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5 Important Renovation Guidelines every Homeowner should know

Many new homeowners often have questions for their designers on what designs work and what doesn't. With many renovation guidelines in-place, its main purpose is to prevent jeopardising the building’s structural integrity, and perhaps also at the cost of not having your ideal design implemented. In this article, our designers share the necessary knowledge to safely conduct renovation works in HDB flats.

1. Kitchen

If you are looking to demolish a wall to create an open-concept kitchen, or lay additional wall finishes, you will need to apply for a permit.

On the contrary, works such as extending your kitchen into the service balcony without removing walls, construction of concrete sink support or cabinet with a cement mortar base, and the construction of a vanity top does not require a permit but are subject to the following guidelines.

  • All services within extended areas should not be tampered with

  • Installation of exhaust fan is not allowed at the service balcony

  • Construction of concrete shelf is not allowed

2. Floor Finishes

Flooring is one of the most important parts of your home interior design because it is usually the largest component of your home.

Flooring works, namely the replacement of floor finishes of a certain material, the replacement of existing bathroom or toilet floor finishes, and the topping up of flooring using lightweight screed or block in your balcony, kitchen, bathroom or toilet, will require a permit. In addition, there are certain guidelines that your contractor must adhere to, even for works that do not require a permit.

Additional guidelines include:

  • The total thickness of floor finishes and screed combined must not exceed 50mm

  • Floor finishes must be laid on the bare concrete surface provided by HDB. The original cement screed provided must not be left bare.

  • A pre-packed waterproofing screed and waterproofing membrane should be used before laying new floor finishes.

3. Hacking of walls

If you are looking to hack down internal walls to open up spaces and create bigger rooms, do note that any demolition or alteration of non-structural walls will require a permit from HDB. Any reinforced concrete structures (structural walls) cannot be tampered with. Tampering with structural walls may cause damage to the building’s structural integrity.

In the rare event that you need to make an opening in the non-structural wall between two flats, you will need to obtain a permit from HDB. You will also need to obtain a permit if you want to replace the internal wall finishes in your home, bathroom or toilet.

Other erection of walls and partitions, laying of wallpaper, adding of solid timber or mirror wall panels to your wall will not require a permit, but these works are subject to certain guidelines and conditions.

4. Doors

If your unit is along a fire escape route and you wish to replace the main entrance door and/or frame, you will need to obtain a permit. The replacement door and/or frame must also be half-hour fire-rated and the frame must be installed with a self-closing device.

5. False Ceiling

If you are looking to install a false ceiling for a more unique home interior design, you are in luck. Although you don’t have to apply for a permit, there are guidelines that your contractor will need to adhere to:

  • The installed cornices and pelmet must have a minimum clearance height of at least 2.10 metres from the finished floor level

  • False ceilings must have a minimum clearance height of 2.4 metres measured from the finished floor level (not applicable for toilets and bathrooms)

  • No gas pipe is to be enclosed within the false ceilings

With this brief overview of the renovation works that require a permit and the guidelines that need to be adhered to, you can get a better idea of what you can do for your home interior design even before speaking to your interior designer.


At Dreamakers Interior we believe that every space has the potential to become unique, harmonial and beautiful. We are proud of what we do and are prepared to work overtime to guarantee that you are satisfied with the way your space looks. From full-scale projects to small renovations, we invite you to take a look at our gallery and see what we have done. Below are some of our favorite projects. If you need professional help for design conceptualization or space planning, let us know

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