Renovation Pointers



1. After You Have Selected Your Flat

It is never too early to start conceptualising your renovation. Notice the different type of renovations around you. Take note of details and the type of finishes, fittings and furniture. You can consult your relatives and friends who have carried out renovation work.

Try to bear in mind the size of your flat and the needs of every occupant. Take into consideration your storage needs, the type of finishes, fittings and furniture you are getting and the location of power points and lighting.

Source for your renovation funds and budget your renovation with an affordable cost. Compare the various renovation loan packages of the banks and their terms & conditions. With the budget in mind, prioritise the items you want.

Locate a few contractors for assessment and comparison. Make sure that the specifications given to these contractors are the same. Assuming the specifications are the same, the quotes may still vary because of different standards in workmanship and service provided. Thus, never just go for the lowest quote. Assess carefully and cautiously the quotations, look out for any hidden cost, check if all the items discussed are quoted and included. You may also check with HDB to confirm the validity of the contractors' HDB Licence and/or to confirm with RADAC the status of its accreditation. Contractor has to be registered with HDB in order to carry out certain renovation job in a HDB flat. Stringent criterion must be met before a contractor could be accredited with RADAC. Should you have any dispute with your contractor, RADAC could only help to mediate the dispute if the contractor is accredited with RADAC.

It is important to note that only those renovation companies/firms which have registered with RADAC and have duly renewed their accreditation upon expiry are called RADAC accredited renovators. Any of their associated companies/firms which do not registered with RADAC are not to be called RADAC accredited renovators. Each registered companies/firm is a separate entity, RADAC only recognise the one which is registered with RADAC for accreditation.

2. Once You Have Received Your Keys

Make sure that you are given all the necessary keys to the house and all the finishes, fittings and accessories are in place. Check for any defects on the wall, floor and wall tiles. Doors and windows should be able to open and close properly and the sanitary utilities should be in function. Notify the HDB Branch Office personally with the list of defects within the stipulated period.

3. After The Appointment Of A Contractor

All requirements should be communicated clearly to your contractor. Never rely on verbal agreement, always sign a renovation agreement/contract. When you sign the renovation contract with your contractor, take extra note on the fine prints on the agreement. If the contractor is accredited with RADAC, it is advisable to use the RADAC Standard Contract which states the guidelines on the contractual obligations between the contractor and the consumer.

Contractors are required to seek approval from the Housing And Development Board for some of the renovation items being carried out. Contractors have to be registered with HDB in order to apply for the renovation permit. You may check with HDB if the contractors are registered with the authority. Always make sure that all these items have been approved by HDB before commencement of the renovation. You can refer to the Directory of Accredited Renovators, the annual publication of RADAC for the HDB guidelines governing renovation works.You should constantly supervise the renovation works and make known to your contractor any dissatisfaction. Bear in mind that a good rapport with your contractor is beneficial to both parties. Keep track of the progressive payments you have made and always ask for receipts.

Disputes With Your Contractors

Communicate clearly with your contractors on your discontentment. Discuss with him on the possible solutions and give him ample time to rectify the work.

If necessary, you could approach RADAC for assistance, RADAC helps to mediate dispute pertaining to renovation between its accredited renovator and homeowner.


Ceiling -Cornices, pelmet and false ceiling give special decorative effect to the ceiling and could be used for concealing wiring, piping and lighting fixtures. Paint or some finishing may be needed to provide a layer of protection.

Door - Many homeowners tend to replace the doors of the bedrooms which HDB provided with one that suits the design of the flat. Doors come with various designs and sizes, discuss with your contractor what is best for the design of your flat. It is advisable to use sliding or folding doors for kitchen and bathrooms.

Wall - Wall can be furnished with paint or wallpaper. Various types of paint or wallpapers have their own strong points, some may be able to withstand wash and wear but some may not. Consult your contractors for more information.

Floor - Common floor finishings are marble, granite, ceramic tiles and parquet. Parquet is in strip and can be laid in many different patterns. Marble is beautiful, however it is expensive and its shines has to be maintained*. Broken marble could be a substitute. Ceramic tiles is ideal for both floor and wall. It is cheaper and easier to maintain. For safety reasons, it is advisable to choose non-slip tiles for wet areas like bathroom and kitchen.

*Being a natural stone, it is common to have fine cracks in marbles. Such flaws may only be discovered after the grinding process. Thus it is a common argument between the homeowners and contractors. Homeowners may take such flaws as the natural beauty of marbles.


- Background / General Lighting : a direct replacement for natural light and provides a general view of visibility

- Task Lighting : provides localized illumination in specific areas for specific activities

- Accent / Decorative Lighting : used to highlight attractive objects in a particular room and to create moods / atmosphere


Living Room :
The living room is where a variety of different activities takes place and it represents the main reflection of our taste and style. Versatility or flexibility is the key to good lighting.

    create an adequate general visibility level to reduce accent light brightness contrast
    use overhead track fixtures or wall washers to illuminate an entire wall so as to serve as a background for room furnishings
    be sure that floor, table and ceiling light fittings have sufficient shades to avoid glare
    use recessed reflectorised lights to highlight special room areas
    play up architectural features, collectibles and plants with decorative lighting arrangements
    use dimmers to program lighting moods and atmosphere
    ensure that there are sufficient power points for task lighting and table lamps

Master Bedroom :

    install a handy light switch at the door entrance so that you are not handicapped by the darkness in the middle of the night
    allow varied sources of light to create diffused illumination for the whole room, eg. recessed downlighters with shaded lamps to project a romantic theme
    use dimmers to adjust the level of lighting to establish the ambience of the room or to create the atmosphere conducive to slumber
    use overhead fixtures or wall washers to illuminate the wall over the bed (headboard) so as to serve as a focal point for the room
    provide localized task lighting for specific activities, eg. bedside tables with individual reading lamps

Dining Room :

    create visual impact on decor, guests and food rather than on ceilings and walls, eg. focus ceiling downlights on dining table surface
    china and silverware collections and displays deserve special lighting considerations
    use dimmer control on chandelier to program room atmosphere
    candles and fuel lamps in decorative fittings add spice to any meal

Kitchen :

    analyse thoroughly your kitchen floor plan. Detail out the major appliances, bar counters and natural light sources
    efficient lighting or good task lighting is the primary concern with decorative or mood lighting as secondary concern
    background lighting should be well distributed, uniformed and shadowless
    provide well-positioned and localized task lighting for specific work areas. Adjustable light fitting units provide flexibility
    install recessed downlighters over the sink for dark nights and cloudy days
    provide localized lighting for storage areas in pantry or wall cabinets