You’ve heard alot of renovation nightmare stories on the media. You’ve heard of renovators who abandon the project halfway after getting their payments. And then there are stories of renovators doing shabby work that make you wonder if that’ll happen to your project as well.
So, to play safe, many of us look out for accreditation when it comes to selecting a good renovator. But do these accreditation really mean better quality? Let’s find out!
How are they selected?
The 3 most common accreditation / registration boards are those of HDB, CaseTrust and Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA). Here’s what these boards offer and how their renovators are earning their accreditation / registration:
HDB Registered Renovation Contractors (RRC)
The HDB Registered Renovation Contractors’ (RRC) Scheme is not exactly an accreditation, but rather a registration of renovators who are aware of the HDB renovation requirements and know how to protect the structural integrity of the building. These renovators are registered only if:
- they have completed the training course on renovation as organised by Building Construction Authority (BCA)
- they have at least 3 years of active experience in renovation works
- their company has been registered for at least 1 year, with a good track record, have been profitable in the past year, and have a minimum paid up capital of $50,000.
- none of the company directors or partners are either undischarged bankrupts or have any criminal records.
- they have done at least 5 renovation projects for private homes that total at least $100,000, and involved wet and / or hacking works.
The performances of the renovators are still monitored even after their registration, and their RRC registration can be revoked in case of poor performance. One thing to note is that this registration is mainly for the contractors doing the actual renovation works. So, don’t be surprised if your interior designer is not registered. He could be engaging contractors who are registered after all.
CaseTrust Accreditation for Renovation Businesses
Under this scheme, the renovators are audited by CaseTrust, under a set of comprehensive criteria. This include having proper store policies, ethical advertising and proper dispute resolution procedures, staff capabilities and staff training. These renovators:
- are required to purchase a deposit performance bond to safeguard deposit payments against non-performance of contract, closure, winding up and/or liquidation among others.
- must adopt the CaseTrust Standard Renovation Contract.
- are required to undergo CONQUAS workmanship assessments
- have at least one of their project site accessed by a BCA assessor.
CaseTrust-RCMA Joint Accreditation for Renovation Businesses
This scheme is a collaboration between CaseTrust and Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA). It is pretty much similar to the CaseTrust Accreditation for Renovation Businesses, except that this is only open to RCMA members.
Does engaging them mean better quality?
Unfortunately, no. Engaging these accredited / registered renovators only mean that HDB, CaseTrust and RCMA considers them, based on their own standards as we shared above, to be reasonably reliable for the renovation. None of these accreditation guarantee their service and / or work quality.
So, should you still engage them?
CaseTrust and RCMA accreditation is not a must for renovators, be it for public or private home renovations. However, if you’re renovating a HDB flat, do note that it is a requirement that you engage a HDB-registered renovator.
Besides accreditation, how can I ensure my renovator’s quality?
While we can’t really be 100% sure of a renovator’s service and workmanship quality, we can still take these measures to better safeguard ourselves and our reno project:
- Do a background check of the renovator online e.g. forums and Nestr’s ID directory that comes with reviews of IDs
- For HDB homeowners, check that the renovator or his contractor is registered under HDB. Here’s the full list of HDB-registered renovators. Registered renovators should be able to share with you their registration numbers.
- Check against the CASE Company Alert List to ensure yours is not in the list of renovators who are often complaint upon.
- Take a look at the renovator’s past projects to double confirm quality. Some renovators, especially contractors, may not have a designated website to showcase their portfolio. For such cases, you can directly liaise with them to request for their portfolio.
- Ask yourself these 5 questions to know if you’ve found the right renovator for yourself.
- Before signing the renovation contract, check these 5 things in the contract first!
But, what can you do if things still go awry with your renovator, despite all the precautions heeded? Consider seeking assistance through CASE, Singapore Mediation Centre or the Small Claims Tribunal, if you cannot settle it amicably! Happy renovating!