So you’ve just received a letter from HDB, telling you that they’re going ahead with the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) for your block. How long will the renovations take? What areas in your flat will be upgraded? And what do you need to look out for? In this article, we answer all these questions and more!
What is included under the HIP?
Firstly, there are the Essential Improvements, which are compulsory improvements that HDB deems necessary for your health and safety. These include repairing spalling concrete and structural cracks, replacing waste discharge stacks, replacing pipe sockets with new clothes drying racks, and upgrading your electrical load.
In addition to these, there are also other Optional Improvements, which you can request for if you wish. These include packages to upgrade your toilets, installing new decorative doors, installing metal grille gates, and installing new refuse chute hoppers. Do note that you’d like to opt out of the toilet upgrading, your toilets will have to pass a water test for leaks (basically, HDB will “flood” your toilet, and check if your neighbour living below you experiences any ceiling leaks!)
Last but not least, there’s also the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) improvements, which are also optional. These include slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles in 2 toilets, grab bars in 2 toilets, as well as ramps to navigate level differences in the flat and at the main entrance (if feasible).
How long will the HIP take?
According to HDB, renovation works in an individual flat will take 10 days or less. Do note, however, that renovation works aren’t carried out on Sundays, so this might stretch to a maximum of 14 calendar days.
How should I prepare my home for the HIP?
At the start of the HIP programme, your contractor will give you a roll of clear plastic to “dust-proof” your home. Using the plastic, wrap up your items which are out on display, and store them away. Many homeowners also recommend sealing up your bedrooms so that the massive amounts of dust that will descend upon your entire apartment won’t get to them. Lock the door, and fit soaked bath towels in the gap between the bottom of your door, and the floor.
How do I shower and get around during the HIP?
If you’re opting to have your toilets renovated, HDB will commence works on both your master bedroom toilet and your kitchen toilet at the same time. Expect to have both toilets out of action!
If space permits, HDB may install a portable, non-flush toilet in your kitchen. This comes with a tap, which you may use to get water to wash your hands. There’s also a shower head for bathing. The portable toilet can be connected via plug to your powerpoint, and it’s said to come with hot water, but many homeowners have stated that this is untrue. For homeowners who do not have the portable toilet installed in your kitchens, you may also access a common, temporary, toilet which will be installed on the first level of your flat.
Because of the extreme inconvenience that this brings to homeowners, many prefer to seek refuge at a family or friend’s home with extra room (or empty floor space!). It’s your call – if you’d prefer to stay put at home so that you can keep an eye on your contractors, go ahead and do so, but you’ll have to endure extremely dusty and dirty conditions for approximately two weeks. Consider yourself warned!