Getting a renovation contractor to do up your BTO flat? Make sure he’s HDB licensed! Here’s how.

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a HDB flat. Naturally, you are all excited to do up your home and come up with great plans for it!

Wanting to make your home comfortable for your loved ones whilst adding a distinctive touch to make your friends love it is a huge part of the renovation process.

However, what is even more important is that fact that you must first find a reliable renovation contractor for the job. To help you do just that, we are presenting important guidelines on choosing a renovation contractor.

Why HDB flat owners need to make sure that their contractor is HDB licensed?
HDB flat owners may only select from a list of registered and licensed HDB contractors, whether it is a window contractor, an electrician or even a renovation contractor. This is because only licensed and HDB registered contractors have undergone appropriate levels of training.

Given the scams that have occurred in recent times involving renovation and construction sectors, the Housing Development Renovation Control Rules made it mandatory since 2006 that HDB flat owners should only hire renovation contractors who are licensed by the HDB to carry out renovation works in their homes. Failure to comply against these rules could even amount to fines and penalties.

Why you should hire only HDB registered renovation contractors?
There are numerous advantages of working with a HDB registered and licensed renovation contractor:

1. He would know the extent of renovation you are allowed to carry in the HDB flat. There is a comprehensive list of guidelines laid down by the HDB, and one needs to be up-to-date with this knowledge.

2. He would have successfully undergone all requisite training needed for the renovation and construction work.

3. He will also have been actively involved in renovation trade for at least a year.

4. If he has a company, it would be registered with the ACRA for at least one year and would have had ownership of it for at least one year.

5. The registered renovation contractor will submit renovation requests on your behalf to the Housing Development Board. (He can do such applications electronically). Experienced renovation contractors would naturally know the process well and would do it without errors. This is important to help save time on the project.

6. You would naturally reduce your chances of unknowingly going in for unauthorized works.

7. Your licensed renovation contractors would know that it is mandatory displaying the Notice of Renovation Works outside the flat where the work is being conducted. A registered contractor would also inform neighbours about the ongoing work.

8. He would know the rules about how long the work may be carried out for, particularly about time constraints placed by HDB on noisy work. These restrictions include not working after 6 pm or on weekends and public holidays etc.

9. Registered renovation contractors are generally responsible and competent to complete renovation works on time,  given the fact that their licence could be revoked if they flout the rules.

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How to ensure Contractors are HDB licensed and registered?
There are multiple ways of finding HDB registered renovation contractors. You could do so by sending a SMS (short message service) to 90112222 and follow subsequent steps given here. If you already have in mind a particular renovation company you want to work with, you can check if they are registered with the HDB by entering its name on this page.

It’s illegal to engage non-licensed renovation contractor
There are many scammers and illegal renovation contractors who will try to convince you to hire them – with too good to be true prices. They might do so by showing false documents or even borrowing the license from some other contractor. They may even propose to work outside the system by offering you a discount on their services.

Remember: it might seem tempting to save money this way, but you might actually be fined heavy penalties of the order of $5,000 or more if found to be working with an unregistered renovation contractor.

So why take the risk? It is a pretty straightforward process and if yours is a HDB flat, then by selecting a reliable HDB licensed renovation contractor you would be in safer hands.

Top Image: PrinceOfLove /

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