Need to Know: BTO Defect Checking Guide

You’ve got the keys to your HDB, and your BTO flat is waiting for your arrival. What an exciting time! At last, you have a place you can call your own. Almost immediately, you are thinking about your trip to IKEA and what kind of items you want to get to accessorise your home.

BUT WAIT!

Before you think ahead of yourself and your home plans, stop to read through this article.

Did you know that you are supposed to do a thorough check on your home before moving in or making any renovations?

Now you do, and we cannot stress how important it is to ensure you do this right.

Importance of Defect Checking

When you purchase your home in Singapore, your home is protected by the Defect Liability Period (DLP). Building and Construction Authority Singapore state that the developer is responsible for any defect in the unit you purchase for twelve months from the date of Notice of Vacant Possession.

What does that mean for you?

That means you are protected from defects in the home if you bother to do a thorough check. Here are a few reasons why it is paramount that you check for defects in your home.

  1. You are protected – It works like insurance, as long as you bother to read into the nitty-gritty details of your physical home and call out the defects.
  2. You are ensured to get only the best workmanship – No one wants to buy something with defects. If you find that something is out of place, like a tile that seems to be in a different shade from the rest, don’t spend money to cover it up but get it changed instead.
  3. You save money – If you are thorough in your checking, you save up on future repair cost. When the defects are identified and rectified, you don’t have to spend money to correct it after the liability period.

Tools you need to do a thorough defect check

Are you heading to view your new home? Don’t go empty-handed. Have these tools with you (on top of your house keys and documentation), so you can start checking for defects!

  1. Camera – to snap pictures of defects
  2. Masking tape – to stick and mark on areas with defects
  3. Notebook and pen – to list down the defects
  4. Defect checklist – available at the end of this article (so read everything okay?)

Areas to inspect for defects inside the home

Flooring

Walk around the unit with your eyes on the ground, make a thorough sweep and go through a few more times until you are satisfied. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Floor levelling – be sure it is levelled with no bumps
  2. Squeaks or rocking sounds – there should not be any sounds coming from your flooring
  3. Inherent characteristics – natural characteristics like veins should have a smooth varnish over it
  4. Inconsistent tonality – patterns and shades should blend
  5. Cracks, scratches and chips – there should be no cracks, scratches or chips on the tiles
  6. Consistent joints – the joining of each tile or skirting should be visibly straight and consistent with no gaps
  7. Unnatural stains – there should not be stains like oil or chemical stains on the flooring

Walls

Once you are done with the floors, turn your eyes to the walls. It means you’ll have to check from where the wall meets the floor up to the ceiling. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Cracks – you should not notice any cracks, uneven surface or brush marks from a distance of 1.5 metres
  2. Inconsistent tonality – patterns and shades should blend
  3. Cracks, scratches and chips – there should be no cracks, scratches or chips on the walls
  4. Wall edges – all edges must be straight and consistent

Ceiling

By now, your eyes might be a little tired from focusing, but you have one more major lookout to complete. Look up to check on the ceiling. If you have a mini ladder handy, you can use it to have a closer look at the condition of the ceiling. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Smooth and consistent – be sure you cannot even see the brush marks
  2. Watermarks – there should not be any watermarks caused by dampness
  3. Cracks – you should not notice any cracks
  4. Peef-offs or chip offs – the paint should not be peeling or chipping off of any part of the ceiling
  5. Wall to ceiling joints – all edges must be straight and consistent

Doors

Now it is time to look at the doors. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Joints of door frame – the joints should be straight, neat and gap-free
  2. Door and floor gap – be sure the gap is straight and consistent throughout
  3. Wall to door frame joints – all edges must be straight and consistent
  4. Aligned frame and door – the door and frame must be aligned with to bents or gaps
  5. Cracks, scratches and chips – there should be no cracks, scratches or chips on the doors
  6. Lock, knob, handle, hinges, latch, screw – all of these should be well screwed, smooth with no scratch marks and free from rust
  7. Operation – all doors should slide or open smoothly and easily without any squeaks
  8. Locks – be sure that the locks are all working by trying out the keys, locking and unlocking a few times to ensure smooth operation

Windows

It’s time to open the windows, let the air in and check for more defects. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Joints of the window to wall – the joints should be straight, neat and gap-free
  2. Neat sealant – ensure the sealant is applied uniformly with no spread on glazing or frame
  3. Aligned position – open and close the windows to ensure they are aligned with no gaps when closed
  4. Operation – all windows should slide or open smoothly and easily without any squeaks
  5. Lock, knob, handle, hinges, latch – all of these should be well screwed, smooth with no scratch marks and free from rust
  6. Damage marks – ensure there are no damage marks like cracks, dents, scratch marks on the window and frame
  7. Leakage marks – be sure there is no residue of leakage marks anywhere on the window and its surroundings

Components

credit: Proxibid

There will be several fittings done on your BTO unit. Identify all the components, then do a thorough check on them. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Wardrobe and cabinets – ensure the doors open and close smoothly, do not have scratches, chip-offs or dent marks and all the hinges and doors are aligned
  2. Bathtub and toilet – check for clean joints and ensure there are no water marks that could mean leakage

M & E Fittings

M & E stands for mechanical and electrical fittings inside the home. Be sure to look out for:

  1. Ensure that the electrical switches are levelled.
  2. The air conditioner should be aligned and levelled with no signs of water leakage.
  3. Floor traps in the bathroom and wash areas should be levelled with the floor and not jutting out in any way.
  4. Pipe and pipe joints should not have any leakage or any evidence of water leakage (eg. brown rusty residue).
  5. Electrical switches work to switch on and off electrical appliances.
  6. Toilet cistern should be able to flush without issues.
  7. Water taps can be turned off without any dripping.
  8. All metal accessories should be free from rust, stain or scratch marks.
  9. There should not be gaps or holes between the electrical switches and the wall.

Checking out your new home can be quite tiring and confusing. But don’t worry, we at Renodots have got your back.

You can print this DEFECT CHECKLIST before you visit your new home:

We want you to be happy with your new home when you finally move in and know that there are no doubts whatsoever on the workmanship and quality of the items and fittings in your home. Make full use of the Defect Liability Period (DLP).