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7 Defects You Should Check For in Your New HDB BTO Flat


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 the home to check for defects, just so you can be sure you are getting the perfect house/apartment for you.

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 story was written by Thomas Hoi and first published on Interior Design in Singapore.
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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Viiank

    April 5, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Govt knows the dilemma faced by the young in sneittg up homes, and have difficulty buying their first homes.But they dun dare to act because they have pushed themselves into a very tight corner, they could only resort to stop gaps here and there to try to contain property prices.Crashing the market could cost them to lose the 2016 Election, and collapse of the FIs who provide mortgage loans to a large percentage of foreign and PR purchasers.All foreigners get to do is pack their bags and run, dumping homes for banks to foreclose.It’s a nightmarish scenario for both the Govt and the Banks, the latter the core of Singapore’s Financial Centre. We have seen foreigners forsaking properties in Dubai, and the demise of Banks in Ireland due to property collapse, dun say won’t happen to Singapore.SDP’s proposal of a special HDB enclave for citizens to own flats is done in good faith, but people, both citizens and PRs, who bought flats recently at peak prices would be howling in protests. Our leaders have really trussed themselves up like stringed up crabs in the wet market, can’t move.

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