Getting started with a home interior design project is really exciting but you have to be careful to refrain from breaking the rules. The Singapore Housing and Development Board has certain requirements as far as apartment remodelling goes. Certified and licensed Singapore interior design professionals are aware of these legislative requirements and they can shed more light on the terms and conditions.
HDB Renovation and Remodelling Rules: An Overview
The most important prerequisite to keep in mind is that you need to hire a HDB Registered Renovation Contractor for all of the remodelling work you plan to do on the apartment. Your interior design company in Singapore can give you recommendations about contractors that can do a good job.
As far as a few specialised remodelling projects go, you may also have to look for licensed and certified experts. Some of these include:
- A plumber licensed by the Singapore water department if the project will involve change or substation of pipes
- For sanitary work, you will have to hire plumbers registered with the Singapore Plumbing Society
- Window replacement contractors should also be HDB-licensed
- The Energy Market Authority is the one that licenses and certifies electrical installation professionals
Apart from opting for contractors that are certified by the right authority, you may also have to acquire a permit for the remodelling of your HDB apartment. The HDB Guidelines for Building and Sanitary Work provide additional information about the instances in which a permit has to be sought.
Even if a HDB permit is not required to commence the execution, you will still have to adhere to the HDB guidelines for interior design changes and property renovations. Otherwise, work will be counted as unauthorised. Unauthorised projects have to be discontinued and the changes will need to be reverted.
If you carry out unauthorised work or you don’t obtain a permit in cases when such is essential, it’s also possible to face an administrative fine. The sanction will be in the range from 100 to 600 dollars and it will depend both on the nature and the scope of the work.
Types of Work Requiring an HDB Permit
Working with a licensed HDB interior design Singapore professional will be imperative to make sure you’re adhering to all administrative requirements. Your interior designer will take a deeper look at the scope of work you plan to have done. Based on your idea, the designer will let you know whether you will need to apply for a HDB permit.
There are several kinds of interior design and remodelling work necessitating the permission of the Housing and Development Board. Here’s a breakdown:
- Flooring: the flooring projects that cannot be carried out without HDB approval include taking out the existing flooring and installing new and slightly increasing the height of the floors in the kitchen and the bathroom. There are also guidelines applying to projects that don’t require the HDB permission. The total thickness of the floor finish, for example, cannot exceed 50 millimetres.
- Changing door locations: you cannot change the position of a door in the apartment without coordinating such remodelling projects with the HDB first. This is essential to ensure the right placement (for example, you cannot tear down a structural pillar for the purpose of changing the position of a door).
- Archway creation: just like changing the placement of a door, you can’t tear down a wall to create an archway without the approval of the Housing and Development Board. There are also guidelines for the work. The demolition of walls has to begin from the ceiling and the workers should move down afterwards.
- Railing replacement: to get rid of outdated railing and add something a bit more contemporary to the apartment, you will need to get an HDB permit and you’ll also need the approval of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).
- The replacement and installation of windows: the need for a permit applies to all windows in the apartment, except for the internal ones. Apart from needing a permit, you’ll also have to follow replacement guidelines. These refer to the size, the tint and the colour of the glass. The sliding should also be chosen to resemble that of the original window in the HDB apartment.
- Bathroom expansion: if your bathroom is tiny and you’d like to maximise the area, you will need to get a permit for the expansion.
- Bathroom walls and floors: if you are moving in a brand new HDB apartment, you do not have the right to change the bathroom finishes in the first three years. New HDB apartments feature some waterproofing in the bathroom. This is the main reason why requests for changing the flooring and the wall tiles will typically be turned down.
How to Comply with HDB Requirements and Carry Out Successful Apartment Remodelling
The restrictions mentioned above are not the only ones imposed by the HDB. In fact, you can easily get lost in the renovation guidelines and requirements. There are standards for every single change that you may want to do. As a result, be prepared to deal with the administrative processes before moving on to the actual work.
It is very important to hire HDB-licensed interior design professionals. These interior designers know the guidelines and the restrictions by heart. They’ll consult you about what’s possible and how certain aspects of the project should be modified for the purpose of ensuring HDB compliance.
The Home Guide team consists of HDB-certified interior designers who have extensive experience in apartment remodelling and upgrades. We know what it takes to meet all requirements and give you a dream home without breaking the rules.
If you have questions about the HDB standards and about freshening up your apartment, contact us right now. We will do our best to answer all of your questions and provide relevant information to enable the initiation of renovation work as soon as possible.