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Residential

Important Information

Here is an overview of some of the more important points to take note of when planning your renovations.
 
  • Engage only contractors from the Directory of Renovation Contractor (DRC) to carry out the renovation, including those works that do not require HDB’s approval
  • All demolition and hacking of walls (be it partial or complete) require HDB’s prior written approval. The approval ensures that any proposed demolition/ hacking work will not affect the structural integrity of the building and compromise public safety. If the structural integrity of the building is affected, it may potentially endanger the safety of your household and your neighbours
  • Do not instruct workers or any person to carry out demolition/hacking works that have not been approved by HDB in writing
  • Comply strictly with the permitted time stipulated by HDB so as not to inconvenience your neighbours
You may face prosecution for failure to engage contractors from Directory of Renovation Contractor (DRC) or if you are found to have contravened any of the Housing and Development (Renovation Control) Rules, such as carrying out unauthorised demolition or hacking works.

Responsibilities of flat owners

You are responsible for the renovations in your flat and have to ensure that your contractor carries out all works in line with HDB guidelines. The Housing & Development (Renovation Control) Rules 2006 require that you only engage contractors from the Directory of Renovation Contractors to carry out renovations in your flat.

The following offences, upon conviction, can lead to a fine of up to $5,000 and other penalties:

Party Involved

Offences

Flat owner

Did not engage a contractor from the Directory of Renovation Contractor to carry out the renovations and/ or breach HDB's renovation rules/ guidelines.

Contractor from the Directory of Renovation Contractors

Breach HDB's renovation rules/ guidelines

Contractor not listed in the Directory of Renovation Contractors

Carry out renovations or hold himself out as a contractor from the Directory of Renovation Contractors

Housing & Development (Composition of Offences) Rules 2006

The Housing & Development (Composition of Offences) Rules allow HDB to compound offences committed under the Housing & Development Rules. If the offenders fail to pay the composition sum, they will be prosecuted in Court.

Timings for carrying out renovations

Your renovation contractor must display a Notice of Renovation outside your flat during the period of renovations. Your renovation contractor must also inform your neighbours (minimum 2 neighbouring flats surrounding your flat)(PDF, 38KB) , even for works which do not require a renovation permit, (e.g. any carpentry works). The notice must be given to your neighbours at least 3 days in advance before the start of any renovation.

General renovation should only be carried out between 9:00am and 6:00pm on weekdays and Saturdays. No renovations are allowed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Please observe the time restrictions to minimise any disturbance and inconvenience to your neighbours.

  • Noisy renovations within the flat such as demolishing of walls, removing wall/ floor finishes, cutting of tiles and heavy and excessive drilling works, etc. can only be carried out between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays
  • Noisy renovations are not allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays and eve of major Public Holidays (i.e. New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa and Christmas Day)
  • For works that are carried out outside the flat, you may refer to NEA’s website on the guidelines for noise control
  • You are advised to avoid carrying out any Do-It-Yourself (DIY) works involving drilling or hammering from 10:30pm to 7:00am, as such works generate noise which may inconvenience your neighbours. You should inform your neighbours beforehand if you are unable to keep within these timings

Use of tools

Your renovation contractor can only use 2 HDB Approved Hand-held Power Tools (PDF, 30KB) or their equivalent at a given time. Such work must be completed within 3 consecutive days.

Use of pre-packed material

Pre-packed screed is to be used for the laying of floor finishes in your HDB flat, while pre-packed plaster is to be used for wall finishes.

Pre-packed material (e.g. screed, plaster, etc.) is pre-blended to the required proportions at the factory, and ready to be used on site after adding water. This method saves time and improves productivity. It is also cleaner, since workers need not prepare additional materials on site.

Completion of renovation work

Any renovation works you have planned for must be completed within 1 month for existing blocks and 3 months for newly completed blocks, from the date the renovation permit is granted. Please immediately inform the HDB Branch managing your flat immediately once your renovations are completed.  

Mitigating disputes

When engaging a renovation contractor, you should discuss matters like pricing, work schedule, and quality to reach a clear understanding. If you are dissatisfied with the work delivered, and both parties cannot resolve it satisfactorily, you may seek the assistance of CASE or the Small Claims Tribunals. Alternatively, you may seek remedy through court proceedings.

You may refer to CASE’s Consumer Guides for some tips when looking for a contractor.

Advisory on crime prevention for flats undergoing renovation

  • Use good quality close-shackled locks to secure the flat; do not use number locks
  • Do not leave home appliances in your flat during the renovation period
  • Arrange for the delivery of appliances once you have moved in and renovations are completed

You can read up more about crime prevention from the Singapore Police Force and National Crime Prevention Council.

Repairs carried out by HDB or Town Council

In the event that HDB or the managing Town Council carries out any repair to your flat, you shall remove any renovation works and/ or fittings/ fixtures, to facilitate the repair work and reinstate them if necessary at your own expense.

Examples of disallowed renovation works

HDB regulates the types of renovations carried out in HDB flats. Some require a permit from HDB, while others do not. You should take time to read through our renovation guidelines before you start your renovation.

Some renovations are not allowed because they:

  • Overload the structure which may affect the building’s integrity and safety
  • Affect the external facade/ form of the building or public safety
  • Create public nuisance, pose a fire hazard, or intrude into public space
  • Infringe lease agreement and other statutory regulations or requirements
In addition, you are advised to check for any specific renovation guidelines for your flat through My HDBPage.

Examples of disallowed building works

  • Hacking and removal of structural members such as reinforced concrete wall, columns, beams, slabs, and staircases within executive maisonettes, etc. 
  • Excessive overloading of the floor slab with more than 150kg for every metre square of floor area 
  • Plastering of ceilings 
  • Partitioning with combustible or toxic emission materials (e.g. plywood, plastics, asbestos) 
  • Raising of floor level exceeding the allowed thickness of 50mm (inclusive of floor finishes) using concrete 
  • Extending floor area by covering over void areas (e.g. covering over void areas within maisonette flats or loft units) 
  • Repositioning or enlarging chute opening 
  • Painting external part of the building (e.g. common corridor walls and ceilings) 
  • Installing awning or other fixtures outside flat
  • Laying floor finishes outside entrance door without having recess area or step
  • Removal of pitched roof ceiling (be it partial or complete) at topmost floor unit as it is part of the building's roof system
  • Change of use of planter box

Examples of disallowed sanitary and plumbing/ gas works

  • Constructing water tank in the bathroom other than using ready-made (e.g. fibreglass) long baths 

Examples of disallowed window/ door/ grilles works

  • Installing casement windows where the flat's facade is facing the common corridor 
  • Replacement of full height windows or 3/4 height windows or bay windows
  • Removal or tampering of safety railings/ grilles (internal and external) originally provided by HDB/ developers installed in the flat and/ or at the sold recess area
  • Removal or tampering of safety railings/ grilles (internal and external) installed in the flat and/ or at full height windows (including 3/4 height and bay windows located at utility room, space adding item) during the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP)
  • Partial or total enclosure including installation of solid metal external grilles at planter box. No permanent sealing of planter box
  • Installation of overhead grilles (i.e. caging up) at interaction balcony
  • Relocation of sliding door at the balcony where window installation is not allowed
  • Removal or replacement of sliding door different from the one originally provided at the balcony, where window installation is not allowed
  • Placement of reflective film over existing window glass panels resulting in daylight reflectance exceeding 20%

Examples of disallowed air-conditioner installation works

  • Partial or total enclosure including installation of external grilles on air-conditioner ledge 
  • Change of use of air-conditioner ledge

Examples of disallowed works for open terrace at loft units and open balconies

  • Partial or total enclosure

General terms and conditions

The general and technical terms and conditions apply to renovation carried out in HDB flats.

When is a permit required?

  • Certain types of works can only be carried out with HDB's prior written approval
  • Approval is given in the form of a permit before starting on the works
  • Failure to obtain the permit will mean that the work is unauthorised and HDB can ask you to reinstate your flat to its original condition
  • Examples of the common types of work in HDB flats which require HDB's approval are set out in the guidelines 
  • For special precincts (e.g. DBSS flats) with unique designs and special features, you must comply with additional specific renovation guidelines pertaining to your precinct, view these specific guidelines on My HDBPage
  • You must open a Utilities Account (water and electricity) for a new flat with SP Services Ltd before a renovation permit can be granted
  • For renovation items which do not require a permit, you are still required to comply with the guidelines governing these items
  • If the work does not comply with the stated guidelines, it will be treated as unauthorised work and HDB can ask you to remove and reinstate your premises to its original condition or that of the guidelines stated
  • Where renovation items are not reflected in the renovation guide or where the measurement and technical details of the proposed work differ from that stated in the renovation guide, you need to seek HDB’s approval before starting the works
  • You are to strictly observe and adhere to the terms and conditions, technical conditions, and guidelines issued by HDB for such work
  • If you fail to follow the required guidelines, HDB can revoke the permit granted for the work, and you will be required to reinstate the premises to its original condition

Timings for carrying out renovations

  • For newly completed blocks, the approved renovations must be completed within 3 months from the date of the permit
  • For existing blocks, the approved renovations must be completed within 1 month from the date of the permit
  • General renovations should only be carried out between 9:00am and 6:00pm on weekdays and Saturdays. No renovations are allowed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Please observe the time restrictions to minimised any disturbance and inconvenience to the neighbours
  • Noisy renovations within the flat such as demolishing of walls, removing wall/ floor finishes, cutting of tiles and heavy and excessive drilling works, etc. can only be carried out between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays
  • Noisy renovations are not allowed on Saturdays, Sundays, Public Holidays and eve of major Public Holidays (i.e New Year's Day, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa and Christmas Day)
  • At any given time, only 2 of the approved hand-held power tools (PDF, 30KB) or their approved equivalents can be used
  • Renovation contractors cannot take more than 3 consecutive days to demolish walls and/ or remove wall and/ or floor finishes

Payments and charges

  • You are to only engage a contractor from the Directory of Renovation Contractor for the approved work and bear all charges and cost thereof
  • HDB is not a party to the private agreement between you and your contractor
  • Any dispute between yourself and contractor shall be settled without reference to HDB
  • You are to pay for the haulage and debris removal services provided by the Town Council, where applicable

Supervision

Execution of work

  • You are responsible for the renovation in your flat
  • You must ensure that the work carried out by your renovation contractor is in line with HDB's guidelines
  • After getting the renovation permit from HDB, you and your renovation contractor must display the Notice of Renovation outside the flat until all the renovations are completed
  • Try not to carry out any Do-It-Yourself (DIY) works involving drilling and hammering from 10.30 pm to 7.00 am as these generate noise which may disturb your neighbours. Do inform your neighbours beforehand if you are unable to keep within these times

Haulage of renovation materials and removal of renovation debris

  • Where haulage and debris removal services are provided, the renovation debris must be placed neatly (so as to cause no obstruction) in the common area in front of your flat or as instructed by your Town Council
  • If only the debris removal service is provided, the renovation debris must be packed in gunny or polythene sacks and deposited at designated sites on the ground level for disposal by the Town Council
  • You are to ensure that your renovation contractor moves the debris to the dumping ground if your Town Council does not provide a debris removal service
  • You or your renovation contractor must not throw the renovation debris down the refuse chutes or wash it down the WC squat pan or floor trap. Any resulting choke or damage will have to be cleared and repaired at your expense
  • You or your renovation contractor must not discharge or allow the discharge of waste water, terrazzo slime, or any building debris into the sewage system, onto the staircase, passageway and pneumatic waste conveyancing system (PWCS)

Approval and supervision from other authorities 

  • Prior written approval must be obtained from Power Gas Pte Ltd and SP Services Ltd for any alterations or extensions of the gas service pipes and for electrical installation and alterations respectively
  • You and your renovation contractor must at all times fully comply with any law, by-law, rules and regulations governing the works and any related matters made by other Competent Authorities including but not limited to Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Building Control Authority (BCA), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the Fire Safety and Shelter Department (FSSD), National Environment Agency (NEA), Public Utilities Board (PUB), Energy Market Authority (EMA) and SCDF
  • For the handling of hazardous substances, your renovation contractor must fully comply with all existing legislative requirements, and put in place reasonable measures to ensure that the safety and health of workers and residents (including members of public) are not adversely affected by the work
  • HDB and the Town Council reserve the right to control and give directions in the course of the work

Indemnity

  • You are to indemnify and keep HDB indemnified at all times against all claims and proceedings for any damage or destruction of property, injury or death of any person, costs and expenses whether or not due to any act neglect or default and howsoever arising from, in connection with or consequent to the execution of the work
  • You are to further indemnify and keep HDB indemnified at all times against any losses, costs, charges, expenses, and damages which may be incurred or payable by HDB whether or not due to any act neglect or default and due to, arising from or in connection with the execution of the work

Variation of terms and conditions

  • HDB reserves the right to vary the terms and conditions contained here as and when we believe it necessary
  • Any approval granted shall be subject to the prevailing terms and conditions
  • You are to observe and comply with such other rules and regulations set by HDB and the Town Council from time to time, in relation to the execution of renovation works in HDB flats

3-year restriction period on removal of toilet wall and floor finishes

A waterproofing membrane is laid on the cement screed before laying floor finishes in toilets. This prevents water from leaking through the floors into the ceiling of the flat immediately below. The toilet floor and wall finishes provided by HDB/ developer must not be replaced for a period of 3 years from the completion date of the block for this reason. You can, however, lay new toilet floor finishes over the existing floor finishes using adhesives.

Technical terms and conditions

The terms and conditions provided are intended to be followed as technical requirements for the various renovation work types listed here.

Floor  

  1. Pre-packed waterproofing screed and waterproofing membrane must be used in bathrooms/ toilets before laying new floor finishes. Membrane should be upturned (minimum 150mm) against the walls, kerbs, and pipes [Note: Pre-packed material is pre-blended to the required proportions at the factory, and ready to be used on site after adding water]
  2. Pre-packed waterproofing screed must be used before laying new floor finishes in the kitchen and open balcony. Waterproofing membrane must be provided around the sanitary stacks for an area of a 400mm radius
  3. UPVC floor trap grating with long collar must be used at the floor traps when carrying out replacement of floor finishes
  4. You and your renovation contractor must conduct a water test on the bathroom/ toilet upon completing the replacement of floor finishes
  5. From 1 June 2015, pre-packed screed must be used for renovation at 'dry areas' such as the living/ dining rooms, bedrooms, storeroom, household shelter, etc. Under HDB’s Material List, you may find a list of recommended suppliers for pre-packed floor screed and its performance requirement [under Architectural > /Rendering/Screeding].

Wall

Wall Finishes

From 1 June 2015, pre-packed material must be used for plastering of wall finishes. It is pre-blended to the required proportions at the factory, and ready to be used on site after adding water.

Flats with Ferrolite Partition Walls

Some new flats are installed with Ferrolite Partition Walls, which are more eco-friendly and typically used as partition walls for bedrooms. The walls comprise 2 concrete panels with a sound insulation core and are connected to the ceiling or beam using steel angle plates. Any renovation that requires removal and hacking of such walls must be carried out by contractor from the Directory of Renovation Contractors and with HDB’s prior approval.

Installing shelves, wall cabinets and other fixtures

Ferrolite Partition Walls can withstand up to a maximum of 50kg load per bolt, depending on the type of anchor bolts used. You and your contractor must ensure that the appropriate type of anchor bolt is used when installing heavy objects such as wall mounted cupboards or cabinets. The overall length for any bolts used for installation should not exceed 50mm. Adequate support must be provided if the load is heavier than 50kg. Take care not to damage any concealed electrical cables when drilling into the wall.

Note that the minimum spacing for bolts installation should not deviate from the manufacturer’s requirement. The method of installation for the fixture should be as stated in the Manufacturer’s Specifications and Guidelines:

Recommended Types of Anchor Bolts

Maximum Load       (Per Bolt)

Example

Steel cavity anchor

20kg

steel cavity anchor

M10 galvanised anchor rod with compatible Mesh sleeves and injection mortar

50kg

m10 anchor bolt

Exercise care during drilling

It is important not to drill holes within 200mm vertically below ceilings or beams (Strip A) when drilling into walls. This will avoid damaging the connecting angle plates. Care should also be taken when drilling within 200mm of the strip in the middle of the wall (Strip B) to prevent damaging the connecting steel plates. See the following figure for details:

ferrolite partition wall

It important not to use excessive force when drilling into Ferrolite Partition Walls because of the sound insulation core. The drill penetration depth must be limited to about 22mm. See the following figure for details:

ferrolite partition wall drill depth

For flats with concealed electrical wiring originally provided by HDB, please refer to our sketch (PDF, 2.57MB) before carrying drilling into the walls with concealed electrical wiring.

Construction of opening at party wall between 2 flats

In the event of a written demand by HDB or the transfer of interest in the flat by the flat owner, the owner should reinstate the party wall between the flats to the original position within 1 month from the date of the letter of demand or before the completion of the transfer of the flat, whichever is earlier. The cost of the wall construction will have to be borne by the flat owner.

DBSS flats provided with concealed gas pipes

  1. The as-built layout plan provided by the developer should only be used as a guide
  2. Flat owner/ renovation contractor are advised to engage a Licensed Gas Service Technician to confirm the exact location of the concealed gas pipes before carrying out any work
  3. Any ramsets/ nails/ screws should be located away from the concealed gas pipes

Window

Only BCA Approved window contractors listed with HDB can carry out installation/ replacement of windows in HDB flats, as of 1 October 2004. You and your contractor need to comply with the minimum safety requirement when carrying out installation/ replacement of windows in HDB flats.

Window grilles on recessed window ledges

You are responsible for:

  • Cleanliness of the space between the window grilles and the sliding window
  • Proper installation, stability, and maintenance of the window grilles

Refuse chute 

You will have to rectify the defect at your expense, if there are leakages in the walls after modification.

Home Fire Alarm Device 

From 1 June 2018, all new homes and existing homes which undergo fire safety works will be required to install a Home Fire Alarm Device (HFAD). Under this new requirement in the Fire Code, HFADs installed should be automatic smoke detectors. A HFAD will give occupants early warning in the event of a fire, so that they can take the necessary action to extinguish the fire or evacuate safely before the fire escalates.

The installation of HFADs is mandatory for all renovations with fire safety works. The types of fire safety works includes:
a) Replacement of fire rated main door,
b) Renovation and enclosing of recess area, and
c) Enclosing of interaction balcony within an atrium (Lodgement to FSSD is currently required by PE/QP).

Even though the installation of HFADs is not mandatory for other existing home owners, SCDF strongly encourages them to install HFADs to improve fire safety in their homes. For more information on HFADs, you may wish to refer to SCDF’s website at https://www.scdf.gov.sg/HFAD.