If you’re a housing board homeowner, you know that finding your dream home is just the beginning of the process. A home renovation project includes, getting loans approved, planning your budget, hiring an interior designer, and setting your renovation process. These are just some of the few things you need to look into. 

You will need to keep in mind a few ways to avoid compromising on the structural integrity of the building while renovating. Moreover, the average cost of a home renovation ranges from $40,000 – $60,000 excluding lighting and loose furniture. The cost can also vary for a 2 to 5 room flat. So, you’ll want to equip yourself with all the renovation guidelines you can find before you can move in.

From engaging with authorised designers to finding out the must haves for a renovation, this guide has got it all!

Tip #1: Designing a new home vs renovation

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Make an informed decision before you renovate your HDB

Getting down to the basics is a must! Renovating is a popular choice among flat owners due to the Home Improvement Programme (HIP). However, designing an HDB BTO  is different from renovating HDB resale.

The biggest difference being space management. Starting from scratch allows you to plan every nook and corner your way. HDBs come in a cookie cutter layout, giving you little to no room for major alterations. However, the HIP offers comprehensive and detailed plans for 30 and 60 to 70-year-old flats that require an upgrade. These improvements are done at a nominal cost and cover almost all common maintenance problems in ageing flats.

Tip #2: Factors to consider before renovating a HDB

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Redoing flooring requires permit from the HDB

There are a few rules and legalities when it comes to renovating a resale flat. The homeowner is expected to acquire and be aware of the renovation guidelines and permits before making even the smallest changes. A permit is a written approval from the HDB. A renovation project without the permit is considered an unauthorised project. Keep in mind that no changes can be made without a permit and the flat will have to be reinstated to its original condition. Moreover, a fine of $5000 can be levied on the homeowner.

Take a look at the list of renovation works that require a particular permit:

  • Revamping of bathrooms: Unless necessary, redoing the tiles and walls in a HDB bathroom is a taxing task. Since these HDBs come with complete tiling, waiting a minimum of three years to renovate it is a must. This is because it takes three years for the waterproofing membrane to stabilise.
  • Installing air-conditioners: It’s important to get this task done by a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) trained professional. This is to ensure that the installation is carried out safely. 
  • Flooring and walls treatments: Any changes to the previous flooring and walls will require a permit. For example, if you are installing new tiling in the kitchen that will require tearing up of the old flooring, you will need to obtain a permit and follow the guidelines. Moreover, structural walls in the flat cannot be torn down. 
  • Repositioning doors and windows: Although an uncommon renovation work, if you decide to change the position of your doors and windows, here;s what you should know. Positioning of doors cannot change, especially if it requires hacking of structural walls. Whereas should you wish to change the position of windows in your home, you need a permit while keeping a few HDB guidelines in mind. Your new windows need to be the same dimensions as the old ones. Hinged windows should be 50-70 cm wide, whereas sliding windows should be 50-120 cm wide. 

It’s important to know that these guidelines enforce high-quality work while ensuring safety for the homeowners.

Tip #3: Rooms that require an upgrade

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Do not overlook kitchens and bathrooms

If you’re looking for HDB renovation and want to stick to the basics, this one’s for you! While renovating every room seems like the ideal option, it’s important to stick to functionality and budget. And that brings us to the two most important parts of renovating a resale flat – the kitchen and the bathroom.

Homeowners opt for renovating these two parts for a multitude of reasons. They’re the most used rooms in the house and are prone to wear and tear.They are most susceptible to water damage and mold, therefore require regular maintenance. Moreover, the new homeowners would like to redesign these rooms for a fresh new look and hygiene purposes. Not to mention, you can personalise these spaces to your taste and requirements.

Tip #4: Budget allocation

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Set aside a sufficient portion of your budget for loose furniture

There’s no denying that a renovation project requires ample time and resources. We are here to help you find out if you have the time and the budget for a renovation project over the next two points. Here are a few tips to keep in mind while allocating your budget for home renovation:

  • Set aside a majority of your budget for carpentry work. For example, kitchen cabinets, wardrobes, storage units, etc are custom projects and will take up 40-50% of your budget. 
  • A close second is the cost of loose furniture.
  • Renovating a resale flat is more expensive than a new HDB. Refurbishing of furniture and dismantling built-in features will hike up the renovation cost.
  • 5-room HDBs are the most expensive to renovate with an average cost of $50,000 while 3-room and 4-room HDBs have an average cost of $30,000 – $40,000

Tip #5: How long does it take to renovate a HDB?

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Hack walls to create more space

Determining the time period for a renovation project depends on various factors such as the size of the flat, scope of work and whether it is a resale flat or new HDB. However, this list will help you discover time periods for essential and popular renovation works: 

Renovation works that require more than 4-weeks time:

  • Hacking walls to increase the space in a room
  • Constructing vanity units
  • Revamping flooring and false ceiling work
  • Extending the bathroom space which can only be used as a dry zone

Renovation works that can be done within a month:

  • Wallpaper and wall painting treatments
  • Acquiring and setting up loose furniture
  • Installing wardrobes and kitchen cabinets
  • Setting up a dining room

Tip #6: Custom over modular units

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Custom kitchen cabinets and custom-made vanity

Space-saving and multi-purpose units are one of the most important factors of a renovation project. For homes where space is limited, every inch counts. A smart design will overcome functionality and space issues. Therefore, homeowners prefer storage units that are custom built and can fit into any nook and cranny.

Some handy ways to save space include, opting for platform beds with storage, utilizing vertical space rather than horizontal space, stacking shelves and cabinets for more storage etc.
Take a look at 7 Space-saving Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind for more hacks!

Tip #7: Tips to keep in mind before renovating

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Maximise storage space wherever possible

While a renovation requires time and effort among other things, you can ensure a hassle-free process with these extra pointers. Take a look at these easy tips on how to ensure an efficient renovation process:

  • Maximise storage space wherever you can with shoe cabinets, under the bed and in wardrobes
  • Opt for mid-century modern, contemporary or Scandinavian designs that are timeless and easy on the pocket too! 
  • Engage with a reliable and trust-worthy interior design company
  • Select appliances that conserve water and energy
  • Opt for low-maintenance materials in the kitchen and bathroom

How Can Livspace Help You?

Our expert designers can take care of your HDB renovation from rules, designs and everything else. Book an online consultation with Livspace today. Delivering safe home interiors has been, and continues to be, our No. 1 priority. Click here to find out how interiors are being delivered following all safety protocols.

Meeting Your Interior Designer for the First Time? Here are some pointers to get you started!

We would love to hear from you! Write to us at editor.sg@livspace.com