7 areas to check for your HDB BTO Defects


By Thomas Hoi

When buying a house, no matter if it is new or old, there are always defects. Even new houses might come with defects. And the problem is, most of the defects are hidden, subtle and not visible to the eye.

Or better said, not anyone looks for them. We show you 7 places in your home to look for defects, just so you can be sure you are getting the perfect house/apartment before engaging interior designers to renovate your home.

1. Floors

When it comes to floors, they can be made from different material. And every material brings a challenge. However, no matter the material, make sure there are no stain marks on the finishing, the color tone is consistent. Tap the floor with a hard object, and see if there is a hollow sound. If made right, there should be no such sound.

As for the material, if the floor is ceramic, unevenness should not be higher than 3mm over 1.2 m. Surfaces with marble and granite floor material are considered even if the unevenness is not higher than 3mm over 1.2m and is leveled to proper falls in areas such as the kitchen and the toilet. If the flooring is timber, look for cracks and warpage, but there should be no one.

2. Internal Walls

The general standard is that squareness out should not be more than 4mm over 300mm. Check for stain marks and consistent color tone, and rough/patchy surface. A good wall has no patchy surface and no visible cracks and damages.

If the finish is tilled, look for a consistent joint width. As for the paint of the walls, check if the opacity is good, and there should be no patchiness .

3. Ceiling

As with the floors and the internal walls, the ceiling should also have no stain marks, patchy surface, leaks, cracks or anything similar. Check for straightness of the corners. When it comes to ceilings, look mostly for spalling and leaks that occur due to water.

4. Windows

First of all, windows must be functional, which means easy opening and closing, and there should be no sign of rainwater leakage. When swinging the leaf, there should be no squeaky sound. As for the alignments and evenness, the window should be aligned and leveled with the wall openings. Check if the leaf and frame are maintained at the right angle.

The gap between the window leaf and the frame should be no more than 5mm. Check for poor painting with plaster over the window frame. Check for paint stains from the inside, and from the outside of the window as well.

5. Doors

For the door, it is more importantly to check for gaps between the frame and the wall. Check for consistent and neat joints, and the gap between the door leaf and the frame should be no more than 5mm. The door should also be aligned with the wall.

As for damages, mostly the damages are stain marks, sags, warps on door leaf. The door joints and the nail holes should be filled up, properly sanded and down. Check for the paint finish, both the top and the bottom of the door.

6. Components

When it comes to components, they are divided in two sections: external such as emergency lightnings, railings, lift fillings, letter box, lightnings etc… and internal mirror, bath tub, cabinet, wardrobe, closet, shower screen, basin, vanity top. Check all of them for stain marks and damages. If you have balusters, check for their verticality, as it must not exceed 3mm per meter.

Most of the problems happen in the bathroom, where you must check for consistent gap of tiles and glass door in the shower cubicle, and whether the shower is functional or not (door unable to close properly).

Generally, check for joints between walls and other elements.

7. Basic Mechanical and Electrical Fittings

This is the time to check the installation and the safety of the apartment. Fittings must be aligned and location as per approved drawings. Check to be sure. Check for gaps on the ceiling lights. Check for joints and their width.

As for the safety measures, there should be no exposed wiring within reach.

This post was first published at Interior Design SingaporeImage Credits: www.bca.gov.sg

How does HDB rectify defects in newly completed flats?

HDB has a system in place to ensure that the quality of its new flats meet acceptable industry standards. We abide by a clear set of guidelines and impose quality checks at every stage of construction, including pre- and post-construction.

For example, contractors are required to inspect completed flats and carry out the necessary rectification works to the full satisfaction of HDB’s quality officers, before handing the flats over to HDB. Despite the stringent process, some minor imperfections may still remain due to the inherent features of natural materials or the nature of construction works that are dependent on manual labour.

As part of our commitment to quality, we provide all new HDB flat owners with HDB’s Assure 3 warranty coverage for ceiling and external wall seepage, and spalling concrete. This is in addition to the 1-year Defects Liability Period (DLP) for all new property owners to report defects for rectification, a timeframe similar to private sector developments.

HDB advises new flat owners to inspect their flat and report any defects to their development’s Building Services Centre (BSC) within the DLP. During this period, the BSCs are conveniently located near the new flats for owners to report the defects for prompt follow up by the contractors. Subsequently, flat owners can report any defects to their HDB Branch.

In general, defects reported are rectified within two weeks. In cases where the contractor requires more time, for reasons such as unavailability of materials, flat owners will be informed of the expected completion date.

Read the full post at HDBspeaks.sg


This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Economics and tagged .
  • Serene Love

    Shouldn’t the HDB have checked for all these defects first before handing over to the citizens?

    Ensuring the quality of the products and services they deliver to we citizens is the minimum and basic requirement of any government, let alone an extremely highly paid one.


    • PikuChoo

      Exactly. Standards are falling and we are regressing back to third world standards while retaining first world costs.

      • GUSSIE91

        Who has told the world that HDB is the best housing quality in Singapore……………?
        Definitely not me, no it is not me.

      • Serene Love

        Well said.


    • Albert Wong

      U never buy cheap clothing before? If you never did, than never mind. If you did, u dont check before buying?

      • GUSSIE91

        what?…………… are you trying to tell us that HDB quality is poor, the work man ship is bad in addition of low quality housing scheme due to the failed project management?

      • Serene Love

        I have bought expensive public housing units from this extremely expensive government.
        Smart people should expect quality products from extremely expensive government.


        • PikuChoo

          He obviously thinks getting into a 30 year mortgage debt for a rabbit hutch sized housing unit is “cheap”.

          He also apparently thinks that the defects were requested by the unit owners, after all, these are BTO (built to order) units.

          • Serene Love

            Yup, must have been overexposed to the speeches delivered by those people until the brain became whitewashed to match with white uniforms


  • Serene Love

    Another thing I can’t understand is that the Minister and junior minister of the MND could spend so much time and effort to fix the opposition-run town council, yet they couldn’t spend enough time to fix the quality issues of the products they are selling to the people.

    Hook, line, sinker, and bait

  • Mastermind

    also check sewage pipes as well as kitchen cabinet dimensions that do not allow for a standard-sized oven to be fitted, pole-system wardrobes that lack shelves, defective stove knobs, stain-prone kitchen countertops and rusty dish racks as some DBSS and HDB new owners found out

  • Alex Lee

    HAIRLINE CRACKS are a rather common occurrence in new BTO HDB flats – they often form because “the plastering was not done properly” & generally do NOT compromise structural safety.

    Hairline cracks also form due to other reasons that cause ‘wall movement’: heat-cold (expansion-contraction) fluctuations, moisture, vibrations from renovation & slight shifting of the flat as new ground ‘settles’ (that takes 1 year or more).
    So, it’s not advisable to paint your house walls so soon (wait as long as you can) & use flexible polymer/teflon-based paint that stretches a little to accomodate some ‘wall movement’ & hides minor cracks.

    Unlike brick walls, pre-fab walls do not allow for as much ‘wall movement’ & hence hairline cracks form sooner & more extensively. Brick walls are not just more time-consuming to build but more expensive as they are a lot more labour intensive, etc.