Renovating a home is no mean feat – it’s a costly, complicated, and often stressful undertaking, and homeowners should be vigilant and careful every step of the entire journey. When done right, the returns often exceed the monetary value as homeowners end up with a beautiful space that not only functions well, but also brings them immense joy to live in every day.
But this is not always the case as not all businesses are fairly run. Horror stories about bad service, shabby construction work, and even scams by interior design firms still continue to surface from time to time... So how should homeowners protect themselves from getting the shorter end of the stick? While accreditations issued by HDB and CaseTrust offer a basic safety net, they should not be the only factor that lends credit to an interior design firm or construction company.
What Do The Accreditations Mean?
HDB Registered Renovation Contractor (RRC)
A contractor who’s listed under the HDB Registered Renovation Contractors' Scheme (RRCS) has been acknowledged by the public housing board to be conscious of HDB’s renovation works requirements. This accreditation does not mean that HDB recommends or guarantees the contractor’s renovation work quality.
According to HDB’s website:
“Engaging these contractors is a private contract between you and the contractors, and HDB is not privy to it. The contractors are fully responsible for the contractual obligations towards their client, including the quality of their works. If there is any disagreement on the pricing, schedule, or quality of the renovation, both parties need to resolve the matter between yourselves. If the matter cannot be settled amicably, you can seek assistance through CASE or the Small Claims Tribunals. Alternatively, you can seek remedy through court proceedings.”
Generally, interior design firms are not obliged to be registered under this scheme as designers do not execute the renovation works with their own two hands. They often sub out these works to contractors, and this HDB scheme is targeted specifically at getting contractors who handle the manual work licensed - a common misconception among homeowners that one should only engage HDB-licensed firms.
CASETRUST-RCMA Joint Accreditation for Renovation Business
Established by the Singapore Renovation Contractors and Material Suppliers Association (RCMA), the CASETRUST-RCMA Joint Accreditation scheme requires companies to protect a customer’s deposit payment through purchase of a deposit performance bond. This ensures that homeowners’ monies are safe in the face of the firm’s closure or liquidation.
Interior design firms accredited under this scheme are also recognised for their cost transparency, accountability, and general good business practices. Customers can expect documented policies on fees and refunds, clearly defined dispute resolution mechanisms, and ethical sales staff. Refer to more details here.
To be on the safe side, it’s best to confirm with the interior design firm if they are working with contractors that are HDB-licensed. And do check out the company’s reviews by other homeowners on Qanvast to get a better gauge of their reputation.
On top of a firm’s accreditation and reputation, other factors you need to consider before deciding on which company to trust the renovation works to include its ae
sthetics, price, services, and sometimes simply whether you have “good vibes” about the designer.