Category Archives: Renovation

5 lessons we learnt about renovations in 2015

As we end the year and look back, we may wish we did not do some of the things we did. We’d like to share some of the lessons we learnt about renovations, so that at the end of next year, you’d be in better shape than us!

Regret 1: Taking on a renovation package because it seemed like a good deal.

Renovation packages can be enticing. However, we found out that after basic renovation work is covered, some companies will stack costs on. Homeowners end up paying extra for additional work, just to get better quality workmanship.

Lesson learnt: If there is a need to move in urgently and you’re unfussy with design, a design package might be a better deal. Otherwise, it’s probably better to discuss your requirements and needs with the designer as they can customize a home design that fits your living lifestyle. If you do go with a package, make sure you understand what it entails before you sign on the dotted line.

Regret 2: Relying only on friends and family for recommendations on home professionals

After hearing so many horror stories of what could go wrong during renovations, we turned to friends and families for recommendations. However, what worked well for them and their designers and contractors might not work as well for you. Tastes and chemistry may differ, so a good relationship between two parties, might not mean that you’d have the same good relationship too. Also, when it comes to issues like money, or design tastes, tread carefully, as there’s a chance that the relationship might be ruined, if people disagree.

Lesson learnt: Most homeowners select their interior designers based on the chemistry between them. Before you sign an agreement with the interior designer, make sure that you feel safe and comfortable with him / her.

Regret 3: Listening to the advice of too many well-meaning people

When you tell people that you are embarking on a home renovation, people will often proffer their unsolicited, but well-meant advice. For first-timers especially, this can be very confusing, and overwhelming. The circumstances and experiences each person has for their own renovation is unique, and their recommendations might not be suitable for you.

Lesson learnt: Your home should reflect your own needs and tastes, so you should consider all advice, but only take into account those you think apply to you, and make sense for you.

Regret 4: Procrastinating to the very last minute on your renovation

Often times, homeowners under-budget the time needed for renovation, and get flustered when they are unable to move in to their new homes in time. Unforeseen delays might happen, or the decision process might have taken longer than expected. Demand for renovations is highest leading up to festive seasons like the year-end, Chinese New Year and Hari Raya. If you are looking to complete your renovations for the festive period, be sure to budget even more time.

Lesson learnt: Three months isn’t enough time to work on a renovation. Six months is probably a more comfortable time-frame, for the short-listing of firm, design and construction process. Also, cleaning up post renovation and moving in also takes time. It would be good to starting thinking about what designs you want, putting together some inspirational photos and finalizing a budget, before you even sit down with any interior design firm.

Regret 5: Doing what’s hot for now, instead of what you can live with for the long term.

Design trends often come and go. This year, it’s industrial;  last year, it was modern and Scandinavian. Before you commit to a design, think what you can live with for the long term. Black wire and Edison bulb light fixtures are very popular right now, but would you still enjoy the sight of them, or dusting them five years from today?

Lesson learnt: Before you populate your new home with all the latest trends, think about how long you will be staying in the home and how comfortable you will be with the decor over the next few years. Also think about maintenance, and how much time and effort you want to spend on upkeep and cleaning.

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New accreditation for renovation businesses

A new voluntary accreditation scheme was recently launched to give homeowners more assurance when securing the services of renovation contractors, reported The Straits Times.

The CaseTrust-RCMA joint accreditation scheme was developed by the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA) and the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) following an agreement signed in August 2014.

But unlike the previous CaseTrust scheme, the new one also protects the deposits of homeowners in the event the contractor disappears or closes shop.

Both schemes require firms to have proper and clear dispute-resolution mechanisms, on-site workmanship assessment, trained staff and clear policies on fees and refunds.

Five renovation contractors have already been accredited under the new scheme, while 12 are still in the process of being accredited.

“It gives customers confidence in us, and it also helps us to really bring up our standard,” said Rezt and Relax Interior Executive Director Wilson Teh.

Other firms that were accredited are Ciseern by Designer Furnishings, Add Space Design, Vegas Interior Design and Sky Creation Design.

The CaseTrust-RCMA accredited firms should offer a deposit performance bond which covers the deposits of customers – up to 20 percent of the contract value, if the contractor goes bust and leaves the renovation works unfinished or cannot be contacted for 30 days. The firms are also required to use a CaseTrust Standard Renovation Contract in order to ensure cost accountability and transparency.

The contractor industry is one of the top 10 industries in which Case receives the most number of complaints.

“For consumers who want peace of mind, I urge you to consider supporting businesses which have taken this additional step of being CaseTrust accredited and have committed themselves to fair trading practices,” said Case President Lim Biow Chuan.