(Missed the previous episode? Here it is)

young lim renovation big move home design

Okay, this is going to be a long rant about the issues that I’ve been having with HDB over getting approval for my renovation permit. Now I’ve heard of my friends gripe about having to wait weeks and months before having to call and chase the officer-in-charge for the renovation approval. But you really can’t appreciate how frustrating it can be until you have to experience it yourself! It got so frustrating that I ended up having to take it out on the gym equipment…

young lim gym workout home design interior

Anyway, here’s what happened with my resale flat.

After charting out the layout of the new look, my interior designer submitted the list of the renovation works required in an application to HDB. All qualified interior designers and contractors will be able to help homeowners with the submission, so you don’t have to worry about this.

However, after the application has been submitted, the onus is on the homeowner to monitor and log in to the myHDBpage on the HDB portal (using your SingPass) to check on the status of the application.

Now for many first-time homeowners, navigating around the myHDBpage portal can be a nightmare! I really wish that HDB would invest some money to hire a UX (user experience) expert to make the navigation easier and more user-friendly.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on where to go if you want to check on the updates of your renovation permit status.


  1. After successfully logging in to myHDBpage, you will come to a screen like this. Click on ‘My Flat’ in the list on the left hand side of the page. A drop-down list will appear, with three more options. IMPT: Now make sure you click on ‘Purchased Flat’ and not ‘Application Status’. The latter is only for checking of your application to purchase a flat and not your reno permit application.


  1. After clicking on ‘Purchased Flat’, you will see a page with six options. Click on the option that says ‘Renovation’.

procedure to apply renovation permit


  1. After clicking on ‘Renovation’ you will see the application number and status of your renovation permit under your new home address. As you can see, my status still says ‘Pending’. And if you look at the submission date, you can see that it’s been well over a month!

procedure to apply renovation permit

Why so long?

In cases where the renovation of your flat does not include hacking of walls or re-configuration of your sinks or toilets, the renovation permit is usually approved within 2-3 days. However, if major renovations are required for cases of older resale flats, additional information has to be submitted. You can usually see what are the additional information your interior designer or contractor needs to follow-up with when you click on your Permit Number. If you scroll down to the end of the document, you will also be able to find the contact details of the officer-in-charge of the case.

What do I do if my status is still pending?

Here’s what I did: Firstly, I called the HDB Hotline (6490-1111). The voice menu prompted me to press ‘0’ for operator assistance. After waiting around five minutes, I got through and explained to the operator my situation. The operator very kindly informed me the correct number to call regarding renovation permits is 1800-225-5432, before patching me through. She also provided me with the email address of the officer-in-charge.

After finding out what’s happening over at HDB’s end, I got in touch with my interior designer to remind him to follow-up closely with the contractor to ensure that the case doesn’t get pushed to the bottom of the pile. For a homeowner, it’s best to be keep in the loop this way. Otherwise, it can be intolerable to be helplessly waiting for approval.

What NOT to do if your permit is still pending.

  1. Don’t scream at the operator when you call the helpline. I’m sure they are well aware of the need for urgency with all home renovations, and screaming at them will not help your application get approved immediately,
  2. Be clear about what you need. Ask to follow up on your renovation permit and get the contact details of the relevant officer-in-charge. If technical details are required, ask your contractor to provide them promptly.
  3. There’s no need to send complaint letters to the newspapers just because your application is pending.
  4. Sometimes, not stating your renovation details in the correct way can cause a delay as well. For example, if you wish to change the window grille design, just be clear and state ‘Change of window grilles’.

Additional points

  1. Be clear about the renovation restrictions. You can find this information in the myHDBpage portal or refer to our quick guide here. procedure to apply renovation permit   
  2. You are also required to engage contractors that are approved by HDB. You can find the list under Residential> Living in a HDB flat> Renovation Guidelines. procedure to apply renovation permit
  3. Alternatively, you can also download the Mobile@HDB app on android or iTunes and click on the menu button on the upper left corner of the screen. From the dropdown list, click on HDBinfoWEB. After that, click on ‘Living’ and then ‘Renovation’.



Find out if my permit finally got approved and what other issues cropped up in Episode 5.

(Missed the previous episode? Here it is)