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What to do before hiring a contractor

KNOW YOUR PROJECT WELL

Put what you need in terms of price, materials and tools that you will need on paper. With your budget in mind, you can then shop around for contractors and compare quotations.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon suggests checking out the Building and Construction Authority's website (www.bca.gov.sg), which has a series of Good Industry Practices Guide books highlighting good work practices adopted by contractors. 

HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

The completed project should be suitable to its intended use and look acceptable. Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre (Radac) executive director Edward Tan says there is no such thing as the “perfect” renovator. And don't fall for seemingly attractive offers, unrealistic promises, fancy talk, glamorous showrooms and gimmicks.

CONFIRM THE FINAL JOB BRIEF IN WRITING

Include the design, technical specifications, detailed work plans, timelines and so on. The contract should also show a clear list of products and services involved, and a detailed cost breakdown.

AGREE ON A SPECIFIC AND FAIR CONTRACT

Radac and Case have sample contracts on their websites; visit www.radac.org.sg and www.case.org.sg. Before signing, think about situations that may arise during renovation that could lead to disputes. Remember, your rights and claims depend on how your contract was drawn up. 

AGREE TO PAY PROGRESSIVELY AS THE WORK IS BEING CARRIED OUT

Don’t pay the full amount upfront, says Seng Choon.

CONFIRM THAT THE CONTRACTOR IS CREDIBLE AND RELIABLE

Only contractors registered with the HDB are allowed to carry out renovations in HDB flats; view the list at www.hdb.gov.sg. Seng Choon suggests using accredited contractors, such as CaseTrust accredited renovation companies, so that you can be assured of good business practices and proper dispute resolution measures (view the list at www.casetrust.org.sg).

This article was originally published in Simply Her October 2014. 

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