Singapore

Flat reno costs more? It's the cement rule

Watch out, flat owners.

If you have signed your renovation contract on or after June 1, you'll likely have to pay more.

That's because a new rule — which requires pre-packed cement to be used throughout Housing Board flats — has driven up charges.

 Pre-packed screed. All flat owners who signed their renovation contracts on or after 1 June are affected by the new rule. PHOTO: ST FILE

In some cases, HDB dwellers may end up paying as much as $3,000 to revamp their digs, The Straits Times reported.

Before the rule After the rule
Contractors would manually mix cement, sand and water on-site to do up floors and walls. Contractors just have to add water to the pre-packed screed mix to use it. 
Pre-packed material was previously mandatory only in wet areas such as toilets and kitchens. Pre-packed material to be used throughout the flat to ensure cleaner environment and more uniform finishes, said HDB.

Benefits of using pre-packed screed:

► It is blended to the required proportions at the factory and requires minimal on-site preparation.

► It offers a higher quality of finished work and less material waste.

Drawbacks:

► More expensive than using raw sand and cement.

► Contractors have to buy the pre-packed screed in bulk and work out how they should charge customers.

► Workers may find the pre-packed material stickier, harder to use and more time-consuming​.

A HDB spokesman said the use of the pre-packed material “makes up a small part of the overall renovation costs”.

He added that after checking with the industry, they estimate that renovation works for a five-room flat will cost about $1,500 more — although this also depends on the extent of renovation and labour costs.

The new regulation was initially due to take effect last December and renovation contractors were first told of the change a year ago.

But many asked the HDB for more time to prepare.

Associate Professor Tan Teng Hooi, head of SIM University’s building and project management programme, said:

“The old method of manually mixing sand, cement and water depends largely on personal judgment or trial and error.

"Using pre-packed material will ensure better quality in terms of consistency and finishing."

Source: The Straits Times

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