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BTO renovation 2022

Beginner’s Guide to HDB BTO Flat Renovation Costs, Timeline, Contractor vs Interior Designer & More

profileHui Juan Neo

YAY, you have collected your BTO keys! It’s time to decorate and plan your dream home!

Source: Giphy

But…how to start?

No worries, we’ve got your basics covered.


TL;DR: Renovation Budget Singapore Guide For BTOs

Click to Teleport

  1. Renovation jargon you need to know
  2. The scale of renovation and cost of renovating each space
  3. Interior Designers or Direct Contractors
  4. Timeline to plan the whole process

1. Renovation Jargon You Need to Know

HackingCarpentry
Consists of labour to hack and/or re-build, touch up and plaster up the wall.Consists of wardrobes, cabinets, storage features and other customised solutions. The cost is determined by the size, materials, and workmanship required.
MasonryPlumbing
Consists of flooring, tiling and wet works. The cost is determined by the size of the area and labour costs for laying tiles and foundations.Consists of all waterworks for bathrooms, piping, sinks.

2. The Scale of Renovation and Cost of Renovating Each Space

Now that you feel more equipped, you need to know that there are three scales of renovation – Light, Moderate, and Extensive.

Do note that the Interior Designers/Contractors will advise the scale required as they should share more on the manpower and labour involvement. The more labour-intensive the job is, the more expensive it is.

 LightModerateExtensive
LIVING ROOM / DINING
Hacking of walls3R, 4R: $100 - $400
5R: $600 - $900
3R, 4R: $400 - $700
5R: $900 - $1,200
3R, 4R: $700 - $3,900
5R: $1,200 - $4,300
Dismantling of one fixture such as cabinet, TV console without hacking of walls and/or floorsDismantling of several fixtures with partial hacking of walls and/or floorsDismantling of all fixtures with complete hacking of walls and/or floors
Carpentry3R, 4R: $200 - $3,400
5R: $700 - $3,900
3R, 4R: $3,400 - $6,200
5R: $3,900 - $6,700
3R, 4R: $6,200 - $23,700
5R: $6,700 - $24,100
Basic renovation of 1-2 home fixtures such as TV consoles, feature walls, cabinetry, bar counter & shelvesRegular renovation of 2-3 home fixtures including TV consoles, feature walls, cabinetry, bar counter & shelvesExtensive renovation of 3 or more home fixtures including TV consoles, feature walls, cabinetry, bar counter & shelves
Masonry3R, 4R: $100 - $1,300
5R: $600 - $1,800
3R, 4R: $1,300 - $2,900
5R: $1,800 - $3,400
3R, 4R: $2,900 - $22,000
5R: $3,400 - $22,500
Basic construction of appliance/cabinetry bases and post-hacking touch-up, with little to no tilingRegular construction of appliance/cabinetry bases and post-hacking touch-up with tilingComprehensive construction of appliance/cabinetry bases and post-hacking touch-up with tiling
Ceiling & Partition3R, 4R: $200 - $800
5R: $700 - $1,300
3R, 4R: $800 - $1,200
5R: $1,300 - $1,700
3R, 4R: $1,200 - $3,200
5R: $1,700-$3,700
Basic renovation of home fixtures, including box ups, partition beams/walls, pelmets, and false ceilings w/ lightingRegular renovation of home fixtures, including box ups, partial partition walls, pelmets, and partial L-box false ceilings w/ lighting.Comprehensive renovation of home fixtures, including box ups, full partition walls, pelmets, and full L-box false ceilings w/ lighting.
Sub-total3R, 4R: $600 - $5,900
5R: $2,600 - $7,900
3R, 4R: $5,900 - $11,000
5R: $7,900 - $13,000
3R, 4R: $11,000 - $52,800
5R: $13,000 - $54,600
KITCHEN
Hacking3R, 4R: $100 - $500
5R: $600 - $1,000
3R, 4R: $500 - $900
5R: $1,000 - $1,400
3R, 4R: $900 - $3,200
5R: $1,400 - $3,700
Dismantling of one fixture, such as a cabinet, door, window, or cooker hob without hacking of walls and/or floors.Dismantling of several fixtures, such as cabinets, doors, windows, or cooker hob with partial hacking of walls and/or floors.Dismantling of all fixtures such as cabinets, doors, windows, or cooker hob with complete hacking of walls and/or floors.
Carpentry3R, 4R: $100 - $4,300
5R: $600 - $4,800
3R, 4R: $4,300-$6,900
5R: $4,800 - $7,400
3R, 4R: $6,900 - $17,900
5R: $7,400 - $18,400
Basic renovation of home fixtures, including worktops and one cabinet using laminates.Regular renovation of home fixtures, including worktops and up to 2 cabinets using laminatesComprehensive renovation of home fixtures, including worktops and 3 or more cabinets using high-grade laminates
Masonry3R, 4R: $200 - $1,300
5R: $700 - $1,800
3R, 4R: $1,300 - $3,900
5R: $1,800 - $4,300
3R, 4R: $3,900 - $11,300
5R: $4,300 - $11,800
Basic construction of appliance/cabinetry bases and post-hacking touch-up, with little to no tiling.Regular construction of appliance/cabinetry bases, post-hacking touch-up, waterproofing and tiling.Comprehensive construction of appliance/cabinetry bases, post-hacking touch-up, waterproofing and tiling.
Plumbing3R, 4R: $100 - $200
5R: $600 - $700
3R, 4R: $200 - $500
5R:$700 - $1,000
3R, 4R: $500 - $1,700
5R: 1,000 - $2,200
Renovating one water fixture - kitchen sink/tap, water filtration systems, piping and heater storage.Renovating 2-3 water fixtures - kitchen sink/taps, water filtration systems, piping and heater storage.Renovating 3 or more water fixtures - kitchen sink/taps, water filtration system, piping and heater storage. Plus, extension and concealing works for pipes.
Sub-total3R, 4R: $500 - $6,300
5R: $2,600 - $8,300
3R, 4R: $6,100 - $11,900
5R: $8,300 - $10,230
3R, 4R: $11,900 - $33,800
5R: $10,230 - $36,100
BEDROOM (PER ROOM)
Hacking3R: $100 - $200
4R, 5R: $100 - $600
3R: $200 - $300
4R, 5R: $600 - $1,000
3R: $300 - $4,300
4R, 5R: $1,000 - $5,200
Dismantling of one fixture - a wardrobe, cabinet, bed frame, study table, door, window, or false ceiling without hacking of walls and/or floors.Dismantling of several fixtures - wardrobes, cabinets, bed frames, study tables, doors, windows, or false ceilings with partial hacking of wall and/or floors.Dismantling of all fixtures - wardrobes, cabinets, bed frames, study tables, doors, windows, and false ceilings with complete hacking of walls and/or floors.
Carpentry3R: $100 - $3,500
4R, 5R: $200 - $4,400
3R: $3,500 - $6,600
4R, 5R: $4,400 - $7,500
3R: $6,600 - $32,800
4R, 5R: $7,500 - $33,700
Basic renovation of 1 home fixture, including full-height wardrobes, doors, study tables, headboards, bedframes, and bedside tables.Regular renovation of 2-3 home fixtures, including full-height wardrobes, doors, study tables, headboards, bed frames, and bedside tables.Extensive renovation of 3 or more home fixtures, including full-height wardrobes, doors, study tables, headboards, bed frames, and bedside tables.
Masonry3R: $100 - $300
4R, 5R: $200 - $1,200
3R: $300 - $1,800
4R, 5R: $1,200 - $2,700
3R: $1,800 - $7,900
4R, 5R: $2,700 - $8,800
Basic construction of appliance/cabinetry bases and post-hacking touch-up, with little to no tiling.Regular construction of appliance/cabinetry bases, post-hacking touch-up and tiling.Comprehensive construction of appliance/cabinetry bases, post-hacking touch-up and tiling.
Ceiling & Partition3R: $100 - $200
4R, 5R: $100 - $600
3R: $200 - $300
4R, 5R: $600 - $1,100
3R: $300 - $4,100
4R, 5R: $1,100 - $5,000
Basic renovation of home fixtures, including box ups, partition beams/walls, pelmets and false ceilings w/ lighting.Regular renovation of home fixtures, including box ups, partial partition walls, pelmets and partial L-box false ceilings w/ lighting.Comprehensive renovation of home fixtures, including box ups, full partition walls, pelmets and full L-box false ceilings w/ lighting
Sub-total3R: $400 - $4,200
4R, 5R: $600 - $6,800
3R: $4,200 - $9,000
4R, 5R: $6,800 - $12,300
3R: $9,000 - $49,100
4R, 5R: $12,300 - $52,700
BATHROOM SEWAGE/ PUMPING SYSTEM (PER BATHROOM)
HackingAll: $100 - $400All: $400 - $900All: $900 - $6,700
Dismantling of one fixture - a sink, toilet bowl, vanity cabinet, door or bathroom accessory without hacking or floor and/or wall tiles.Dismantling of two fixtures - a sink, toilet bowl, vanity cabinet, door or bathroom accessory without hacking or floor and/or wall tiles.Dismantling of two fixtures -a sink, toilet bowl, vanity cabinet, door or bathroom accessory without hacking or floor and/or wall tiles.
CarpentryAll: $100 - $1,100All: $1,100 - $2,000All: $2,000 - $8,900
Basic renovation of one compact mirror or vanity storage cabinet.Regular renovation of a one top-hung mirror or vanity storage cabinet.Involves extensive renovation of a top-hung mirror vanity and bottom storage cabinet.
MasonryAll: $100 - $1,400All: $1,400 - $5,600All: $5,600 - $17,400
Basic construction of shower kerbs and post-hacking touch up, with little to no tiling.Regular construction of shower kerbs, waterproofing, post-hacking touch-up and tiling.Comprehensive construction of shower kerbs, waterproofing, post-hacking touch-up and tiling.
PlumbingAll: $100 - $200All: $200 - $700All: $700 - $3,800
Renovation of one water fixture - washbasin/tap, toilet bowls, shower set, bathtub or other bathroom accessoriesRenovation of 2-3 water fixtures- washbasin/taps, toilet bowls, shower sets, bathtubs, and other bathroom accessories.Renovation of 3 or more water fixtures like washbasin/tap, toilet bowls, shower sets, bathtubs and other bathroom accessories. Plus, extension and concealing work for pipes.
Sub-total$400 - $3,100$3,100 - $9,200$9,200 - $36,800
OTHERS
Electrical wiring3R, 4R: $300 - $1,900
5R: $700 - $2,400
3R, 4R: $1,900 - $3,100
5R: $2,400 - $3,600
3R, 4R: $3,100 - $16,000
5R: $3,600 - $16,500
Basic renovation of electrical outlets such as lighting, data, heater and power points for select rooms.Regular renovation of electrical outlets such as lighting, data heater and power points for most areas of the house.Comprehensive renovation of electrical outlets across the house, including add-ons like extra lighting points and wire extensions.
Painting3R, 4R: $200 - $1,500
5R: $700 - $2,000
3R, 4R: $1,500 - $1,800
5R: $2,000 - $2,400
3R, 4R: $1,800 - $8,000
5R: $2,400 - $8,500
Standard 2-3 coat wall and ceiling paint job for 1 room or studio unit.Standard 2-3 coat wall and ceiling paint job for 2 rooms.Standard 2-3 coat wall and ceiling paint job for 3 rooms or more.
Glass/Aluminium3R, 4R: $300 - $2,200
5R: $800 - $2,700
3R, 4R: $2,200 - $4,700
5R: $2,700 - $5,200
3R, 4R: $4,700 - $15,800
5R: $5,200 - $16,300
Renovation of 1-2 glass fixtures such as windowpanes with little to no aluminium works done (e.g., fitting of new window grilles).Renovation of 2 or more glass fixtures, such as windowpanes, mirrors or glass partitions. Includes additional aluminium works (e.g., fitting of new window grilles).Renovation of 2 or more glass fixtures, such as windowpanes, mirrors, or glass partitions. Includes major aluminium works (e.g., changing of window and door grilles).
Cleaning & Polishing3R, 4R: $300 - $1,100
5R: $800 - $1,600
3R, 4R: $1,100 - $1,800
5R: $1,600 - $2,300
3R, 4R: $1,800 - $13,900
5R: $2,300 - $14,400
Cleaning of the entire house, installation of corrugated paper for floor protection, haulage, and debris disposal for minor renovations.Cleaning of the entire house, acid/chemical wash, installation of corrugated paper for floor protection, haulage, and debris disposal for major renovations.Cleaning of the entire house, acid/chemical wash, installation of corrugated paper for floor protection, haulage, debris disposal, polishing of marble and/or varnishing of parquet flooring.
TOTAL3-room (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 living): $3,800 - $29,9003-room (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 living): $30,910 - $70,7003-room (2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1 living): $70,700 - $276,200
4-room (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 living): $4,200 - $31,9004-room (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 living): $26, 700 - $89,6004 (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 living): $89,600 - $372,900
5-room (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 living): $9,500 - $51,5005-room (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 living): $59,900 - $92,0305-room (3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and 1 living): $89,960 - $378,100

Note: All rates are based on Qanvast’s calculator as of 31 March 2022 and may be subjected to changes. 

Source: Giphy

Before you whip out your calculator and start pouting like Patrick, we have laid down three examples to help you better identify which column to look at.

 Couple ACouple BCouple C
Renovation needsPlans to have a feature wall, curved walls in the living room, high and low kitchen cabinets with a kitchen counter, a built-in wardrobe in the masters, and bathrooms with specific tiles and features.Plans to get retail wardrobes and cabinets. They also plan to include a work-from-home area in the living, a kitchen counter with lower cabinets only, a platform bed and simple tiling on the floor and walls. Opted-in for Optional Component Scheme (OCS) to have ready vinyl flooring, wall tiles and bathroom fixtures.

Upon checking the OCS items, they realised that the vinyl flooring in the living area is not suitable for their pet dog as it can become slippery. They plan to replace the vinyl with tiles.
Columns to referModerate to ExtensiveLight to ModerateLight to Moderate since additional labour is required to remove the flooring

Hold On…Eeks. Hidden Costs!

Source: Meme Generator

Unsurprisingly, as first-time homeowners, we tend to have blind spots. Some costs are not obvious from the final quotations by your ID/Contractors.

Not to worry, you can check against this list to ensure all/most of these items are accounted for:

  • Electrical – Hiring an electrician to look at your light fixtures and wiring during/after a site visit.
  • Plumbing – Hiring a plumber during/after a site visit.
  • Lighting and bathroom fixtures – Subjective costs based on your preferred fixtures.
  • Flooring and wall materials – Subjective costs based on your preferred material; the higher quality material will certainly cost more.
  • Hinges and handles for carpentry
  • Window grilles

As we live in a time where prices are increasing, you should buffer 5-10% more OR be prepared to shave off some frills to keep things within budget.

Especially since we have to contend with inflation in Singapore.

3. Do you plan to engage an Interior Designer or a Direct contractor?

Source: Bestfunnymemes

It sounds good to have a package deal with an Interior Designer (ID) to help you manage contractors, plan timelines, sample materials and design your ideal home, right?

However, this option is also pricier. In fact, the price difference between ID Vs Contractors can be almost 30 – 50% for the same outcome.

Now that you know engaging an ID is more expensive, you are tempted to choose the contractors yourself.

Sadly, it is not always smooth-sailing with contractors either.

More time is catered to customising your dream look, and you will likely need to source materials yourself. At times, contractors may also misinterpret the style/look you want.

This will lead to you spending more money and time correcting this mistake.

Moreover, we have also heard horror stories of contractors being uncontactable and leaving incomplete renovation works. This is the worst scenario and could lead to high mental and emotional stress.

The key is to communicate your requirements openly and clearly. You can always provide a picture illustration or design when in doubt.

Interior DesignersDirect Contractors
Project management service from planning, designing, coordinating different contractors to supervising to completing the entire process.

If you hate planning or simply do not have so much time to figure out the whatnots, this is a good option.
Gives you flexibility in sourcing the contractors that best fit your budget but is much more time-consuming.

This is a good option for individuals who prefer being more hands-on and already know the specifics they want.
Commands a heftier price tagEasier on your pocket in general as they do not provide design and project management services that IDs do
High level of customisation/personalised services throughout the entire renovation
- Provides floor plan and 3D drawings
- Provides design options to choose from
When you have specific design wants (and don’t want) or have minimal renovation requirements, this can save you time from combing through multiple drafts of designs. An experienced contractor may also provide advice on placements of wiring, furniture etc.
Accountable for your project from start to end unless there is a change of hands. Hence, if something goes wrong, you can still find a professional to seek advice from, including the chosen material and colours. Less accountability if something goes wrong as there is no project manager except yourself. It may be hard to find someone from the industry who may have a good overview to help unless you know someone personally whom you can seek advice from.

4. Timeline To Plan the Whole Process

Typically, a 3, 4 and 5-room BTO flat renovation takes about 8 to 9 weeks for completion.

Source: Memecreator

Your planning should start as early as 2 to 6 months before keys collection for renovation to kickstart immediately.

Before key collectionKey collection to renovation completion
2 to 6 months3-room: 8 to 9 weeks
4-room: 8 to 9 weeks
5-room: 8 to 10 weeks
Begin looking for an ID or Contractor

Interior Designer: Speak to at least 3 to 5 designers before settling with any and comb through 3D design drafts

Direct Contractor: Communicate your preferred style through drawings/illustrations so that both parties are aligned on expectations
Upon key collection, you have 30 days to check home defects and report to HDB before your renovation starts – repairs would usually be done within 2 weeks. Refer to Seedly's Guide on BTO Defects Inspection.

*Note: It’s rare for renovation to be smooth sailing throughout as there are often hiccups such as delays in the shipment of materials. It would be good to factor in an extra 2 to 4 weeks to manage your expectations
Window-shop for preferred fixturesAfter renovation
Air conditioners
Lights and switches
Electrical wiring
Flooring and tiling
Wall paints
Sinks, shower tap, water closet, faucet
All built-in fixtures, including oven
Window grilles (if applicable)
False ceiling (if applicable)
Wall tiles (if applicable)

Seeking Proper Advice From Professionals And Friends

Planning your renovation journey is critical as it is easily one of the most significant expenditures. Always ask around for advice.

Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Ohmyhome, Race Wong, will speak at the Seedly Personal Finance Festival 2022, from 23 – 24 April 2022. Grab your tickets today at a 20% discount when using the promo code “SAVE20″!

Race will be sharing how homeowners can make smarter and the best financial decisions on home renovations. You will learn the tricks and hacks to plan for your dream home.

Have more home renovation questions? You can also ask the Seedly community.

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