8 Important Things in Your Renovation Quote
It’s not uncommon for many Singaporean couples to apply for a HDB flat under the fiancé and fiancée scheme, and then register their marriage before getting their keys.
It’s also a challenging feat for many because a lot of time and effort are spent on transacting the property purchase, securing funding for the renovation of your property, and having to go through the entire process of finding, evaluating and hiring the right renovation professional.
In short, it is a stressful but fulfilling ordeal.
Often, first time homeowners are unsure of the things or items that deserves close scrutiny in the renovation quotation and contract. If you have already gone past the major challenges mentioned above, and are planning to obtain estimates from renovation contractors for your home renovation, you should pay close attention to these 8 important things during your discussions with renovation companies.
To avoid any nasty surprises, make sure these details are covered and addressed in your quotation and contract. Even if it is just an initial quote, this could very well be a precursor to the contract that you will eventually sign with the renovation company.
Scope of Work
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During your initial discussions with a renovation contractor or interior designer, you would have described the scope of work and disclosed the detailed requirements for your home renovation. When the company furnishes you with a quotation for the scope of work to be done, take note that it has to be clearly itemised, along with a detailed description.
Here’s an example of how it should be written. You can see that it indicates the room location within your property, the work scope, measurements and materials.
1. To design, fabricate and install 1 no. of 6ft for full height sliding/ casement door wardrobe using solid plywood with choice of laminated finishing.
2. To supply and install 1 no. of 5ft mirror on wardrobe sliding door.
Other than the major works, it should also include details such as electrical re-wiring, air conditioner wiring, installing of appliances, painting, plumbing, carpentry and tiling etc.
In short, all the not-so-obvious little details that will be part of your entire renovation. This will help you actually understand the full work scope and immediately highlight any hidden costs for your renovation works.
It may seem trivial that measurements are a red flag but this will dictate how much material will be used, and in turn will decide your costs to a fairly large extent. A good example of this would be carpentry works and workmanship fee.
So the quote should have measurement details clearly indicated because this is an area which could undergo changes as the renovation progresses. This will help avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.
List of Materials
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Your renovation is bound to consist of different types of materials – wood, laminates, ceramic or homogeneous tiles, vinyl flooring, wiring or piping, paints and so on. Ask questions and be aware of the kind of materials the contractor will be using. Some materials may be cheaper than others but not as reliable and long lasting.
You may want a particular kind of flooring for one room and a different one for another. In most cases, the flooring of your living area could be using homogeneous tiles, and flat looking non-slip ceramic tiles for your kitchen. They vary in costs, serves their purpose respectively and have their pros and cons.
Most renovation companies will let you choose up to 5 paint colours for your home. If you need any additions you may be charged extra. Since the paint also come with different properties such as odourless, easy wash and anti-mould etc. these should also be listed down as well.
All these details should be a part of your quotation, so you get a pretty good idea of how much everything will cost. As far as your contract is concerned, once it is drawn up, go through all the points in your contract and make sure you don’t expose yourself to grey areas.
Permits and Regulations
If it is a HDB flat you are renovating, a renovation permit needs to be obtained from the HDB before any work can commence. The renovation company you hire will work closely with you to handle the paperwork and permit application.
Before you decide to hire, it’s important for you to note these points below.
- Engage only a HDB Registered Renovation Contractor to carry out the renovation, including those works that do not require HDB’s approval. If this is breached, you can be fined up to $5,000 and may face other penalties.
- Your appointed renovation contractor will need to submit a renovation application for items that require HDB’s prior approval electronically via HDB InfoWEB.
- Approval for work such as demolition of walls, replacement of flooring or wall finishes will require approval from HDB before work can be carried out.
- Only certified (BCA trained) workers can perform hacking or demolition work.
- Only pre-packed materials can be used for all flooring and wall finishes or replacement work.
- Electrical installation and gas works should only be performed by electrical workers licensed by the Energy Market Authority (EMA).
- Only engage HDB registered or BCA approved window contractors for window installation works.
As the property owner, HDB holds you liable for any renovation work to be performed within your flat. Thus, ensure you comply fully with these guidelines from HDB. Violating them can attract fines so ensure that your contractor is fully aware and this is mentioned in the contract.
- Once the permit is approved, your renovation contractor must put up a ‘Notice of Renovation’ outside your flat during the entire work period. They are also required to inform your neighbours 3 days before the start of any renovation works (even for works which do not require a renovation permit).
- General renovation work can only be carried out between 9:00am and 6:00pm on weekdays and Saturdays. No work is allowed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
- Work involving the hacking of walls, removal of wall or floor finishes, cutting of tiles and heavy and excessive drilling works, etc. can only be carried out strictly between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays.
- Workers doing renovation work can only use 2 HDB Approved Hand-held Power Tools or their equivalent at any one time. Work of this nature must be completed within 3 consecutive days.
- Renovation works must be completed within 1 month for existing blocks (e.g. Resale units) and 3 months for new blocks from the date the renovation permit is granted. You need to inform the HDB Branch office managing your flat immediately once your renovations are completed.
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Extras cropping up during renovation is fairly common. It could be an electrical point that you want to install halfway through the renovation work, a different wash basin for the guest bathroom or a slightly larger granite counter for the kitchen.
These will lead to extra costs but to avoid any conflicts later on, factor in potential extras and charges you may need to incur right from the beginning.
For example, standard charges for an extra electrical point usually costs between $60 to $70, while an extra lighting point will cost about $40 each. You can ask them to be listed in the quotation.
Debris Clearing and Haulage
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If you are taking down walls or retiling the bathroom, there will be debris that needs to be cleared and taken away. The rates are pretty much fixed at $215 inclusive of GST, so do not let the renovation company charge you excessively for this.
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Another important item to be considered in any contract is going to be payment terms, conditions and the schedule of payments. It is a common market practice to give a certain percentage (of the total price) as down payment when you accept and endorse the contract.
The entire renovation are defined with several milestones, so you only release the payment when items are delivered satisfactorily in each agreed milestone. It should also indicate that the final payment be released after your contractor duly completes all the work in the contract and does a proper hand over (after checks are conducted and you are satisfied with the work).
Go over these points carefully and sign only when you are satisfied with the way it has been drafted. In case you need to terminate the contract early because the work being done is not to your liking and satisfaction, check if there is a sub section in your contract which tells you how you are liable to the renovation firm.
We hope the 8 points raised in this article will help you know what to look out for in your quotation and contract, thus safe guarding yourself against any unfair charges or hidden costs for your home renovation.