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Will HDB Home Renovation in Singapore Guidelines Become More Lenient?

Will HDB Home Renovation in Singapore Guidelines Become More Lenient?

What does it take to carry out the perfect HDB apartment renovation in Singapore? That’s a challenging question with several possible answers. The selection of the right Singapore interior design team? The selection of the right materials? Having a clear vision?

All of these happen to be incredibly important for complete satisfaction with the final outcome but there’s another essential that happens to be a bit more practical.

In order to renovate your HDB apartment, you need to obtain all of the required permits and you have to follow the guidelines formulated by the Housing and Development Board.

These guidelines affect just about every aspect of the renovation – from windows, to plumbing and electrical work, HVAC installations and wall demolition.

Over the years, the HDB has been criticised numerous times for maintaining the rigidity of these guidelines. Are the legal requirements way too strenuous? Is there any chance of change and the introduction of some more leniency in the future?

The Current HDB Renovation Guidelines

The HDB renovation guidelines have been put together to maintain the structural integrity and overall visual cohesiveness of the building. You have a lot of freedom when it comes to interior decorative work like choosing the right paints and textures. Other aspects of the renovation, however, cannot be carried out in any way you deem appropriate.

You’re not allowed to overload the building structure through the addition of heavy stone flooring or a massive bathtub, for example. You also have to check the building plan to determine which walls can be modified or demolished and which ones have to remain as they are.

In addition, you can’t demolish columns or structural beams – these are also needed to maintain the integrity of the entire construction.

The HDB also regulates the raising of floors inside flats, building façade modifications and extensions into void areas.

Other kinds of renovation work are permissible only if you obtain a permit before getting started.

If you don’t know what kinds of permits will be required for your renovation, talk to an HDB-licensed Singapore home interior design company. Interior design professionals know how the Housing and Development Board approaches extensive renovation and which ones necessitate preliminary approval.

Generally, you will need a permit for wall demolition (when it comes to internal, non-structural walls), floor replacement, bathroom expansion and changing of the floor level. You can also reposition internal doors and install water-based features after you get an HDB permit.

Keep in mind that for brand new HDB flats, you will have to observe a waiting period before getting started with more extensive renovations.

Currently, the waiting period is three years for modifications to the bathroom. This period is set to ensure waterproofing and prevent water leaks immediately after the building has been completed and in the first years after residents move in.

In essence, these re the major aspects of the home renovation that the HDB controls. As you see, the list is quite extensive and it has resulted in massive criticism from both home owners and renovation professionals.

Way Too Strict: Will Guidelines Change in the Future?

Numerous experts in the field of residential renovations have publicly spoken about the excessively restrictive nature of the Housing and Development Board guidelines.

Renovation guidelines are especially unfavourable when it comes to the elderly and to people living with disabilities, reports suggest. The cost of modifying HDB flats to meet their needs is quite high. In addition, modifications introduced to ensure accessibility have to be reverted before the flat is returned to the HDB. This means that the owner will have to pay twice for work to be done on the property.

HDB flats come with a more or less generic layout. There’s a reason why these apartments cost less than privately-sold properties. The restrictions are a part of a package deal right now and it’s important for potential owners to know what they’re getting themselves into before purchasing.

When an experienced interior designer is involved in the project, it’s possible to carry out a complete overhaul without having to violate the HDB guidelines.

A touch of colour and a minimalist storage solution can transform small living spaces and give them a fresh vibe. Awkwardly-positioned niches don’t have to be filled in. There’s also no need to hack walls for the purpose of changing room shape. Accent colours can create a nice visual illusion to create a point of interest and maximise the value of the available space.

You can go around the requirement of the HDB to personalise the flat and make it your own. The big question, however, remains. Is there any chance for change in the future, giving HDB flat owners a bit more freedom?

It’s easy to see why the structural integrity and the building façade regulations are in place. What professionals hope for is a streamlined process that reduces the amount of time required to get renovation permits. An easier and faster procedure will make it much easier for new home owners to customise their living space and move in as soon as possible.

Choosing the Right Interior Design Team Matters

It’s very important to hire an experienced HDB interior designer, especially if you have very specific or niche requirements for the modification of the flat.

Home Guide has been working on HDB renovations for years and we’ve executed numerous residential interior design and renovation projects on behalf of our clients. We know what the Housing and Development Board allows and we know what’s completely unacceptable when it comes to modifying the interior of the property.

We will work hard to understand your preferences and offer modifications that are in line with your needs and that also meet the HDB guidelines.

Contact us today if you have questions about the HDB guidelines and the permits you’ll require to get started with the renovation work. We’ll be more than happy to guide you through the process and to suggest renovation ideas that will bring your vision to reality.

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