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9 Renovation Works That Need A HDB Permit Before You Start Work! Don’t Play Play!

When it comes to renovation works, always check if you need a HDB permit before doing anything. Trust us when we tell you from experience, that it pays to err on the right side of the law. The last thing you want is HDB to clamp down on your renovation in the middle of the project and leave you between a rock and a hard place. 

Feeling worried that you don’t know exactly what kind of renovation works are not allowed without a permit? 

Worry no more as our helpful team at Redbrick Homes has put in the hours of research so you don’t have to.

9 Renovation Works That Need A HDB Permit Before You Start Work!
Interior Design Firm: 96 Degree

Demolition Or Alterations to Walls

Long story short, anything to do with walls can only be carried out after obtaining HDB’s explicit approval. 

Before you say, “But I’m only tearing down a partition wall and not a concrete wall”, stop and go and apply for a permit (or ensure your ID gets one) anyways.

The HDB rules are clear, whether you are planning to make changes to non-load bearing concrete walls or non-structure drywalls or hollow walls, if it is a wall, you must obtain HDB approval before you carry out any work on-site at all.

For concrete wall works – note that you must hire a professional engineer to oversee the demolition works.

Flooring Top Up or Replacement for Dry Areas

Need to top up your flooring level with cement screed so that it matches the floor level in your various rooms? Want to replace your existing flooring with new tiled floor finishes or engineered timber?

You will need to get a permit – except for finishes that are just laid over – like vinyl, carpet, and linoleum.

9 Renovation Works That Need A HDB Permit Before You Start Work! Don’t Play Play!
Interior Design Firm: D’Brain Studio

Bathroom Wall and Flooring Works

Another commonly known fact is that HDB homeowners are not allowed to replace the bathroom wall and floor tiles within the first 3 years due to waterproofing and leakage warranty.

But what about after the first 3 years?

The good news is you can replace it, but if it involves hacking you will need to get a permit before proceeding as there are some guidelines that you need to adhere to.

Renovation in The Sold Recess Area

For anyone unsure about what a sold recess area is, it is essentially the “free space” just outside your unit – usually for corner units.

If you have bought over the recess area from HDB, technically you are free to incorporate it as part of your home design.

But as it is technically a communal space, you will need to seek a permit and approval before you can make any permanent changes to the space.

Baum Project - Quick Crash Course: Which Interior Design Style is Right for You
Interior Design Firm: Baum Project


Prefer a style that is not so polished, a little more raw with urban character? You could be looking at a modern industrial interior design.

Inspired by industrial spaces like factories and warehouses, the industrial interior design is a distinct style that is characterized by a few strong design elements:

  • Exposed brick walls for a raw and unfinished look
  • Open layouts reminiscent of these large industrial spaces
  • A strong combination of wood and metal in furnishing or architectural elements
  • Exposed piping, beams, and even “electrical wiring” to complete the unfinished vibe
SHOES CABINET - hdb renovation permit
Interior Design Firm: Eight Design

Replacing Main Door, Windows, and Relocation of Doors

Don’t like the HDB design for your main door? Well, you can change it if you get a permit and find an HDB-approved fire-rated and accredited alternative. 

Planning to change up your internal layout and reposition some internal door entrances accordingly? First off, make sure no new entrances will be created through reinforced concrete walls, second, get a permit for approval for your new entrances.

Last but not least, all window replacement works require a renovation permit as well – whether it is installation or replacement of window on parapet or grilles at service yard or balcony.

Once you do get the permit, make sure you adhere to the designs HDB has designated or you might risk having to take it out again.

Certain Electric Works

First and foremost, all your electrical works should be performed by a licensed electrician. 

In addition to that, according to HDB regulations, a HDB permit is also required if electrical works need to be carried out in older flats that have yet to undergo Home Improvement Programme (HIP) due to the lower electrical loading.

With the permit, HDB will approve the installation of a new 15 amps power point or 20 amps isolator for your high electricity capacity electronics and air conditioning respectively.

Check your HDB block’s electrical loading here!

Fish Tank or Ponds

An avid fish enthusiast with a plan to incorporate a fish tank or pond in your home? Make sure you ensure that it fits HDB’s requirements:

  • Total set not exceeding 150 kg
  • Normal fish tank support on rack or cabinet that does not exceed 600 kg per room
  • Fishpond that has a contact surface of not more than 2m x 1 m and 0.5 m depth

Anything that doesn’t adhere to the above, make sure you reach out with this specific application permit to your HDB branch for approval.

9 Renovation Works That Need A HDB Permit Before You Start Work! Don’t Play Play!
Interior Design Firm: Space Define

Staircase Works (For Executive Maisonettes)

If you are the lucky few who are staying the rare two-story HDB Executive Maisonettes that have been phased out since 1995 and happen to need some renovation works done for your staircases – know that you will need a permit.

Particularly for instances where you are replacing the railings and or building safety barriers for staircases with more than 1m vertical drop.

Installation of Awning (For Topmost units)

Owners of the topmost HDB units of blocks that have open-to-sky balconies will also need to get a permit for installing an awning should they want to.

This is on top of other conditions like engaging a Professional Engineering to design it to ensure compliance with various authorities, subject to HDB approval.

How To Apply for HDB Renovation Permit?

If you have an ID helping you with your renovation works, they will likely be your go-to person to guide you through the process step by step.

In other cases, you will need to fill up the HDB permit form for your relevant renovation works and submit it to HDB for approval. Don’t forget to include your floor plans.

Once it is approved, only then can you start on these specific renovation works within a specific timeframe (usually 3 months for new BTOs and 1 month for resale flats).

Looking for An Experienced ID Who Knows All the Dos and Don’ts for HDB Permits?

Prefer to leave all the technical stuff in the good hands of an experienced and trustworthy ID?

Look no further with IDMate, Redbrick Home’s algorithm-powered matchmaker that matches you with the best interior design firms  from our pool of professional IDs in Singapore!

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