Understanding the do’s and don’ts when renovating your HDB homes

Home Renovation Do's & Dont's

Many flat owners are anxious when they first receive their keys from housing development board (HDB) and dive right into the renovation process immediately. But little do they know that their renovation works have flouted the rules set out by HDB. Hence, it is important to understand some basic renovation restrictions before commencing any renovation works.

Here are some of the guides on the do’s and dont’s when renovating your new homes.

Some interior designers may propose layout which requires hacking of existing walls to make the living space look much bigger. This is only possible if the wall is non-load bearing. Existing reinforced concrete walls are the main structural elements of the buildings, hence no modification works should be carried out on these walls. Look out for our next blog post on how to identify structural wall that should not be tampered with during renovation works.

A professional engineer (PE) for civil works should be engaged to endorse the structural stability before hacking off any non-load bearing wall. All demolition works are to be carried out only after obtaining HDB’s approval.

2. Replacement of floor finishes

The erratic weather may cause dramatic expansion and contractions which could lead to tiles popping. Therefore it is mandatory for pre-packed screed to be used for dry areas since 1st June 2015. Contractors are required to use pre-packed waterproofing screen and membrane at wet area before laying new floor finishes. Waterproofing membrane should be upturned minimum 150mm against internal walls and kerbs.

3. False ceilings

HDB stipulates the requirement for a clearance height of 2.4m from floor finished level (FFL). Home owners have to ensure sufficient ceiling height especially when there are false ceiling and platform construction. Homeowners to note that gas pipe should not be enclosed within the false ceiling. Contractor is to ensure that the false ceiling including cornices, pelmet and decorative panels must be constructed with non-combustible materials.

4. Household shelters

Household shelters also known as bomb shelters are considered as important structural component which must not be tampered with during renovation works. These includes the reinforcement walls, floor slab, ceiling and steel doors, hence any structural hacking works are strictly not permitted. HDB also stipulated that any fixtures that are not able to be easily removed during emergency are also not permitted in the shelter.

Painting over the door notice, locking bolts or door seal are strictly not allowed. Existing paint should be removed before applying the new coat to prevent any difficulty in closing and opening of the door. Over the years, we have clients who requested us to remove the steel ventilation plate cover, which is permitted by HDB. But do note that the plate, bolts and nuts are to be mounted or kept together for use when needed. HDB also permits the closing of up to 75% of the ventilation openings to be covered by a removable fixture.

5. Bathroom works

There is a 3 years period for new build-to-order (BTO) homeowners to not remove any walls and floor finishes in the bathroom. This is to prevent any damages to the waterproofing membrane which might cause leakage to the adjacent units. Homeowner can proceed if the interior designers suggest to have tiles overlay on the existing ones.

After the 3 years period, homeowners can obtain a permit from HDB to enlarge their bathroom. This is possible provided that the area does not exceed 0.6m2 and 600mm in width. The extension can only be used as a dry area such as for wash basin and additional shelving. Existing gas riser and branch pipe must not be enclosed within this newly extended area.

6. Main entrance door

Permit is not required for installation and replacement of main entrance gate as long as there is no change to the existing leaves, size and shape of the gate. However, if homeowners want to replace the existing door or frame, it must be of an half hour fire rating installed with door closer. The fire door and frame must have a certified PSB label pasted on it. HDB permit is required before replacement of any door or frame.

7. Windows

One of the most common renovation works is the installation of grilles at service yard for new new build-to-order (BTO) homeowners. Newly installed grilles must be of HDB approved design such as width of the window panel.

For existing homeowners who are intending to change their damage window frame, it is required to obtain HDB’s approval before carrying out any window replacement works. A qualified person will have to submit relevant documents to BCA before commencement of works. The replacement window will have to comply with HDB approved design such as location of window metal grilles.

Interior designers and contractors should be familiar and able to provide homeowners with advice when renovating their property. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the renovation scene in Singapore. We often meet homeowners who suffered losses due to the lack of knowledge from their engaged ID or contractors. Therefore it is crucial to check these restrictions online before starting your renovation process.

Feel free to consult us to understand more on the various renovation requirements. We pledge to provide you with our best service. Contact us now for your home renovation consultation!