While renovation can improve the look of your HDB flat and also increase its value, not doing it properly can be costly. Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid when renovating your HDB.
1. Not having all the necessary permits
A permit is required for all extensive repairs and renovations to existing HDB flats. So whether you intend to hire a HDB renovation contractor or do your own work (DIY), you must apply for a renovation permit from the Housing Development Board (HDB). It’s important to engage a qualified person to apply for the renovation permit on your behalf. Failure to do so can result in not getting the necessary approvals or permit. Some renovations that don’t have a significant impact on the structural integrity of the building are considered minor and, therefore, may be exempted from the submission of the approval plans to HDB. However, such minor works must comply with the guidelines as stipulated by the board. You need to check the HDB rules and regulations governing building and sanitary works to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.
2. Using cheap materials
Using quality materials is critical to the success of a HDB renovation. So going cheap on materials can be a huge mistake. Building materials are susceptible to many challenges, most of them related to physical pressure, moisture and heat. To achieve high-quality results, you need to use top quality materials and fixtures. Don’t be too frugal. Getting the right materials and having the job done right the first time will ensure you won’t have to come back at it in a year or two. Also, if you’re hiring a contractor to undertake the works, you should avoid the temptation of going for the lowest bid. This is simply because the lowest bidder will typically use poor quality, cheap materials and perform shoddy installation. Don’t take a risk. Rather, choose a reputable contractor with a competitive quote that comes within the target price.
3. Not doing adequate preparation
You must never overlook the fact that behind every successful project lie many hours of planning and preparation that often go unnoticed. A HDB renovation project can involve many things, including finding and selecting materials, measuring materials, working with construction professionals, and lots of hands-on tasks. While it may be boring, taking time to plan the renovation project and preparing for the envisaged works is what makes all the difference when it comes to achieving the right results. Failure to plan could lead to unexpected cost overruns, unexpected snags or even major delays that could see you literally living in a construction zone. Even if you are Ding It Yourself, you will likely encounter problems such as extra costs for materials and other additions.
Before you start your HDB renovation, create a detailed plan that includes the planned layout, required materials, fixtures, finishes, labour costs, renovation time frame, and budget. Try sticking to this plan. Also, ensure you understand the current plumbing and electrical layouts of your HDB. Check for any frayed wiring, rusty pipes and hidden rot. Obtain as much information as you can regarding your HDB’s structure and formation, and determine whether you can tackle certain tasks yourself. If your HDB requires extensive renovations, then you need to hire a professional. Large plumbing and electrical works are often best left to professionals. Ask potential renovation contractors to undertake exhaustive exploratory work or inspection before submitting their final bids. This will help you get an accurate bid.
4. Stripping everything down
This is one of the most common mistakes. Before you start your HDB renovation, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Don’t just strip everything out as it may end up costing you a lot of money to get your flat back into shape. You must evaluate carefully the journey ahead of you instead of only grasping for the end result. Create a well thought-out plan before you begin working. The plan will act as a guide during each step of the process. Try taking small steps instead of giant leaps.
5. Too much DIY or hiring an unlicensed tradesperson
Specialised HDB renovations require the services of an experienced professional. Attempting DIY electrical, plumbing or HVAC works can cost you dearly in the future, as you may not have the necessary skills and tools to handle these works. Similarly, hiring a non-professional can be dangerous since they may not have the tools to tackle the job or the insurance to take care of any eventualities. To avoid problems and ensure quality renovation, you should simply hire a licensed HDB renovation contractor.