HDB BTO Singapore | Defects checking

We purchased premium flats from HDB but the contractor that built our estate did a pretty bad job for many of the units.

I know of people who rather accept all defects existing, then have their contractor do up whatever necessary in order not to delay the renovation process but personally, eye glaring defects are not something I would accept.
Our defects check and rectification was completed in a little less than 3 weeks – very short time, considering that defects rectification normally takes 2 weeks for each round. I didn’t do everything “right” right away and there were things I would have done differently if I had known earlier so here’s a sharing of the experience for information.

THE DEFECTS LIST

Upon key collection, you will be provided with a set of form (see below for sample), to fill in  with a list of defects spotted in your new home. The number of defects you have is really a matter of luck but for a start, please ask for more or you’d end up photocopying on your own.

The period for submitting a defects list was 7 days from key collection for my estate. Be sure to check what is the period for your estate.

DEFECTS CHECKLISTS

There are defects checklists available on the internet. You just need to do a search for them, print them out and you can check for defects on your own. I found one checklist quite comprehensive and here’s the link to it (note: I found it on the internet, click at your own risk).

Defects Checklist

DIY OR HIRE A SPECIALIST

We tried for 2 X half days and gave up, because we couldn’t follow instructions on the checklists very well and the apartment was too hot and stuffy for us to be able to stay in with Joy for long periods. Our other main concern was that we would not know how to spot defects that have more permanent / serious consequences. However, if you can set aside 1-2 full days and can withstand stuffy conditions in that duration, you can consider doing the defects check on your own.

Here are some of the checks performed by our defects specialist / the defects spotted for reference.

Checking the slope of my bathroom floors to confirm if water in the bathroom will be able to flow as intended into the outlet.

 

Checking the alignment of my shower mixer

 

Checking for water leakage from basin

 

Checking my bathroom fittings

Checking if my sink stopper can engage
Checking tile hollowness with a tile tester
Checking my parquet flooring

 

Checking the sealing of my windows, my window hinges, glass panes etc

 

Checking my balcony

 

I’m pretty lucky that there are no super major defects. The ones that are more important to me are the following:

Debris could cause flooding that could damage my timber floorings.

 

Hollow spot in my parquet. It’s very difficult to spot if you’re not heavy enough. I later learnt when helping my friends out with defects check, that normally, the problem areas are those that creak when you step on them or the places where there is a line that can be felt.

 

A chip in my wire glass panes is an open invitation for rust, since these panes are often in the bathroom.

 

Bad window silicon sealing, hinges etc

 

Raised spots from bad painting all over the apartment.

 

Plenty of issues with the door

 

And here’s the full list of the defects we reported. If you’re going to DIY, you can check out the wording used.

We added a 70th defect on our own for leaking piping outside the apartment at the place where you can adjust the water supply.

OUR DEFECTS CHECK SPECIALIST

The defects check specialist we hired is Wee Kuang from Absolute Inspection. Wee Kwang is a BCA Scholar and was formerly the deputy director at BCA (Building & Construction Authority). If you want to know more about him, you can read this. If you’d like to engage Absolute Inspection, you can check out details here.

In the course of working with Wee Kwang, I found him to be detailed and practical. Where there were defects that can be overlooked for reasons, he would inform me and I’d make the call. Wee Kwang spent 6 hours alone in my home checking defects, while I was away having my brows touched up at Browtisan and running other errends. I definitely appreciated the convenience.

He sent photos of the defects list to me and the next day I submitted the list as owner of the flat.

THINGS I HAVE LEARNT FROM DEFECTS CHECKING / RECTIFICATION

      1. DO NOT use masking tape on your walls to mark defects. You can use it on your floors but not your walls.Buy these colored post it tapes from Daiso for $2. You can even color code the defects by using specific colors for important defects, so that its easier for you to go over them again at the 1st joint inspection.
      2. Some defects, such as a missing rubber seal on the kitchen pipe can be overlooked because when the sink is installed, you wouldn’t need it anymore.
      3. True story, some defects can be worst after rectification. My neighbours ended up with holes in their timber floors after they reported hollowness in them. What the parquet sub-contractor did was simply to fill them up, leaving behind unsightly holes in the floor.
      4. Some defects rectification can be done simultaneously with your renovation, so you don’t necessarily have to wait for all rectifications to be completed before commencing renovations. Just make sure it’s written down and agreed between yourself and BSC will do.
      5. BSC is not your enemy, even if they do push back on matters. Talk to them nicely and treat the workers well. I left drinks in my bomb shelter and made sure to always treat supervisors / workers with respect and courtesy.

    1. I can’t say this enough – it’s really important / useful that you link up with your future neighbours on Facebook to keep each other updated. I got to know of the rectifications which some neighbours managed to get corrected and then pushed BSC to do the same for us.

Disclosure: Wee Kwang extended a discount to me for services rendered. No other compensation was received. 

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You can browse through other posts in this series by clicking on the picture below. Have fun!

So Oddly Dreamlike : HDB Home, Renovation & Decor

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10 Comment

  1. It’s HDB that you are purchasing. Not condo. Filing for 70 defects is way too much. From the picture I can see that the retirication to those areas will only causes more problems during the retirication. Learn to close one eye on minor defects.

    1. I don’t see the difference in standard? A HDB is not free, I have the right to a defect free home.

      I made judgment calls to see which areas are likely to get worst during rectification. Thankfully, they did a better than expected job.

      1. you also have the rights not to go overboard and over do it.

        1. My opinion is that it’s perfectly reasonable to buy a property and expect it not to be defective or come with holes, but “Overboard” is your opinion and I respect that.

  2. The numerous defects on the list are mostly stains, which can be easily wipe off by cloth and with some really easily available cleaning agent. I feel many are not defects at all, as if you are doing renovation, the whole place becomes dirty easily. Not to mention the hard work the workers need to put in to clean the place.

    For the rest like waterproofing (10 years guarantee is no joke), things that generally cannot be done by your good self (requiring expertise like licensed electrical worker (LEW) to certify after completed or damaged tiles that require more sophisticated plastering, painting, levelling of the wall), yes they are appropriate and should pursue all the way. luckily, BSC did not sit on the defects list due to the volume of the defects (yes they can choose to do it slowly based on contract).

    My general advice for new home owners is to check leaks (all kinds), sharp edges (safety for kids and adults alike), hinges and other mechanical items (locks), all types of cracks which could mean manufacturer defect or damaged during the construction process.

    1. Yup, some of the not too serious ones, I decided to close one eye. Others that need them to do, I insisted.

      Its really about luck sometimes with BSC, I was really lucky!

  3. How much is the charges for specialist check?

    1. Contact Wee Kwang for details! If you’re in a group fb page with your neighbours, maybe can see if he can offer group buy? :)

  4. Hi

    May I know the name of the defects specialist and whether they are licensed and approved to assess damages in a HDB flat?

    Thanks.

    1. Estella Goh says: Reply

      Hello Amos!

      My Defects Specialist was formerly the Director of BCA, so I think he is very credible haha. If you want, his particulars are:

      Wee Kwang
      91512312
      Absolute Inspection Pte. Ltd.
      http://www.absoluteinspection.sg
      http://www.facebook.com/Absolute.Inspection.SG

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