Renovating A Condo vs. An HDB Flat: Key Differences

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Renovating A Condo vs. An HDB Flat: Key Differences

STORY: Dawn Hee
14 September 2022
PHOTO: PEXELS/BLUE BIRD
PHOTO: PEXELS/BLUE BIRD

Home renovation is never an easy process - be it for private or public housing, there are so many decisions to make and countless matters to arrange for. And even if it isn’t your first time going through the tedious process, there are some key differences to keep in mind as well if you are switching from a condo to HDB flat, and vice versa. Here, we share some common instances where they diverge.

1. It may actually cost more to renovate a HDB flat

This is especially so as compared to renovating a brand-new condominium. New condo units often come with kitchen and bathroom fittings, as well as home appliances like washing machines and ovens. In that case, there isn’t anything major to improve on - unless you’re planning to overhaul the entire design, of course.

On the flipside, HDB flats generally require more work to be done. Build-to-Order flats, for example, will be handed over completely bare without flooring, sanitary fittings and bedroom doors should homeowners choose not to opt-in for the Optional Component Scheme (OCS).

2. Condos tend to have more restrictions

Generally, both condos and HDB flats are prohibited from doing anything that alters the facade of the building. However, condos may also be further restricted by the developer with unique rules in place. For example, putting in place decorative window grilles or main gates may very well get a homeowner in trouble with the MCST (Management Corporation Strata Title). When in doubt, always check with them for the latest renovation guidelines.

PHOTO: UNSPLASH/KARL SOLANO
PHOTO: UNSPLASH/KARL SOLANO

3. It may take a longer time to renovate a condominium unit

There are different regulations involved in renovating a condo as compared to an HDB flat. Whilst renovations carried out for public housing flats follow guidelines set out by HDB, works carried out in a condo have to follow the by-laws set out by their MCST. For example, the MCST may stipulate a fixed time and duration that renovation works can be carried out, and this may impede the speed of work done.

4. Access is restricted to condo premises

Whilst there are no restrictions for HDB flats, renovation contractors wouldn’t be able to enter the premises without prior approval from the MCST. And if it’s a new condo, it’s possible that there are other units renovating at the same time - it’s best to get approval in advance so you can be sure that there are adequate elevators and appropriate parking lots available for your crew.

5. Arranging for disposal of waste

If you’ve stayed in a HDB flat before, you would be familiar with the complimentary bulky item removal service provided by Town Councils for residents. This comes in super handy for renovation works where there can be a ton of debris and waste.

The same can’t be said for condos, however. Your interior designer or contractor will have to make arrangements to have the debris removed properly by professionals according to the condo’s by-laws, and it should also be approved by the MCST before the process is carried out. Otherwise, you may have to foot the bill should there be any damage caused to the common property as a result of improper removal.

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