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BTO vs Resale HDB Renovation: How Much Does It Cost?


Maelyn Lagman

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It’s exciting to finally move into your new flat, be it a BTO or a resale HDB, and start adding your personal touch to make it feel more like home. If you’re thinking about doing some renovation work for your BTO or resale HDB flat, here’s all you need to know before contacting a contractor or Interior Design firm. 

BTO flats typically require minimal renovation

BTO flats are brand new and built to current standards, so they don’t require that much work to make them livable. Basic necessities like flooring, bathroom fittings, and kitchen fixtures are usually included.

However, while you can do with minimal upgrades, some BTO owners still choose to do a complete overhaul, which can make the renovation costs comparable to or even higher than those for resale flats. 

Resale HDB flats often require more extensive renovation

Resale flats often require more extensive renovation due to wear and tear, outdated fixtures, and often: so it can suit you and your family’s tastes. This is why the starting cost for renovating a resale flat is generally higher.

How much does it cost to renovate a BTO vs Resale HDB?

Flat TypeBTO (Minimal Renovation)BTO (Complete Overhaul)Resale (Minimal Renovation)Resale (Complete Overhaul)
3-room$10,000 – $20,000$30,000 – $50,000$20,000 – $30,000$40,000 – $60,000
4-room$15,000 – $25,000$40,000 – $60,000$30,000 – $40,000$50,000 – $70,000
5-room$20,000 – $30,000$50,000 – $70,000$40,000 – $50,000$60,000 – $80,000

5 factors affecting renovation costs

  1. Scope of Work: The extent of the renovation, whether it’s minimal or a complete overhaul.
  2. Material Quality: Choosing either basic or premium materials.
  3. Design Complexity: Do you want a simple or a complex design?
  4. Contractor Rates: This varies based on contractor experience and reputation.
  5. Permits and Compliance: There may be additional costs for regulatory compliance.

How long does it take to renovate a BTO vs Resale HDB?

BTO Flats: Typically 4-8 weeks for minimal work, 8-12 weeks for complete overhauls.

Resale Flats: Generally 10-14 weeks for minimal work, 12-16 weeks for complete overhauls.

How to get a HDB renovation permit?

Application form for HDB renovation permit

1. Engage a HDB-registered renovation contractor

You can only engage an HDB-registered contractor to renovate your BTO flat or resale HDB. This is a mandatory requirement to ensure that all renovation works comply with HDB’s safety and quality standards.

You cannot legally renovate your BTO or resale HDB if they are not registered with HDB; if you do, you will face penalties from HDB and might be required to undo or rectify any renovation work at your own expense. 

How to ensure your contractor is HDB-registered

  • Check HDB’s directory: HDB maintains a directory of registered renovation contractors on its website. so you can verify that your chosen contractor is listed in this directory before hiring them.
  • Request for proof: Ask your contractor to provide proof of their HDB registration. This can include their registration certificate or HDB license number.
  • Consult with HDB: If in doubt, you can always consult with HDB directly to confirm the registration status of your contractor. This ensures that you are hiring a compliant and qualified professional for your HDB renovation.

2. Discuss and plan renovation works

Collaborate with your contractor to discuss and plan the renovation works. Make sure the plans comply with HDB’s regulations.

3. Submit renovation permit application

Your contractor will submit a renovation permit application to HDB on your behalf, including detailed plans and descriptions of the proposed renovation works.

The required documents typically include the contractor’s credentials, detailed renovation plans, and any necessary structural or design modifications.

4. Await approval

HDB will then review the application to ensure the proposed works comply with their guidelines. The review process may take a few weeks. They may also request additional information or modifications to the plans if they do not fully comply with the guidelines.

5. Receive renovation permit

Once HDB approves the renovation works, you will receive a renovation permit. Ensure that the permit is visibly displayed in your flat during the renovation period.

6. Commence renovation

Only start renovation works after receiving the renovation permit. Make sure that the contractor adheres to the approved plans.

General rules for renovating BTO and resale flats

  1. Can only work with HDB-registered contractors
  2. Non-nosiy renovation works can only be carried out from 9 am to 6 pm on weekdays and Saturdays
  3. Noisy renovation works, such as drilling, hacking, and heavy hammering, are restricted to certain hours, typically 9 am to 5 pm, to reduce inconvenience to neighbors
  4. No renovation work is allowed on Sundays and public holidays

Specific renovation guidelines for BTO Flats

  1. Structural Changes:
    • Major structural changes, such as removing structural walls, are generally not allowed. Any modifications that may affect the structural integrity of the building are strictly prohibited.
  2. Flooring Works:
    • New flooring must meet HDB’s requirements, which may include the use of sound-absorbing materials to minimize noise transmission to neighboring units.
  3. Electrical Works:
    • Any changes to the electrical wiring must be done by a licensed electrician and comply with HDB’s requirements. This ensures safety and adherence to current electrical standards.

Specific renovation guidelines for resale HDB flats

  1. Hacking Works:
    • Hacking of walls is allowed with prior approval from HDB, but you must ensure that the hacking works do not compromise the structural integrity of the building.
  2. Replacement of Windows:
    • Changing the design or type of your windows is subject to HDB’s guidelines. There may be restrictions, especially for windows facing the common area or those that alter the building’s facade.
  3. Plumbing Works:
    • Any changes to the plumbing system, such as relocating the toilet or sink, must comply with HDB’s guidelines and be carried out by licensed plumbers.

Renovation restrictions for both BTO and resale HDB flats

  1. Common Areas:
    • Renovations affecting common areas, such as corridors or lift lobbies, are not allowed. Common areas must remain accessible and safe for all residents.
  2. Unauthorised Works:
    • Unauthorized renovation works, such as installing a mezzanine floor or external fixtures that alter the building facade, are prohibited. Unauthorized works may result in penalties or the need to restore the flat to its original condition.
  3. Fire Safety:
    • All renovations must comply with fire safety regulations, including the use of fire-resistant materials where required. Ensure that fire exits and access points are not obstructed during renovation works.

Ready to transform your BTO or resale HDB into your dream home? 

DreamR home renovation in Singapore: A cozy living room with a modern sofa, armchair, and coffee table, designed to reflect your personal style.

DreamR guarantees 100% on-time completion of your renovation project, working with top-tier interior designers and project managers. We ensure a smooth, efficient process with high-quality materials.

Contact DreamR today to get started on your renovation journey!

FAQs about renovating BTO flat or resale HDB

Can I use my CPF savings to cover renovation costs?

Yes, you can use your CPF savings for renovation costs, subject to certain conditions and limits.

Are there renovation loans available for HDB flats?

Yes, several banks in Singapore offer renovation loans specifically for HDB flats.

How can I ensure my renovation is HDB-compliant?

Hire an HDB-registered renovation contractor and ensure that all renovation works comply with HDB guidelines and regulations.

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