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A Guide To Home Renovations In Singapore

Jan 18, 2024

A Guide To Home Renovations In Singapore

Embarking on a home renovation journey can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. Whether you’re planning to revamp your house, condo, or just doing minor renovations for your HDB BTO, the transformation of your living space into a dream home requires careful planning and execution. This guide will walk you through the essential considerations to prepare for a successful home renovation.

Home Renovation Checklist

Budgeting for Your Dream Space

The first and perhaps most critical step in your renovation journey is to establish a comprehensive budget. This budget should encompass all expected costs, including materials, labour, design, and any other professional services required. However, it’s equally important to allocate a contingency fund. Unforeseen expenses are common in renovations, and having a financial cushion can help you navigate these surprises without compromising the quality or scope of your project. A well-planned budget keeps your renovation goals realistic and achievable, ensuring you can make informed decisions at every step.

Gathering Inspiration and Ideas 

Once your budget is set, the next phase is to gather inspiration for your home’s new look. This is where you can let your creativity shine. Consider different interior styles, colour schemes, layouts, and design elements that resonate with your taste and lifestyle. Whether you’re leaning towards a minimalist aesthetic, a modern contemporary vibe, or a traditional look, collecting these ideas will help you communicate your vision more effectively to your design team. Remember, your home is a reflection of your personality, so take the time to explore various concepts and find what truly speaks to you.

Legal Requirements for Home Renovations

Permits and Approvals Before commencing any renovation work, it’s vital to check and obtain the necessary permits from relevant authorities. This step is crucial to ensure that your renovation plans comply with local regulations and building codes. The type of permits required can vary based on the nature and extent of your renovation work.

HDB Approval For those residing in an HDB flat, a specific consideration is obtaining approval from the Housing and Development Board (HDB). HDB has its set of guidelines and restrictions for renovations, designed to ensure the structural integrity and safety of the building. Make sure to submit your renovation plans to HDB and receive the necessary approvals before beginning any work.

Setting a Realistic Timeline

Plan for Potential Delays Renovation projects can be complex, and unexpected delays are not uncommon. When setting a timeline for your project, it’s important to be realistic and factor in potential delays. These could be due to material delivery schedules, unforeseen structural challenges, or even changes in your renovation plans. A well-thought-out timeline helps in managing expectations and provides a buffer to accommodate any unforeseen circumstances.

Defining the Scope of Work

Clarity with Contractors and Designers A key to successful renovation is a clear definition of the scope of work. This involves detailed discussions with your contractor and/or designer / builder to agree upon what exactly the renovation will entail. Be specific about the materials, fixtures, and finishes you want. This clarity not only ensures that everyone is on the same page but also helps in maintaining your budget and timeline.

Financing Your Renovation Project

Securing Funds for Each Phase A crucial aspect of your renovation project is ensuring that you have access to the necessary funds to cover each phase. This involves a detailed financial plan that aligns with the project’s timeline and scope. Keeping track of expenses as the project progresses is essential to avoid any financial shortfalls that could halt or delay the work.

Exploring Financing Options

If your savings don’t cover the entire cost, consider exploring financing options. In Singapore, various financial institutions offer renovation loans with competitive interest rates. These loans can be a practical solution to fund your project, especially for larger-scale renovations. It’s important to carefully compare different loan offers, taking into account the interest rates, repayment terms, and any additional fees.

Planning for Temporary Accommodation

Considering the Practicality of Staying In-Situ Depending on the scale of your renovation, staying in your home during the process might not be feasible. Dust, noise, and the lack of essential utilities are some factors that could make living on-site uncomfortable and impractical.

Arranging Alternative Living Arrangements If you decide that moving out temporarily is the best option, start planning for your temporary accommodation well in advance. Whether it’s staying with family or friends or renting a place, ensure that your temporary home meets your basic needs and is financially viable. Planning ahead for this aspect helps in reducing stress and allows you to focus on the renovation process.

Managing Utilities During Renovation

Coordinating with utility providers is an often overlooked but critical aspect of home renovations. Before the work begins, coordinate with your utility providers to disconnect services, if necessary. This step is crucial for ensuring the safety of the construction process, especially during major structural changes or electrical work.

Reconnection Post-Renovation

Plan also for the reconnection of these services once the renovation is complete. Ensure that all utility accounts are up-to-date and that services are scheduled to resume in alignment with your move-back date. This organisation ensures that your home is fully functional and comfortable upon your return.

Establishing Clear Communication Channels

One of the most important aspects of managing a renovation project is maintaining clear and consistent communication with your contractor and project team. Ensure you have regular updates and check-ins to stay informed about the project’s progress and any issues that may arise. This open line of communication allows for timely decision-making and keeps you actively involved in the renovation process.

Record Keeping

It’s equally important to keep a record of all communications and agreements made throughout the project. This includes email exchanges, meeting notes, and decisions made. Keeping these records helps in avoiding misunderstandings and provides a reference point if there are any discrepancies between what was agreed upon and what is being delivered.

Arranging Storage for Belongings

Arranging storage for your belongings is a crucial step to ensure their safety and make room for the renovation work. Moving furniture and other items out of the way not only prevents potential damage but also provides the necessary space for contractors to work efficiently. The decision to use a professional storage service or to find a temporary space within your home depends on your specific needs and available space. Professional storage services offer a secure and often climate-controlled environment, ideal for safeguarding sensitive items like electronics or delicate furniture against dust, debris, and the general upheaval of renovation. On the other hand, utilising a space in your home, such as a spare room, basement, or garage, can be a more cost-effective solution. However, it requires careful planning to ensure that these items are well-protected from the renovation work, particularly from dust and accidental damage. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to pack and organise your belongings systematically. Using sturdy boxes, protective wrapping, and clear labelling will help keep your items secure and make the eventual unpacking and reorganising process smoother and more efficient. This preparatory step is key in safeguarding your belongings and ensuring a seamless renovation process.

Insurance for Your Renovation Project

Reviewing Your Home Insurance Policy Before beginning your renovation, check whether your existing home insurance policy covers the renovation work. This is crucial as renovations can sometimes lead to situations that might not be covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Considering Renovation Insurance If your current policy does not cover renovations, or if you want additional coverage, consider getting a specific renovation insurance policy. This type of insurance can provide coverage for a range of potential issues, including property damage and liability during the renovation period.

Notifying Neighbours

Informing Neighbours About Renovation Works A considerate step to take before starting your renovation is to inform your neighbours. Renovations can be disruptive, with noise, dust, and occasional inconveniences. Discussing the expected duration, work hours, and potential disruptions with your neighbours can help manage expectations and maintain good relations.

Addressing Concerns Proactively Be open to addressing any concerns your neighbours might have. This proactive approach can go a long way in maintaining harmony and understanding in your community during the renovation period.


Determining the Cost of Home Renovation

The cost of home renovation in Singapore can vary widely, influenced by several key factors:

Type of Home:

Different types of homes, such as HDB flats, condos, landed properties, or BTO units, each come with their own set of renovation challenges and possibilities. The structural aspects and rules governing each type of property can significantly impact the cost.

Condition of the Home:

The age and current condition of the house or unit play a crucial role in determining renovation costs. Older homes may require more extensive work, including updating electrical wiring, plumbing, or reinforcing structural integrity, which can increase the cost.

Scope of Work Needed:

The extent and nature of the renovation work significantly affect the overall cost. Simple cosmetic updates like painting or replacing fixtures are generally less expensive than complete overhauls or structural changes, such as knocking down walls or extending rooms.

Types of Renovations

Singapore’s diverse housing landscape offers various renovation opportunities, each with its unique considerations:

HDB Renovation:

Renovations in HDB flats need to adhere to specific guidelines set by the Housing & Development Board, which can affect the scope and cost.

Smart Home Renovations:

Incorporating smart technology into homes, such as automated lighting, security systems, or smart appliances, is becoming increasingly popular and can range in cost based on the complexity and brand of technology used.

Landed House Renovation:

Landed properties often allow for more extensive renovations due to fewer structural restrictions compared to HDB flats or condos. However, these projects can also be more costly due to the larger size and scope of work.

HDB BTO Renovation:

BTO HDB flats are blank canvases but come with certain limitations on what can be altered. Renovations here typically focus on interior design and functionality improvements.

Terrace House Renovation:

Renovating a terrace house can vary significantly in cost depending on whether the project involves aesthetic updates or major structural changes.

Estimated Timeline for Renovation Projects

The duration of a renovation project in Singapore depends on various factors, including the size of the property, the extent of the renovation, and any unforeseen challenges that may arise during the process. Here’s a general guide:

Minor Renovations:

Projects like repainting, updating fixtures, or minor cosmetic changes can take a week to a couple of weeks.

Moderate Renovations:

More involved projects, such as kitchen or bathroom remodels, might take several weeks to a few months.

Major Renovations:

Extensive renovations, especially those involving structural changes, can take several months to over a year depending on the scale.


What About My Contractor Or ID?

When it comes to house renovations in Singapore, selecting the right contractor is a decision that requires careful consideration. The qualifications and attributes of your chosen contractor will significantly impact the success and quality of your renovation project. Here are the key factors that potential customers typically consider when choosing a renovation contractor:

Licence and Certification:

Ensure that the contractor is licensed and certified to perform renovation works in Singapore. This is a fundamental requirement that guarantees they adhere to the legal and safety standards set by authorities.

Experience and Portfolio:

Review the contractor’s past projects to assess their experience and the quality of their work. A diverse and impressive portfolio is indicative of their capability to handle various renovation challenges.

References and Reviews:

Seek out reviews and ask for references from past clients. This firsthand feedback can provide insights into the contractor’s reliability, quality of work, and customer service.

Insurance Coverage:

Confirm that the contractor has adequate insurance coverage. This protects you from liability in case of accidents or damage to your property during the renovation process.

Communication Skills:

Good communication is key to a successful renovation project. The contractor should be responsive, clear in their explanations, and willing to listen to your ideas and concerns.

Transparent Pricing:

Look for contractors who provide clear and detailed quotes. Transparency in pricing helps in avoiding unexpected costs and ensures that you understand what you are paying for.

Timeline and Schedule:

The contractor should be able to provide a realistic timeline for the completion of your project. Reliable scheduling is crucial to minimise disruption to your daily life.

Quality of Workmanship:

The quality of workmanship will determine the durability and appearance of your renovation. High standards in workmanship are non-negotiable for a satisfactory outcome.

Flexibility and Adaptability:

Renovation projects can be unpredictable. The contractor should be flexible and adaptable in handling changes or unforeseen challenges that may arise.

Warranty and Guarantees:

A reputable contractor will offer warranties and guarantees on their work. This is an assurance of the quality and durability of their renovation services.

Environmental Practices:

If sustainability is important to you, look for contractors who use environmentally friendly materials and practices in their renovations.

Payment Terms:

Understand the payment terms and schedules before signing a contract. Clear payment terms help in managing your budget effectively throughout the renovation process.

Compatibility and Rapport:

Lastly, it’s important that you feel comfortable and have a good rapport with your contractor. Mutual understanding and trust are crucial for a collaborative and successful renovation project.


As we conclude our comprehensive guide on home renovations in Singapore, it should be clear that embarking on such a project involves much more than just making aesthetic changes. From initial budgeting and legal requirements to selecting the right contractor and managing the renovation process, each step is crucial in transforming your living space. Remember, successful home renovations are a blend of meticulous planning, clear communication, and partnership with the right professionals. By carefully considering each aspect we’ve discussed, you’re setting the stage for a renovation journey that not only meets your expectations but also adds lasting value and enjoyment to your home. So, as you venture into this exciting process, keep these guidelines in mind to ensure a smooth, efficient, and fulfilling renovation experience.

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