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Building Works

Floor finishes

Read our guidelines on laying and replacement of floor finishes.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Laying of vinyl finishes/ carpet/ linoleum
No
Not applicable
Replacement of floor finishes:
  • Ceramic
  • Homogeneous
  • Terrazzo
  • Marble
  • Parquet/ timber
  • Other tiles
Yes
  • Total thickness of floor finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • Use the pre-packed waterproofing screed and waterproofing membrane in bathroom/ toilets before laying new floor finishes. Membrane should be upturned (minimum 150mm) against the walls and kerbs
  • Use pre-packed waterproofing screed for kitchen and open balcony before laying new floor finishes. The waterproofing membrane with upturn (minimum 150mm) is required only around the sanitary stacks for an area of a radius 400mm
  • Use UPVC floor trap grating with long collar at the floor traps
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed screed must be used for 'dry areas'
Laying of floor finishes on bare (rough) concrete surface provided by HDB
No
  • Floor finishes must be laid on bare (rough) concrete surface provided by HDB. The original cement screed provided must not be left bare
  • Total thickness of floor finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed screed must be used for 'dry areas'
Laying/ replacement of parquet/ timber flooring (also known as laminated or bamboo flooring)
No

For flats with existing floor finishes
The laying of flooring over existing finishes should not involve the following:

  • Raising the floor as a platform
  • Usage of cement screed
  • Hacking/ removal of existing floor finishes

For Flats without existing floor finishes

  • The total thickness of floor finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed screed must be used for 'dry areas'
Replacement of existing bathroom/ toilet floor finishes after first 3 years from the date of completion of the block.
Yes
  • Total thickness of finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • Use pre-packed waterproofing screed and waterproofing membrane before laying new floor finishes
  • Membrane should be upturned (minimum 150mm) against the walls, kerbs and pipes
  • Use UPVC floor trap grating with long collar at the floor traps
Laying of floor finishes over existing floor finishes using adhesive only
No
  • There should be only 1 layer of existing floor finishes including cement screed before proceeding to lay the additional layer of floor finishes
  • Thickness of the floor finishes inclusive of the adhesive must not exceed 13mm
Laying of floor finishes to risers and treads of steps at recess entrance and internal surface of parapet of the steps
No
  • Existing risers and tread finishes/ cement screed must be removed
  • Total thickness of tread finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • Total thickness of riser finishes and screed must not exceed 25mm
  • No tampering of existing structures is allowed
Installation of hardwood platform on floor
No
  • Recommended room height is minimally 2.4m
  • The void between timber joists beneath platform must not be sealed with cement/ other materials
  • No storage is allowed in the void within the platform and floor
  • The side of the platform must be sealed
  • To maintain a minimum 1m safety barrier height from top of platform to window sill/ parapet
Topping up of flooring using light weight screed/ block at balcony/ kitchen/ bathroom/ toilet
Yes
  • The material used for the in-filled must be non-combustible
  • Existing floor finish including cement screed must be removed
  • Overall loading onto existing floor should not exceed 120kg/m2 (i.e. proposed in-filled material and floor finishes)
  • Maintain a minimum parapet/ window sill height of 1000mm measured from finished floor level (if applicable)
  • Use UPVC floor trap grating with long collar at floor traps
  • For kitchen and open balcony, pre-packed waterproofing screed must be used before laying of new floor finishes. The water proofing membrane with a minimum upturn of 150mm from finished floor level is required only around the sanitary stacks for an area of 400mm radius
  • For bathroom/ toilet, pre-packed waterproofing screed and water proofing membrane must be used before laying of new floor finishes. Membrane should be upturned (minimum 150mm from finished floor level) against the walls, kerbs, and pipes
 

Walls

Read our guidelines on demolition and erection of walls.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following Guidelines/ Conditions
Erection of 63mm thick hollow block wall
No
  • Adequate natural lighting and ventilation must be provided if creating a room for habitation
  • Fire escape route should be direct (e.g. from bedroom door to main exit door) and should not pass through another room
  • Reinforced concrete (RC) lintol should be provided to support the hollow block across any opening in wall (e.g. window or door opening)
  • Only one layer of 63mm hollow block or 80mm thick glass block can be erected
Erection of 80mm thick glass block wall
No
Erection of gypsum partition
No
  • Adequate natural lighting and ventilation must be provided if creating a room for habitation
  • Fire escape route should be direct (e.g. from bedroom door to main exit door) and should not pass through another room
  • The penetration of power-driven nails or screws, if any, into existing RC structures must not exceed 40mm
Demolition of non-load bearing RC elements, such as stiffeners, lintols and hangers
Yes

Engage a Professional Engineer (PE) for Civil or Structural works to inspect and supervise the demolition works. This is to ensure that none of the load bearing RC structural elements (e.g. columns, beams, slabs, and walls) are tampered or damaged in the process
 

Note

  • All hacking/ demolition of walls can only be carried out after obtaining HDB's prior approval
  • Certain hacking/ demolition of walls require inspection by HDB before work can commence. HDB Registered Renovation Contractors will be informed of this requirement, where applicable
Construction of arches and/ or rounded corners to existing opening
Yes

Conditions/ guidelines will be given for the renovation item upon evaluation/ approval

Note

  • Hacking/ demolition of walls can only be carried out after obtaining HDB's approval
  • The demolition of the wall should commence from the top
Demolition (partial or complete)/ alteration of internal non-structural lightweight concrete/ hollow block/ brick walls
Yes
Construction of opening in non-structural walls and/ or at party wall between 2 flats
Yes
 
 
 

Wall finishes

Read our guidelines on laying and replacement of wall finishes.

 
Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following Guidelines/ Conditions
Wallpaper, cement and sand plastering, gypsum plastering, rock-stone finish, spray painting
No
From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used for plastering.
Solid timber/ mirror wall panel
No
Power-driven nails or screws used must not exceed 6mm in diameter and 40mm in penetration depth
Laying of wall finishes over existing wall finishes using adhesives
No
  • No tampering of existing structures and wall finishes
  • The thickness of the wall finishes used must not exceed 13mm
  • No laying of third layer wall finishes 
Replacement of internal wall finishes up to ceiling level
Yes
  • No tampering of existing structures 
  • Total thickness of the wall finishes, including plaster, must not exceed 25mm
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used for plastering
Laying of wall finishes on bare concrete surface provided by HDB up to ceiling height
No
  • No tampering of existing structures 
  • Surface of RC wall is not allowed to be hacked to form key for tiling
  • Spatterdash or other equivalent shall be used to form key for tiling
  • Total thickness of the wall finishes including plaster must not exceed 25mm
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used for plastering
Replacement of existing bathroom/ toilet wall finishes after first 3 years from the date of completion of the block
Yes
  • No tampering of existing structures 
  • Total thickness of the wall finishes including plaster must not exceed 25mm
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used for plastering
 

False ceiling

Read our guidelines on installation of false ceiling/ cornices.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Installation of cornices and pelmet
No
Minimum clearance height of pelmet must be at least 2.10m measured from finished floor level
Installation of false ceiling
No
  • Minimum clearance height of 2.4 metres measured from finished floor level (not applicable for toilets and bathrooms)
  • To use non-combustible materials
  • No gas pipe is to be enclosed within the false ceiling
  • Power-driven nails of 6mm diameter and not exceeding 40mm in penetration depth length are to be used for fixing of false ceiling to the underside of RC slab
Installation of decorative centre panel in non-prefabricated flat only
No
Installation of false ceiling in kitchen
No
  • Minimum clearance height of 2.4 metres measured from finished floor level
  • To use non-combustible materials
  • No gas pipe is to be enclosed within the false ceiling
  • Power-driven nails of 6mm diameter and not exceeding 40mm in penetration depth length are to be used to fix false ceilings to the underside of RC slabs
Addition of false ceiling onto the existing false ceiling originally provided by HDB without changing the existing joist support system (applicable for horizontal false ceiling only)
No
  • Minimum height clearance of false ceiling must be 2.4 metres measured from finished floor level
  • False ceiling should made be of non-combustible materials
  • No gas pipe is to be enclosed within the false ceiling
  • Power-driven nails of 6mm diameter, not exceeding 40mm in penetration depth are to be used for fixing false ceiling to the underside of RC slab
  • If installation is carried out at topmost floor with pitched roof:
    • The proposed work should make use of original existing structural support
    • New joists, if any, cannot be connected to existing purlins which are not designed for the proposed work
    • Need to provide a minimum removable access opening of 600mm x 600mm for inspection and maintenance
    • Removal of roof ceiling originally provided by HDB (be it partially or fully) is strictly not allowed
  • The layout, size, and the support system of the new joists, if any, must be the same as the existing joists
Installation of fixtures/ fittings (e.g. lighting, fan, etc.) onto the false ceiling originally provided by HDB No Buildings constructed before 1991 may have asbestos-containing materials. They are more commonly found in pitch roof buildings. Flat owners residing at the top-most floor should refer to the National Environment Agency for more information relating to asbestos before carrying out works on the false ceiling.
 

Kitchen

Read our guidelines on renovation in kitchen.

Types of Building Work
Need Permit?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Extension of kitchen into the service balcony/ yard without the removal of walls
No
  • All services within extended areas should not be tampered with
  • Installation of exhaust fan is not allowed at the service balcony/ yard
  • Only one layer of 63mm hollow block or 80mm thick glass block can be erected for the sink support (see Drawing 3 (PDF, 20KB))
Construction of 50mm thick concrete dapoh slab/ vanity top supported by 63mm thick hollow block walls with 50mm cement mortar base inclusive of tile finishes
No
Construction of concrete shelf is not allowed.
Installation of clothes drying hanger on ceiling in the kitchen/ service yard
No
Power-driven nails of 6 mm diameter and not exceeding 40 mm in penetration depth are to be used.
 

Refuse chute hopper

Read our guidelines on alterations to the refuse chute hopper.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following Guidelines/ Conditions
Reducing/ lowering of refuse chute hopper size within the existing opening
No
  • Work to be carried out only within the original refuse chute opening
  • A layer of red brick/ hollow block or any other lighter material is to be used to reduce the hopper size
  • The maximum thickness of the red brick/ hollow block used must not exceed 100mm
 

Fish tank

Read our guidelines on having a fish tank.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Normal fish tank supported on a 4-legged rack or cabinet
No
The maximum weight of the total number of fish tanks (inclusive of water, sand, and accessories) must not exceed 600kg per room
Fish pond resting directly on the floor of size no bigger than 2m (6.5ft) length x 1m (3.2ft) width with water depth not exceeding 0.5m (1.6ft)
No
  • Lightweight fibreglass material should be used for the tank
  • The tank must be placed beside an existing wall supported on an existing beam below
  • It must have an overflow system to ensure that the water depth does not exceed 0.5m (1.6ft) (see drawing (PDF, 212KB))
All other types of fish tank or pond
Yes
Submit an application to the HDB Branch managing your flat stating the size, type, weight and location of the fish tank for approval to install it (see sample application (PDF, 24KB))
 
 

Household shelters (HS)

The HS in your HDB flat is designed to serve as a civil defence shelter. They are fitted with steel doors along with strengthened floors, walls and ceilings to protect your household in the event of an emergency.

Like the other structural components of the flat, the following features in the HS must not be tampered with during renovation:

  • Reinforced walls
  • Reinforced floor slab
  • Ceiling
  • Steel door

Finishes and fixtures that cannot be removed easily in an emergency are not permitted in the HS. These may instead become hazards when you have to occupy the shelter. Lighting, power point, telephone point, and MATV outlet are already provided in the HS to allow for communication in an emergency.

Guidelines for renovation in HDB HS set out by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Laying of floor finishes with cement mortar in HS
No
  • Finishes shall be bonded to the floor with wet cement mortar
  • Total thickness of floor finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • Laying of finishes using adhesive is not allowed
  • Laying of a second layer of finishes is not allowed
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used
Laying of vinyl or linoleum flooring
No
Not applicable
Laying of maximum 100mm floor skirting tiles with cement mortar in HS
No
  • Skirting tiles shall be bonded to concrete surface with wet cement mortar
  • Laying of finishes using adhesive is not allowed
  • Laying of a second layer of finishes is not allowed
Applying splatterdash or equivalent to the external face of HS wall only to provide a rough surface for feature wall panels or wall tiles installation
No
Not applicable
Painting of walls, ceiling or door
No
  • Painting over the HS door notice, locking bolts or door seal is not allowed
  • The old paint coat on door and door frame are to be removed before repainting
  • Avoid an increase in paint thickness on the door, it will result in difficulties when closing or opening
  • The new paint coat must be dried completely before closing the door
  • Wet/ damp paint will cause the door/ rubber gasket to stick onto the door frame making it difficult to open the door
Painting on only the exterior face of the 6mm fragmentation stainless steel plate of the ventilation sleeve
No
Not applicable
Fixing of removable screws with non-metallic inserts not exceeding 50mm deep for fixtures and equipment (e.g. pictures, posters, cabinets, shelves, wall fan, ceiling lightings etc.)
No
  • Such fixtures that are installed inside the HS will have to be removed within 48 hours of notification
  • There is no restriction to the diameter of the non-metallic insert as long as it does not exceed 50mm in length
  • Ensure that the strength of the insert is adequate for its intended purpose
Removal of the steel ventilation plate cover in the household shelter
No
  • Steel plate (after removal) must be secured inside the shelter on 1 of the walls by using removable screws (maximum 50mm long) in non-metallic inserts
  • After removal of the steel plate, the bolts and nuts must be installed back to the original position in its fully closed/ locked positions
  • Up to 75% of the clear ventilation opening areas are allowed to be covered by removable aesthetics or architectural finishes/ fixtures
Installation of false ceiling at the exterior of the HS at a level below the ventilation sleeves
No
  • There should be an access panel, at least 600mm x 600mm (minimum dimensions), provided directly below each ventilation sleeve
  • Comply with the conditions for false ceiling installation as stated above
Power driven nails are allowed only on external face of the HS walls to facilitate mounting of features/fixtures
No
Not applicable

Types of work not permitted in HS

  • Laying of wall tiles or spraying of rockstone finish, cement sand finish and gypsum plastering on the internal faces of HS walls including ceiling
  • Laying of floor finishes using adhesive materials
  • Laying of a 2nd layer of tiles on floor or skirting tiles
  • Installation of cornices within the HS
  • Installation works with fixings  using power driven nails into the internal HS walls
  • Tampering with, removing or covering up of the HS door notice, the notice provides important information for occupants on the proper use of the HS
  • Indiscriminate hacking and drilling of the HS walls, floor slabs and ceiling slabs, unless drilling into HS walls and ceiling slabs to affix removable screws on inserts (maximum 50mm depth)
  • Hacking internal and external face of the household shelter walls to form key for tiling
  • Hacking or indiscriminate drilling on external face of HS wall for mounting of feature wall panels or wall tiles installation
  • Modifying, changing, removing or tampering of HS door
  • Modifying, altering or tampering with any part of the ventilation openings, plates, and mounting devices such as bolts and nuts
  • Painting the interior face of the 6mm fragmentation stainless steel plate of the ventilation sleeve, ventilation sleeve, ‘O’ ring rubber gasket and 4 or 8 stainless steel bolts, which hold the steel plate to the sleeve

Door and gate

Read our guidelines on replacement of main door, internal door, or front gate of your flat.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Painting the external side of main door or metal grille gate
No
Not applicable
Replacement of main entrance metal gates
No
No change to the existing leaves, size and shape of the gate
Installation/ replacement of main entrance gate to two-leaf swing gate of different dimensions
No
  • Units situated along the common corridor must allow a minimum clearance of 1m from the gate to the corridor parapet wall (when the gates open perpendicular to the corridor parapet wall)
  • Units situated adjacent to the staircase must allow a minimum clearance equivalent to the width of the staircase measured from the edge of the gate (when it opens at all angles) to the staircase railing
  • Units situated at corner end should not have gates that hit the neighbouring flat’s window
Installation/ replacement of main entrance gate to single-leaf swing gate
No
Installation of arch shape main entrance swing gate
No
Replacement of main entrance door and frame along fire escape route (i.e. for door opening into passageways such as staircases, lift lobbies)
Yes
The replacement door and frame must be half hour fire-rated and the frame must have a door closer
 
Note: The fire door and frame must have a PSB label pasted on them
Replacement of main entrance non-fire-rated door and/ or frame
No
Not applicable
Replacement of existing internal doors with ornamental timber/ plastic doors
No
Replacement of door frames at all location for prefabricated flats
No
  • RC walls cannot be hacked or tampered with
  • Existing door frame should be removed by torch cutting or cutter
  • Upon removal of the door frames, a layer of waterproofing membrane must be applied to affected area
  • The new door frame should be within the original door opening provided
Repositioning of internal door entrances
Yes
The new entrance should not be created through RC walls
Replacement of internal door frame (for non-prefabricated flats)
No
Not applicable
Installation of sliding glass door, PVC folding doors on bathroom, w.c. and/ or kitchen entrance without removal of RC lintol/ hanger (if any)
No
Removal of sliding/ swing doors without removal of RC lintol/ hanger (if any)

Note: This is not applicable for sliding/ swing doors at the balcony where installation of windows is not allowed
No
Replacement of study room sliding doors with swing doors
No
 

Sold recess area

Read our guidelines on renovation at the sold recess area.

Types of Building Work
Need Permit?
Subject to the following Guidelines/ Conditions
Laying of floor and/ or wall finishes at sold recess area
No
  • Total thickness of floor finishes and screed must not exceed 50mm
  • Total thickness of wall finishes including plaster should not exceed 25mm
  • The surface of RC member cannot be hacked to form key for tiling
  • Spatterdash or other equivalent shall be used to form key for tiling
  • From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used
All other renovation within sold recess area (e.g. installation/ replacement of grille/ gate/ door/ fixed awning/ roof/ windows/ floor and wall finishes, topping up of floor and demolition/ erection of non-load bearing walls, etc.)
Yes
Conditions/ guidelines will be given for the renovation item upon evaluation and approval
 

Approved rented common area

Read our guidelines on renovation at approved rented common area outside your flat.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Installation of grille gate at the entrance of the common area
No
Grille gate with one-way locking device opening outward without use of a key
Installation of metal grille panel
No
Metal grille panel must not be more than 1m wide on the parapet wall adjacent to the entrance gate for security purpose
Construction of cement mortar kerb at threshold of entrance gate
No
Cement mortar kerb should not exceed 100mm in height and 100mm in width
Laying/ Replacement of finishes at corridor walls and floor excluding scupper drain
No
  • Existing floor finishes including cement screed must be removed
  • Total thickness of new floor finishes and cement screed must not exceed 50mm
  • Total thickness of wall finishes and cement screed must not exceed 25mm
  • Surface of RC floor or wall cannot be hacked
  • Spatterdash or other equivalent shall be used to form key for tiling on wall
  • There should be free flow of water to existing scupper drain, and waste water outlet must not obstructed
Re-siting refuse chute stopcock outside the rented common area
No
  • Existing RC structure cannot be tampered with
  • Prior approval must be obtained from Town Council
Installation of false ceiling at rented common area
No
  • Minimum height clearance of false ceiling must be 2.4m measured from finished floor level
  • False ceiling should made of non-combustible materials
  • Use power-driven nails of 6mm diameter and not exceeding 40mm in penetration depth length can be used for fixing false ceiling to the underside of RC slab
 

Staircase

Read our guidelines on renovation to the existing staircase of an executive maisonette.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following Guidelines/ Conditions
Replacement of existing staircase balustrades/ railing in executive maisonettes where there is a vertical drop in level of 1m or more
Yes
  • Engage a Professional Engineer (PE) for Civil or Structural works to submit building and structural plans for the proposed work to BCA for approval
  • Upon receiving BCA's approval, submit the BCA Approved Drawing and Permit to Carry Out Structural Works documents to HDB for the issuance of a renovation permit
Erection of safety barrier on internal staircase or wall facing void of executive maisonette where there is a vertical drop in level of 1m or more
Yes
  • Engage a PE for Civil or Structural works to submit building and structural plans for the proposed work to BCA for approval
  • Upon receiving BCA's approval, submit the BCA Approved Drawing and Permit to Carry Out Structural Works documents to HDB for the issuance of a renovation permit
  • Existing effective width of staircase must be maintained
Covering up of slit void of internal staircase in executive maisonettes, must only be used for decorative purpose
No
  • The thickness of hollow or glass blocks used should not exceed 63mm and 80mm respectively 
  • There should be no increase in the gross floor area of the upper storey
  • The clear width of the void between bedroom and internal staircase must not exceed 350mm (see Drawing 4 (DPF, 28KB))
  • The penetration of mild steel bars into existing RC structures must not exceed 50mm
 

 

Bathroom and toilet

Read our guidelines on renovation of bathrooms and toilets. Newly built flats have a 3-year restriction period in place for the removal of wall and floor finishes in bathrooms and toilets.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Construction of cement mortar kerb not exceeding 100mm in height and 100mm width in bathroom/ toilet
No
Not applicable
Enlargement of bathroom/ toilet after first 3 years upon completion of block
Yes
Maximum width and area of extension:
  • Must not be more than 600mm and 0.6m2 respectively
  • Can only be used as a ‘dry area’
  • For example, to install wash basin or shelves
  • The existing gas riser and its branch pipe must not become enclosed in the extended bathroom/ toilet
Replacement of bathroom/ toilet vent
Yes
  • Glass louvers must be at least 6mm thick
  • They must be wire-glass type
  • Aluminium U-channel cleat safety device must be on every glass louvre
 

Awning

Read our guidelines on installation of awning.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Installation of retractable canvas awning up to single storey height within balcony of double storey executive maisonette
No
  • Awning is to be fixed to the upper floor beam structure
  • Fixing onto refuse chute wall is not allowed
  • Retractable awning should not protrude beyond the balcony
Installation of internal metal roller shutter at window or single storey balcony opening. This is not applicable for balconies where window installation is not allowed.
No
Installation must not be fixed onto refuse chute wall
Installation of roller shutter at double storey balcony. This is not applicable for loft units.
No
 

Others

Read our guidelines on other renovation items.

Types of Building Work
Permit Required?
Subject to the Following
Guidelines/ Conditions
Installation of equipment not exceeding 150kg
No
Not applicable