Written by: Rita Magallona
Thinking of renovating your condominium unit or flat? It’s natural to want an interior design refresh every now and then. You might be adjusting to a new life stage, so you need to make your apartment either baby-proof or senior-friendly. Or perhaps you want to improve the layout, add more storage, or ensure your windows are safe.
Before you contact an interior designer or contractor, you need to know the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) guidelines for renovating strata-titled residential property. With renovations, you need to know what you are allowed to do and how to secure planning permission, if necessary.
5 Questions You Need to Ask Before Renovating Your Flat or Condo
1. Do you need to get planning permission for condo renovations?
If the renovation you plan to do in your condo or flat will not increase its Gross Floor Area (GFA), you do not need planning permission. But if the work will increase the GFA, you will need to secure a planning permission.
2. How do I apply for a planning permission?
To apply for the planning permission, download the authorisation letter from the URA. Then, have your Management Corporation (MC) Secretary or Chairperson sign the letter. Submit this letter and the work proposal with your application to the URA.
3. Can you convert a balcony into a room or indoor space?
By design, your balcony is a semi-outdoor space, so you shouldn’t convert it into an indoor space by closing it off using full-height solid enclosures like sliding window panes or “smart windows.”
The URA allows fully retractable balcony screens that allow for natural ventilation. This addresses safety and sun protection concerns that come with having open balconies.
Check with your Management Committee Strata Title (MCST) or developer for the approved balcony screen design, if any. The URA has also provided balcony enclosure guidelines that you can refer to before making any renovations on your balcony.
4. Can you add a loft inside a condominium or flat?
Admit it; if you have a flat or condo with a high ceiling, you’ve probably thought of building a loft to create more space in the unit. The good news is, the URA allows a loft as long as it is built like a furniture deck where you can rest.
You can only install one such loft per unit. It should be a lightweight furniture fixture, not part of the structural element of the building. Note that the total area should not exceed 5sqm with a headroom no higher than the area below it.
5. Can you build a cover over a Personal Enclosed Space (PES)?
You don’t need planning permission if you plan to build a cover over your PES, provided it does not extend more than two metres from the external wall of the unit.
The URA will still check if the cover to be built adheres to the prevailing development control guidelines. Also, you must comply with the requirements and by-laws of the estate’s MCST.
Now that you have the information you need, it’s time to get to work towards making your flat or condo a better place to live in.
Check out these clever tips for maximizing the space in your flat.
If you need help in renovating your private residence, try Ohmyhome’s Home Renovation Service. Call 6886 9009 to request for a free site visit within 48 hours!