Have you just gotten the keys to your HDB BTO flat? If it’s a yes, then congratulations on getting your new home, and for landing yourself a new “mission” of checking your HDB BTO for defects.
Read this: Property Jargon: Defects-Liability Period
The easiest solution to this is probably to hire someone else to do the inspection job for you. But that’s going to cost you at least S$400 for a professional inspector. However, defect rectification doesn’t end with submitting the defect list; you will still need to re-inspect after the rectifications are done and this may very well mean a BIGGER hole in your pocket if you need to hire a professional each time.
So, why not save this S$400 and do the inspection yourself? After all, it’s not mission impossible, if you get yourself well prepared.
5 quick tips to get started
First things first, to get started, here are basic 5 tips to work with:
1. Getting your feedback forms
When you get the keys to your new apartment, you will also be given a Defects Feedback Form where you fill up information detailing the defects in your flat. To play safe, try to get hold of at least five copies of this form, in case you really have a lot of defects or you end up losing/destroying a copy.
2. Defects submission period is only for 7 days
Yes, 7 days. No matter how busy you are, you need to submit your defects list within 7 days of your flat key collection, to your estate’s Building Service Centre. If you are not too sure about this, or need more time, you should probably drop HDB a call first to ask if there are any other workarounds you can arrange.
3. Opening hours of Building Service Centre (BSC)
As far as we know, most BSC have similar opening hours, as follow:
Mon- Fri: 9.30am – 12pm, 1pm – 7pm
Sat: 9.30am – 12pm, 1pm – 5pm)
Closed on Sunday & Public Holidays
If you’re not too sure about the BSC availability, you can also check for more details in the Welcome Kit that you get from HDB when you collect your keys. Do ensure that you complete your inspection during their opening hours, to avoid making another trip down just for the form submission.
Also, note that your BSC will not be around forever; the office is only set up in your estate for a period of time. So, to save you the hassle, try to ensure you get your maintenance requests all settled before BSC ceases operation near your flat vicinity.
4. Duration of defect rectification
Defects checking shouldn’t be taking you more than 7 days. After your submission of defects, the BSC will arrange for contractors to inspect the defects and carry out the rectification works. Depending on the severity of the defects, the rectification could take a couple of days or even weeks.
When all the rectifications are done, your BSC will arrange for another joint inspection with you. Taking all these into consideration, you might want to keep a buffer of 2 – 3 weeks before starting your renovation, just in case the defects rectification takes some time.
Know what HDB covers
HDB does not cover rectification items that surface during or after your own renovation works. So, if you have already planned for renovation, make sure that it only starts when all the defects have been rectified to your satisfaction!
11 essentials you need for inspection
Next, you need to get yourself prepared for the inspection. To keep things simple, here are 11 essential items you need to bring along for your inspection:
- Defect forms provided by HDB
- Pen (& someone with legible handwriting)
- Fans (it can get really stuffy)
- Torch light (for those darker areas behind the door etc. Avoid doing your checking in the evening!)
- Stool/ladder (to check those higher places like windows, ceiling)
- Tapes of 2 colours (for easier referral, try using different colours for major and minor defects and label the tapes with the defect numbers)
- Spirit level (to check that your surface is levelled horizontally/vertically)
- Camera (Not just for taking selfies at your new home, but also to take photos of the defects before rectification. Using your phone camera should suffice!)
- Marbles/ coins (to check for hollow tiles)
- Number locks (so that BSC contractors can have access to your home, without needing your house key)
- Cleaning materials (to clean away the building debris for proper checking!)
Did you know that after a BTO has completed its construction, HDB usually hires an independent third-party vendor to do defects-checking in some of the HDB BTO units. Of course, the vendor’s version of the defects checklist will be a lot more detailed and complicated.
To make things easier for you, here’s the simplified version of HDB BTO defects checklist which covers the relevant defects that the vendor checks.
Now, with this, doesn’t HDB BTO defect checking seem possible to accomplish on your own now? And, you have just saved yourself $400.
Just got your BTO keys? Let us know in the comments section below.
If you found this article helpful, check out Undergoing the HIP programme and You’ve found defects in your new property, now what?
Looking to sell your property?
Whether your HDB apartment is reaching the end of its Minimum Occupation Period (MOP) or your condo has crossed its Seller Stamp Duty (SSD) window, it is always good to know how much you can potentially gain if you were to list and sell your property. Not only that, you’ll also need to know whether your gains would allow you to right-size to the dream home in the neighbourhood you and your family have been eyeing.
One easy way is to send us a request for a credible and trusted property consultant to reach out to you.
Alternatively, you can jump onto 99.co’s Property Value Tool to get an estimate for free.
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To everyone reading this:
My father works as a BSC supervisor rectifying defects in new BTO flats. He has received many defect complaints from homeowners of uneven wall/ceiling surfaces by using torchlight / LED light to shine. Please do not use torchlight or LED light to shine in the walls or ceilings to check for very minor details e.g. uneven surfaces. There is BOUND TO BE uneven surface because these walls and ceilings are carved and built by HUMAN HANDS. And there will be bound to be some uneven surfaces because human hands cannot 100% make the walls/ceilings completely flat (this also applies to the home I am living in currently). If every homeowner reports such minor defect (uneven surface), there will be this defect present in most if not every BTO flat. The BSC team responsible will suffer if every homeowner is so peculiar with such minor detail! This is an inherent issue when HDB builds the BTO flat and should not be reported as defect otherwise each home’s defect will burst the defect timeline and the BSC team will overwork to rectify such inherent “defect” (uneven wall/ceiling surface)!
I am writing this because my father is very stressed and angry about this issue as a BSC supervisor. I also agree with him that the BSC team and HDB will severely suffer if every BTO owner reports this as a defect because it is an inherent fault when building the BTO flat.
This problem lies with HDB not building every wall/ceiling surface flat but this is practically impossible because it is HUMANS that build these surfaces and humans can make mistakes.
The minor detail of uneven wall/ceiling surfaces should not and cannot be reported as a defect. Otherwise, there will be an exorbitant amount of defects since every home will have uneven wall/ceiling surface. Of course, do report cracks or very protruding uneven surfaces.. But please do not report uneven surfaces when it is not noticeable to the eye, and only noticeable when you use LED / torchlight to shine. So please, do not report on minor uneven surfaces that are not noticeable to the eye when you use torchlight / LED light to shine on wall surfaces/ceilings. This is not fair to the BSC team because it is an inherent fault when HDB builds any BTO flat.