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Common Defects To Look Out For When Inspecting Your New BTO

Got the keys to your HDB Build-to-Order (BTO) flat? Congratulations! It’s time to soak in the palpable joy of viewing the brand-new unit in person for the first time - especially when all you’ve seen thus far are technical floor plans and miniature housing estate models at HDB Hub.

But before you get carried away with the hustle and bustle of renovation works and moving-in plans, there’s one simple but oh-so-important thing to do. And yes, you’ve guessed it right - it’s carrying out a thorough check for both aesthetic and structural defects. HDB will fix them for free should you discover any, so why not right?

In case you were unaware, new HDB BTO flats are covered under a warranty within the 1-year Defects Liability Period, which starts from the date of your key collection. Ideally, defects should be reported within a month of receiving your keys, and checks should be carried out before renovation commences. This way, HDB wouldn’t have to investigate if the defects were caused by external factors.

There are professionals you can hire to help with the task for a three-figure sum, or you can choose to do it on your own. And in all honesty, it isn’t that difficult when you know what to look out for. Here, we share common defects homeowners like yourself have found during similar inspections - get ready your masking tape or sticky notes and start marking.

1. Electrical outlets

You’ll be surprised how something as basic as this can go wrong. Activate your utilities account before heading down, and bring a phone charger with you to test all the electrical sockets. If all’s good, do a quick visual check to see if everything is aligned and neat. And don’t forget the less conspicuous ones in the yard and bomb shelter.

2. Plumbing

All plumbing and pipes should be installed properly, with no visible damages or leakages. Use the clutch key placed in your letter box to switch on the water supply in the riser, and test the toilet bowls to see if they flush and refill well. All faucets and shower heads should be working fine with smooth water flow and good drainage too. As an added measure, you can even try flooding the toilets to see if ponding occurs.

3. Tiles and flooring

Whilst minor grout inconsistencies and subtle tonal variations in tiles are normal, it’s not okay to have major scratches, cracks or chips that are immediately visible to the naked eye. Also, check for unevening flooring and hollow tiles. The latter can be identified with a tapping rod or by dropping a coin on them, and should be fixed immediately as they may end up popping in time to come. 

4. Doors and windows

Don’t take them for granted. Everything should be aligned well with consistent joints, and all doors and windows should open and shut smoothly. Test the keys to see if they work properly. For windows, the rubber seals should fit well. If you’re feeling kiasu, you can even tug and pull at the handles to see if they fall out easily.   

5. Waterproofing

If possible, check your flat after a heavy downpour. This is when waterproofing issues surface and are most prominent. There shouldn’t be any water seepage and stains on your ceiling or walls, as well as leakages from shut windows. In other words, your new home should stay toasty and dry. 

6. Paint job

This one is easy enough to spot - HDB walls and ceilings come in a standard shade of white, and the paint job should be even and neat. Surfaces should also be smooth with no visible bumps and irregularities. 

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