BTO Defects Checklist: 5 Areas to Inspect in your BTO Flat

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No house is perfectly built; HDB knows this. That’s why they have a 1-year Defects Liability Period (effective from the date of key collection) for all new BTO flats, which allows homeowners to report any defects they find in their new home and get them fixed by HDB—for free.

Take note that you should report any BTO defects within a month of your key collection and before starting home renovations. This is because HDB will only be responsible for any defects you find in your home before any renovation works have been conducted.

If there are any defects during or after your renovation, it would be difficult to determine the real cause of the defects and you may end up not being able to get the warranty for your BTO flat under the Defects Liability Period.

Here are 5 BTO defects you should look out for and put on your checklist:

1. Walls and ceilings

Examine the walls and ceilings for cracks, stains and lines. There could be hairline cracks; there is no shame in using a magnifying glass to properly inspect your walls for these insidious fissures in your walls and ceilings. 

Hairline cracks may be the effect of a bad paint or plastering job, while larger cracks could signify bigger problems like shoddily built foundations or compromised structural integrity. 

Meanwhile, stains on the ceiling can mean water seepage or leaks, which will be a costly affair to rectify. 

HDB will also rectify issues like poor paint jobs, small dents, scratches, or skid marks if you highlight them, so be meticulous as you scrutinise your new home.

2. Flooring

Floors, whether wood, laminate, or tile, should be devoid of scratches, hollowness (tap on each strip of wood, laminate, or tile to check), inconsistent tonality, unevenness, or stains. 

Hollowness could mean the flooring was improperly laid, stains suggest water seepage, scratches and chips could signify careless workmanship or post-clean-up, inconsistent tones may indicate mixing of materials from different batches, and unevenness could be caused by either poor workmanship or an uneven subfloor.

Also, look out for gaps between strips of wood or laminate, or squeaking sounds when you walk across them, which could mean they were not bonded properly to the floor. 

While it is normal for tiles to have grout in between them, the grout should be clean and neatly lined between tiles. 

It also goes without saying there should not be any gaps, chips, or colour disparities between your flooring and the skirting. 

3. Doors, gates, windows

Your doors, gates, and windows shouldn’t creak or squeak when opening or closing, and all their respective keys should turn smoothly in their locks. Look carefully, or even give it a vigorous shake test to ensure they are all sturdily fitted and properly aligned. 

All hinges should also be rust and mould-free, and there shouldn’t be any scratches on the surfaces, chips off the edges, unevenness in the laminate and linings, and the glass in your windows should not have any cracks or scratches too. 

All handles should turn properly and exercise their respective functions in opening and closing your doors, gates, and windows.

If your door has a peephole, make sure you are able to clearly see through it — there should not be any “misting”, scratches, or strange warps in your view. This is a crucial safety function that you shouldn’t overlook. 

4. Plumbing and electrical works

Plumbing and electrical issues are a great hassle to rectify, given the likelihood of having to hack through a wall or two to get to the root of the problem, so you should take care to check both as carefully as you can. 

Look out for telltale stains and corrosion, especially around valves, fittings, pipes, and below and around cabinetry. Pipes should look new and durable; turn the water on to inspect them for leaks, especially around the joints. Check both your bathrooms and kitchen where all your plumbing works and sanitary fittings are most likely to be. 

You should also check all electrical outlets to make sure none of them is cracked, mouldy, stained, or malfunctioning. It is prudent to bring a phone charger or some other small electrical device so you can check that all your electrical points are working. While unlikely, loose wires are a dead giveaway that your electrical works have been shoddily done. 

Given most of the wiring and plumbing may be hidden behind walls or built-in furniture, you may want to get a professional to check both your plumbing and electrical setups to ensure all is in good working order.

5. Toilet and sanitary fittings

Let’s admit it; the toilet is the true throne of the home, the most important seat in the house. So inspect your toilet thoroughly to make sure there are no stains, cracks, scratches, leaks, water seepage, or chokes. 

Flush it a few times (you may want to add a bit of coloured water in it so you can tell) to ensure the system is fully functioning. You can also put the seat and cover up and down to check that they do not creak, or squeak, and are properly installed and aligned. 

Your sanitary fittings like sinks, taps, bidets, and showers should also be devoid of cracks, scratches, leaks, seepage or chokes. When your taps and showers are turned off, there should be no drips or leaks, when they are turned on, water should flow smoothly without any loud sounds coming from your pipes, and the taps and showers should not “sputter” or “hiss”. 

To find out more about the potential BTO defects you need to look out for, you can check out the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) new homeowner’s guide here.

How to report BTO defects to HDB and submit a rectification request

Now that you’ve finished with your home inspection and gone through your BTO defects checklist, the next step is submitting your Defects Feedback Form to HDB or a rectification request online. You can also visit a Building Service Centre (BSC), which should be within walking distance from your home. 

You have to report any BTO defects you find within 1 month of key collection and the start of any renovation work.

To get the Defects Feedback Form, which you can get within 7 days of your key collection, or check where the nearest BSC is, you may refer to your HDB Welcome Kit. 

HDB’s Assure 3 warranty will also cover any defects in your BTO after the 1-year Defects Liability Period

HDB’s Assure 3 warranty covers issues such as ceiling leak, external wall seepage, and spalling concrete:

IssueWarranty Period
Ceiling leak at toilets/kitchen5 years*
Water seepage from external wall5 years
Spalling concrete10 years
*The warranty for ceiling leak will cease if floor tiles have been changed; or if the waterproofing system has been tampered with.

Once HDB has rectified all the identified defects in your BTO flat, you may now start with your home renovations. 

Let us help you with that!

Ohmyhome Renovations is here to turn your vision into reality

Renovation not just improves the overall value and aesthetic of your house, but it allows you to enjoy your home to the fullest and incorporate a part of yourself into the spaces around you. So sit back, relax and let us turn your house into a home, because at Ohmyhome, we’re always by your side, on your side. 

Engage our experienced team of interior designers and contractors for a well-executed home renovation project. Secure an appointment with any of our Interior Designers by dropping us a message on WhatsApp or in the chatbox at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen.

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