Got your keys and cannot wait to renovate your flat? Hold on a second amigo! Do you know that you might need to get a permit before you can begin renovating your HDB flat?
Permits? What Permits?
As a home owner, you are responsible for ensuring that all permits required for your flat’s renovations are obtained from HDB before you begin to renovate your flat.
These permits are important! HDB put them in place to ensure that the renovations you plan on doing do not affect the structure of your flat. They keep you and your neighbours safe.
You need a permit if you are thinking of removing existing floor finishes and replacing them with floor finishes of your choice. You also need a permit to raise the level of the floors in your kitchen, balcony, bathroom or toilet. Doing these works incorrectly can add unnecessary stress on the floor slab of the flat, and weaken the structure of the flat.
Before you hack down any walls in your new flat, you need to obtain a permit from HDB. This is to ensure that the demolition works do not compromise the structural integrity of the flat.
Similarly, any construction of arches or rounded corners to existing openings also require HDB’s approval before they can be carried out.
Replacing internal wall finishes? You need a permit too. This is to prevent any tampering of existing wall structures. But if you are just putting a wallpaper, or plastering your walls? No permit needed!
You need a permit to replace your main entrance door, if it is situated along a fire escape route i.e. facing a staircase or lift lobby. The replacement door and the frame of the door must be half hour fire-rated too, and complete with a door closer.
Changing the location of doors within the flat also requires a permit from HDB. This is to ensure that all the hacking works required for this does not affect the structural integrity of the flat!
Bathrooms and toilets
You will have to wait 3 years before removing any wall or floor finishes in the toilets of your newly-built flat. Otherwise, the waterproofing works in these wet areas might be damaged!
After the 3 years, if you decide to change the flooring or wall finishes of your bathrooms and toilets, or even plan on extending your bathroom/ toilet, you will need to get a permit from HDB.
If you buy a new flat and the compressor of the air-conditioner is going to be installed at the air-conditioner ledge, you do not have to apply for a permit from HDB before installing air-conditioners. Yay!
However, if you bought a resale flat that is still using a 30 Amps main switch, you must get a permit from HDB before installing air-conditioner units using new 15 Amps power point or new 20 Amps isolator.
You need to submit an air-conditioner installation report if you plan on installing your air-conditioner on the exterior of the building, or if any part of the air-conditioner projects outwards from the building.
Permits are needed if you want to install or change your flat’s windows, or the grilles at your service yard or balcony. The design of the windows and grilles must also comply with the colour and design scheme approved by HDB, so that your flat does not look too different from your neighbours’ from the outside. Replacement of full height and ¾ height windows is strictly not allowed.
To prevent accidents from happening, only engage BCA-approved window contractor registered with HDB for the installation and replacement of your flat’s windows, and ensure that all works comply with HDB’s safety requirements.
How to apply for a renovation permit?
You need to authorise your renovation contractor to submit an electronic renovation application on your behalf. If you are removing or repositioning fittings, hacking down or constructing walls, you need to submit scans of layout plans, elevations, sections or details of the proposed works together with your application. Once HDB receives the submission, an SMS notification will be sent to you. You can view your renovation permit on My HDBPage once it has been granted
After you obtained the approval from HDB for your renovations, ensure that they are carried out as soon as possible, as these permits come with expiry dates. For new blocks, the approved renovations must be completed within 3 months. Resale flats have a shorter renovation deadline; they must be completed within a month, so as to minimise inconvenience to your existing neighbours.
There are also working hours that the renovation contractor has to comply with. You can check out details of these timings on HDB InfoWEB. Remind your contractor to put up a notice that indicates the start and end date of your renovations outside your flat, so that your neighbours can make their own plans to avoid the noise and dust during this time, if they have to. To make things easier for you, we have created a nifty little infographic to help you understand at a glance – the common renovations that require HDB’s approval.
We hope you found this article useful in helping you understand the renovation permits needed for renovations in HDB flats. Got any more questions? Feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was adapted in collaboration with MyNiceHome, HDB’s official website for all things related to home buying and renovation in Singapore.