You are soon going to move into an apartment but would like some renovations done to suit your taste and needs, so you have rounded up a list of contractors. Before you give the go ahead to your contractor, one important detail that should not be overlooked is that the contractor is HDB (Housing and Development Board) licensed. The reason being hiring an unlicensed HDB Registered Renovation Contractor (RRC) can attract a fine of up to $5000 and other penalties. Besides a list of dos and don’ts that include rules about what kind of structural changes are allowed, the time period etc, you also need to be aware of the contracts that you sign up for.

Here are some guidelines that you need to know before and after you sign the dotted line: 

Permits – Once you have signed up for renovation; make sure you get the required permits. Your RRC should be able to work on this with you.

Terms and Conditions – There is a reason why we are always told to read the fine print! Do read through the terms and conditions carefully. These will normally include terms of payment, late payment penalties, services to be rendered, the time for renovation and the completion date and guarantees if any. If there are clauses you don’t understand or are uncomfortable with, check with your RRC and see what can be reworked. These could be related to payment so do your homework and settle on what works best for you. This would be the first step towards setting some ground rules and working towards them.

Payment schedule – This part of the contract should be watertight. It would be in your interest to pay installments as per certain stages in the renovation.

Timelines – There will be a specific time period allotted for renovation so the work will need to be completed within the stipulated time. Sometimes things may not go per plan but you can still have a reference timeline in your contract so that the minor milestones can be altered and the main timeline still adhered to.

Add ons – There may be instances where you may realize you need to add on some features to your renovation or need some additional work done. Ensure that your contract does account for this especially the kind of charges it may involve.

Track progress – It is important that you supervise and track progress of the renovation. If you feel that the progress isn’t as per the initial contract, you can settle payments accordingly. Let this be a clause in your contract as well.

Changing contractors – In the likelihood of you being unhappy with the contractor and the work being done, you may need to terminate the existing contract and make appropriate payments. In this case, you will need to find another contractor and go ahead with the pending renovation. This also needs to be part of the written agreement.

Warranty – A warranty is essential for some of the products that are part of your renovation. In case something needs to be replaced, it’s good to have some guidelines in place.

We hope these pointers help you and make signing that contract a little bit easier.