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What you should take note of in your HDB flat renovation? Here are a few useful tips

With HDB resale transactions at an all-time high, it implies that there are a lot of HDB flat renovation works going on.

If you are looking to renovate your home, there are some things you should take note of.

In today’s article, we will take a look at some tips when renovating your HDB flat.

Extend of work

Firstly, you and your partner must decide on how extensive you want the renovation to be.

Do you want a total makeover or are you simply redoing the toilets and kitchen?

Whatever you decide, bear in mind that certain HDB renovation works would require a permit. We will touch on that later.

Deciding on the extent of work will also bring us to the second point, which is budget.

Bear in mind that all renovations must be completed within 3 months for BTO flats and 1 month for resale flats.


After the scope of work required has been determined comes the issue of money.

A check with several interior design firms shows that the average cost for an HDB resale renovation job is about $40,000.

This amount is for flooring works, hacking of floor and walls (if required), plumbing and electrical works and painting. It does not include appliances and furnishing.

Of course, this is just an estimate as each flat is different and the extent of work is different.

It is best to get a quote from your chosen interior firm for a more accurate gauge.

It is important to set aside a contingency budget of about 20% for unforeseen “problems” such as water seepage, corrosion etc, so as to not be caught unawares.

Renovation loan

You can take a renovation loan from most banks and lenders at a lower interest rate compared to personal loans.

Interest rates are usually between 3% to 4.5% and the tenure is between 1 to 5 years, though some banks may extend it to 7 years.

It is best to check with the banks/lenders directly for their best rates and tenure and also for any promotional packages and admin fees.

Interior designer or contractor

If you choose to engage an interior designer, be prepared to pay more as they will provide designs based on your discussions with them.

Interior design firms usually work with their preferred contractors, so it is hassle-free and you only liaise with one point of contact.

If you engage a contractor, you will have to have your own design or theme as the contractor will only carry out renovation works.

Using contractors would mean you may have to liaise with different parties for the various works such as flooring, plumbing and electrical.

Usually, the ID firm or contractor can assist in applying for any required HDB renovation permit. If you want to apply for the permit yourself, you can do so online via HDB online portal.

For a list of HDB approved renovation contractors, you can visit here.

Below are some of the works that are NOT allowed to be carried out:

  • Hacking and removal of structural members such as reinforced concrete walls, 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 parts of the building (e.g. common corridor walls and ceilings)

  • Installing an awning or other fixtures outside the flat

  • Laying floor finishes outside entrance door without having recess area or step

  • Removal of pitched roof ceiling (be it partial or complete) at the topmost floor unit as it is part of the building's roof system

  • Change of use of planter box

For the full list of prohibited renovation works, you can visit the HDB website under Renovation Guidelines.


Whether you appoint an ID firm or a contractor, be sure to get a timeline.

For resale, all works must be completed within a month, therefore a timeline would allow you to plan your time for causal visits to check on the progress and also plan for any delays.

Get a schedule from your designer/contractor about the execution of renovation.

This lets you know if the work is getting done on time and lets you prepare for contingencies. You can also work around this timeline to source for appliances and furniture and plan the delivery schedules.

Before you begin the renovation work, be sure that the ID firm/contractor displays your permit either outside your unit or in the life lobby to inform your neighbours about the upcoming works. It is also important to remind the ID firm/ contractor to clean up all debris and clear all unwanted items to the rubbish dump.


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