For many couples, receiving the keys to a new home is a big moment and can truly be exciting, especially when it is your first property. But along with the excitement, there could also be stress and frustration if you realise there are flaws in your new flat.
In any new property purchase, the likelihood of coming across defect issues are real, no matter how well-built it is. Fortunately, all newly-constructed HDB flats are covered by a 1-year Defects Liability Period (DLP) warranty that is effective from the date of key collection. But keep in mind that this warranty does not cover defects that result from the owner’s renovation work or negligence.
So before you get any renovation professionals to commence work for your new HDB flat, we recommend that you diligently inspect your new property first, and report any defects that require rectification within 7 days of receiving your keys.
For new homeowners, these are the 5 important HDB BTO defects homeowners must check for during the inspection of your new flat. Report it to your Building Service Centre (BSC) as soon as possible if you discover any problems.
Although the chances are low but there is always a risk that house fires caused by faulty electrical wiring could happen. Hence, take the effort to get a certified electrician to check if the electrical wirings or electrical points are properly installed.
Make sure that none of the electrical wirings are exposed, and that none of the power outlets are in substandard condition. Also test if all the electrical installations are working safely. If any of them are damaged or found to be potentially dangerous, get the BSC to fix them.
Nowadays, buyers of new HDB flats has the option to include flooring. These options are usually porcelain or glazed tiles and some also has vinyl strip flooring. But no matter the kind of material used for your flooring, it should be thoroughly checked for stain marks, colour inconsistencies, unevenness, cracks, and other visible damages.
The first checks you should do is to lightly tap the floor with a hard object to see if there are any hollow sounds. Usually, a hollow sound would mean the improper adhesion of your floor tiles. Secondly, check for any dislodged tiles. They are usually caused by the expansion and contraction of tiles because of thermal movement and water absorption. Such defects should not be taken lightly and must be reported immediately.
However, keep in mind that not everything that looks faulty is considered a defect. For instance, for floors with timber finishes, it is normal to have inconsistencies in colour. This is because timber is an organic product, so natural colour variation should be expected.
Walls and Ceilings
Just like flooring, your walls and ceilings should also not have any visible cracks, stain marks, patchy surfaces or any unsightly flaws. Check if paint are evenly applied on the walls and if there are any water stains on the ceilings. If you spot those, it could likely mean water leakage from the unit above you. Also look out for black mouldy stains, which would usually be a tell-tale sign of dampness causing fungus growth.
Although some minor flaws in the walls and ceilings can be easily fixed. If you spot prominently long crack lines on your walls or ceilings, put them in your defect list so that HDB can appoint a contractor to rectify them. Such damages are not just aesthetically annoying, but can be potentially dangerous as well, and some of them can be warning signs for serious problems in your new home.
While plumbing is usually hidden from view, don’t skip this check and do test your new property’s piping. It’s an important element because you sure as hell don’t want any leakage or sewage flooding to happen after you’ve moved into your new home.
Blocked or broken plumbing can cause serious problems, so make sure that the plumbing systems in your new home is working soundly. Start with the pipes located under your kitchen sink and in the bathrooms.
Run water to see if there are leaks. By doing this, it will also let you see if the wash basins are functioning. To check for hidden leaks, shut off all your faucets and valves, and check if your meter is running. If it’s running, chances are you have a leak somewhere in the pipes.
Doors and Windows
The doors and windows in your new flat should also be checked, as they are your home’s primary barrier against intruders and other undesirable outdoor elements.
All your doors and windows must be safely installed and in good working condition, which means they must be properly aligned, securely attached to their respective frames, have no rusty and broken parts, and can be opened and closed easily without any creaking sound.
Also check to see if the knobs and locks for all the doors are functioning well. And don’t forget to also inspect your windows for water seeping through especially during wet seasons.
Before inspecting your new home, be sure to prepare and bring with you items such as markers, a step ladder or plastic chair, and this defect checklist (You can use this as a guide to help you remember and record any issues) to make your inspection work easier. And remember to have your mobile phone camera ready so you can snap pictures when you spot defects.
All the best and congratulations to you for your first home!