HDB rule could raise renovation costs

The Housing and Development Board (HDB) has mandated the use of pre-packed cement throughout HDB flats, but this recently enforced rule could raise the renovation cost for owners by thousands of dollars, reported The Straits Times.

This requirement will affect all flat owners who signed renovation contracts since the first day of June. The ruling was supposed to be introduced in December 2014 and renovation contractors were informed about it a year ago. However, its implementation was delayed because many contractors asked the housing board for more time to prepare for it.

Previously, HDB only required the use of this building material in wet areas like kitchens and toilets. As for other areas of the house, contractors could use cement that was manually mixed on-site.

However, the rule was expanded to “ensure a cleaner environment and more uniform finishes”, said an HDB spokesperson. Other benefits include less material waste and higher quality finishes.

“The old method of manually mixing sand, cement and water depends largely on personal judgment or trial and error. Using pre-packed material will ensure better quality in terms of consistency and finishing,” said Tan Teng Hooi, Associate Professor at SIM University and head of the institution’s building and project management programme.

But this means flats owners would end up paying more. According to HDB’s estimates, renovation works for a five-room flat could cost around $1,500 more depending on labour costs and the extent of work needed.

In comparison, some contractors believe the new ruling could increase renovation costs by around $2.00 to $3.00 psf with total costs climbing by up to $3,000.


Romesh Navaratnarajah, Singapore Editor at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact him about this or other stories email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg