Thursday, May 10, 2012


Hi all... pls refer to my wife's blog instead. We will be updating from there! Seeya! Click here =>My Home Reno!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Defects to check for when you get your HDB flat!

Okay, there is no such thing as a new home without defects. I guess unless you paid millions for your new place where someone does stringent quality checks for you, you're bound to get a defect for a mass-produced, pieced together HDB flat.

There are various excellent blog sites which give you the lists of what to look out for. In my case, I checked the following:

1) Parquet Floors

Okay, I know loads of people are anal about their parquet floors - they want it to be smooth, scratch-less and completely well-filled in under the tiles. But seriously, do you honestly expect to get evenly filled-out parquet floors in a HDB flat?

What, however, is consoling, is that you don't actually literally have to knock each and every of your parquet tiles for hollowness - instead, what you should really look out for are harsh scratches and gaps in between the tiles. Hollowness is okay because parquet tiles tend not to pop up, unlike homogenous tiles.

In fact, HDB makes things worse if you actually complain about hollow tiles - what they do is that they drill a hole through your parquet, fill it up with putty and then, hey presto, you get a parquet floor with many putty holes. Ugly!

There are people who have floors like that, you know. Don't be one of them!

2) Homogeneous tiles

For the floor tiles in your living room (you can refer to my previous post for pictures), you definitely HAVE TO check for hollowness. From my friend's experience, he didn't check it properly and they popped up after two years.

So in the end, he and his wife ended up staying in a hotel for a week while the repairs were done. Unless you like staying in hotels or have too much money to spare, check your homogeneous tiles!

However, please do not get over-anal about your floor skirtings - these are almost always hollow but they do not create any problems so you shouldn't spend your time fussing needlessly on those.

3) Windows and Grills

Most HDB homes don't come in built with grills. In case yours does (like mine in the MBR), check to see that the grills and windows can slide and lock properly.

4) Sinks and Water Pipes

Open up all your drainage holes - including those at your inbuilt sinks, service balcony area, toilets, etc, to check for blockage. You might be surprised to see stones lodged inside! More serious (and irresponsible cases) include hardened cement where workers have poured off excess concrete!

5) Doors and Hinges

If you have opted for the HDB door package, your flat will come with them. Now the most annoying thing is that HDB gives you quality, solid doors for the bathrooms as well - non-bifold!! That means these are bulky, take up a lot of space and give you a big headache.

Previously, I had wanted to replace them but my contractor advised against it since they were paid for anyway! I'll probably give them 3 years before I chuck them.

Anyway, check your doors for defects, especially for chipped areas at the hinges. Check also that your hinges are not cracked (mine was!) and that the doors can close and open properly. Make sure all your locks are working well.

Also, remember to check the doors for any discolouring or uneven patches. I checked the gates at the main entrance and found them sloshed with some kind of black, uneven paint! Complained to the BSC and they were repainted within a week.

And whether you are looking at your windows or your doors, make sure that nothing is rusty!

5) Laundry Rack

Okay, I had a major problem with the laundry rack. Now, I don't know why HDB has chosen to adopt this design but it is seriously difficult and tedious to use! If you're the sort like me who often pulls clothes off laundry racks to wear for the day, this will seriously give you a headache.

Just imagine spending time to unwind that long cord and lower the thing!

By the way, I had a problem with the laundry rack because it refuses to come down smoothly - you have to hold the cord at a high awkward angle to lower it bit by bit. Anyway, I have complained to the BSC for a couple of times but so far, it is not helping much. Nevertheless, check that yours is working okay and that it doesn't pose as a astronomical challenge to use!

6) Water and electricity
Now, this is probably something you will only check when you have secured a contractor and have turned on your supplies. Just to say - on the day that you get your HDB flat, do not enthusiastically turn on your electricity and water supplies if you aren't starting your renovation work any time soon. You don't want to start paying for the utilities needlessly. A safe bet would be to turn the supplies on one week prior to the start of renovation.

Anyway, make sure that your supplies are okay - no blockage in the pipes and with clear water flowing through. Turn on your taps, flush your toilets and make sure everything is going pretty. Once again, make sure your drainage holes and pipes are working well with no pooling of water.

As for electricity, you will need to get your contractor or electrician to test them out using their tools. Do not plug any other electronics in yet - make sure that everything is fine before doing so.

What to do when preparing your checklist of defects

Okay, so I have more or less briefed you through on the essentials that you need to check. While checking, make sure you mark the defects with masking tape and write with a marker on the tape itself to highlight the problem. At the same time, also write down the defects on your BSC list.

Before you surrender the list to BSC, make sure that you buy a lock. Yes! A lock! You can get either a bicycle chain lock (number-lock type) or a chain and padlock with key. Pass the number lock combination or spare key to the BSC so that they can get their workers to go in for repairs.

At this stage, make sure that you DO NOT leave any valuables in your new flat!!

At the same time, I also believe it would be courteous and generous to leave a carton of mineral water for the workers. This is strictly up to you, but then again, I believe if you show some care, workers might put in some extra effort to make sure your repairs turn out nicely.

Just imagine - with so many annoying home-owners making various complaints, showing some care will help you stand apart and earn some brownie points!

Bring your defect list to the BSC and be courteous when you do so. Ask him or her to contact you once the repairs have been done. Sometimes, BSC tend to forget and they don't even return you the spare key afterwards. You can also call back to enquire about the progress.

Alright, that's all for now. I am currently in the stage of renovation - however, I will share with you on my process of getting renovators and IDs. These might give you some insights on what to look out for and who to choose. :)

Introduction - My New Flat in Punggol

Hi all!

Welcome to my blog. Just started this because I am renovating my flat in Punggol. It's actually a 5-room premium flat covering a floor area of 120sqm at Punggol Breeze. Basically, it comes with HDB doors, toilet bowls, floors and master bedroom sink. But still, there are things to be done, such as cabinets, built in appliances, wardrobes, yadda yadda, hence the need for renovation.

As I go along, I will touch on my renovation process. Honestly, it can get pretty tiring running up and down trying to get the best deals but if you're tight on your budget like I am, it pays to do your homework. As well as avoid some of the mistakes which I have made. *wistful look*

Meanwhile, as promised, photos of my new flat - which I got the keys on 13 January 2012. Comes with balcony and bay windows:

Welcome to my living room!

Chio anot?

Entrance to balcony.

Grey wall.

The other side.

View of entrance and dining area from balcony.

MBR. Comes with white aluminium grills.


One of the rooms.

MBR toilet. With a bulky sink!

MBR toilet, this time with a view of the feature wall.

Walkway to the rooms.

The washing machine area - good for putting something about 60cm in width.

Honestly, I think this washing machine area is quite stupid. Unless you live on the top floor with no such pipes, chances are that you'll be quite limited in the types of washing machines you can buy.

The rather annoying and difficult-to-use pulley system clothes rack.

Ok, that's all for pictures. In my next post, I will touch on checking for defects in our HDB flat and what you really should be looking out for - and what you actually needn't be so fussy about. Till then!