Dear readers, thanks for dropping by. Kindly note that I have migrated all these posts to my new blog All Things Cozy and Homely . I will blog at the new site from Jan 15 onwards.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Renovation Myths

"If my Contractor/ID is from HDB’s Listing of Registered Renovation Contractors he's can be trusted."

Unfortunately, if you read carefully the fine prints below “HDB makes no representations whatsoever and shall in no way be responsible for the quality of the workmanship of these registered renovation contractors, the materials used by them in their renovation works, their financial status, etc. Renovation contracts entered between the flat owner and the registered renovation contractor are strictly a private matter and HDB is not privy to them.” HDB Registered Renovation Contractors (RRCs) simply means that these contractors/IDs should observe and comply with the terms and conditions governing the HDB Registered Renovation Contractors' Scheme. Thus, there are still rouge contractors/IDs who do not comply with the rules and there were even complaints made against them. Therefore, you should still exercise due diligence prior hiring a RRC.


"It’s alright if the contractor/ID asked for a 50% deposit."

You should be highly suspicious of the contractor/ID if they asked for 50% of deposit prior commencement of work and clarify with them the reasons for such a practice. Usually, approximately 10% - 15% of deposit is more than enough. However, you may be asked to pay ahead of time for a special order or custom made item you want.

"It’s alright to change of use of HDB planter box and air-conditioner ledge."

There are certain guidelines that you should adhere to while carrying out the renovation works and so, changing the intended use of planter box and air conditioner ledge  is prohibited. In fact, a list of items not allowed for HDB are as follows below. Do your homework and refer to the Housing Development (Renovation Control) Rules 2006 and do not assume you’re your contractor should know what they are doing.
    * Hacking and removal of structural members such as reinforced concrete wall, columns, beams, slabs, staircases within maisonette flats, etc.
    * Excessive overloading of the floor slab with a load greater than 150 kg for every metre square of floor area.
    * Plastering of ceilings.
    * Partitioning with combustible or toxic emission materials (e.g. plywood, plastics, asbestos etc.)
    * Raising of floor level exceeding the allowable thickness of 50mm (inclusive of floor tiles) using concrete.
    * Extending floor area by covering over void deck areas (e.g. covering over void deck areas within maisonette flats)
    * Constructing water tank in bathroom except ready-made fibreglass bathtub.
    * Repositioning or enlarging bin chute opening.
    * Painting external part of building (e.g. common corridor walls and ceilings)
    * Installing awning or other fixtures outside flat.
    * Installing casement windows where flat's fa├žade is facing common corridor.
    * Laying floor finishes outside entrance door without having recess area or step.
    * Replacement of full height windows or 3/4 height windows or bay windows.
    * Removal or tampering of safety railings/grilles (internal & external) originally provided by HDB/Developers.
    * Removal or tampering of safety railings/grilles (internal & 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 external grilles on air-conditioner ledge.
    * Partial or total enclosure including installation of external grilles at planter box. No permanent sealing of planter box.
    * Installation of overhead grilles (ie. caging up) at interaction balcony.
    * Change of use of planter box and air-conditioner ledge.
    * Placement of reflective film (exceeding 20% reflectance) over existing window's glass panel.
    * Open Terrace at Loft Units
      - Partial or total enclosure.
      - Installation of a roof or fixed/retractable awning.
    * Relocation of sliding door at balcony where windows installation is not allowed.
    * Removal or replacement of sliding door different from original provision at balcony where windows installation is not allowed.

"Getting Furniture and Lighting from the shops recommended by your Contractor/ID is definitely cheaper as special discounts are given."

This may not be entirely true, as your Contractor/ID still earns commission for every successful referral. Hence, it is still strongly recommended that you do your homework and ask around for the prices of the items that you intend to purchase, and then compare the prices with these shops.

"Decide and buy your furniture only after your renovations have completed."

I would strongly advocate home owners to decide on the design and furniture first; even before discussing with your contractor/ID the interior design of your new place. This is because the design of the furniture can set the tone of the interior design that the contractor/ID is going to propose. Its easier to shortlist the furniture that you intend to purchase rather than trying to find furniture to complement the design when the renovation is already underway. Some call this “reverse-engineering”. :)

However, you may start to purchase your furniture when your renovation is 90% done and coordinate the furniture to be delivered to your place once the contractor has completed the renovation.

"It is “safer” to pick neutral colors for any of the interior design proposed."

This is the reason why so many people are going with the boring beige and cream colors. However, by not picking bold colors and unique designs, you risk making your home design too mundane. If you are not too adventurous, you can consider opting an interesting splash of color to a wall in an otherwise dreary room.

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