose a very different nice looking tiles, that made my kitchen look as if it has 2 featured walls. Kevin was able to customised to what we want in the functions of the cabinets and make it possible for us to have more storage yet look good in style. Thank you The Safe Heaven and Kevin.