Key Takeaways

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in Singapore, initiated by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), targets HDB flats built before 1986 to address maintenance issues and modernize facilities. Essential works are fully subsidized, while optional works require partial payment based on flat size. The programme ensures safety, functionality, and improved living conditions, with costs varying for different types of works.

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is an important initiative by Singapore’s Housing & Development Board (HDB) to maintain and enhance older HDB flats. Since its inception in 2007, HIP has played a crucial role in ensuring Singapore’s public housing longevity and livability.

This article delves into the specifics of the HIP scheme, including its components, costs, and the steps involved in preparing for these essential renovations.

What Is the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)?

HDB introduced the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) to address common maintenance issues in older flats. The programme focuses on ensuring the safety and functionality of HDB flats that have aged significantly since their construction. Here’s a breakdown of what the HIP entails:

  • Eligibility: HIP targets HDB flats built before 1986 that still need to undergo the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP). Flats that are at least 30 years old are eligible for HIP. This regulation ensures that the programme targets most units needing maintenance and upgrades.
  • Selection: HDB selects eligible blocks based on the age of the flats and other factors. Relevant parties assess blocks for structural integrity and maintenance needs before being included in the programme.
  • Voting: After selection, residents in the chosen blocks need to vote on whether they want the HIP to proceed. At least 75% of the households in the block must vote for the HIP to commence.

Objectives of HIP

  • Safety and Maintenance: Addressing structural and maintenance issues such as spalling concrete, faulty pipes, and electrical wiring. These essential works are critical for the protection and functionality of the flats.
  • Modernisation: Upgrading essential facilities to meet current standards. This upgrade includes improving the overall living conditions and ensuring the flats are up-to-date with modern amenities.
  • Enhancements: HIP offers optional improvements to improve residents’ living conditions. These enhancements allow residents to customise their living spaces according to their preferences and needs.

The programme ensures that older HDB flats remain safe, functional, and comfortable for residents. HIP comprehensively solves common maintenance problems by addressing essential and optional upgrades.

Components of the HIP

The HIP consists of two main components: Essential Works and Optional Works. Additionally, there is the EASE (Enhancement for Active Seniors) Programme, which focuses on elderly-friendly improvements.

Essential Works

Essential works are mandatory upgrades to resolve critical maintenance issues in older HDB flats. These include:

  • Repairs: Fixing structural cracks and spalling concrete is necessary to prevent further deterioration and ensure the building’s integrity.
  • Plumbing: Replacing old and faulty pipes and discharge stacks. Upgrading the plumbing system helps prevent leaks and other issues that can lead to more significant problems.
  • Electrical Wiring: Upgrading electrical wiring to prevent hazards. Old electrical wiring can pose a fire hazard, so upgrading the system is crucial for residents’ safety.

Optional Works

Homeowners can choose from various optional improvements to enhance their living space. These include:

  • Toilet Upgrades: Renovating existing toilets to modern standards. Upgrading toilets can improve hygiene and comfort for residents.
  • Doors and Gates: Replacing old doors and installing metal grille gates. New doors and gates can enhance the security and aesthetic appeal of the flat.
  • Refuse Chute Hoppers: Upgrading refuse chutes for better hygiene. Improved refuse chutes help manage waste more efficiently and prevent pest infestations.
  • Ramps: Building ramps for better accessibility is essential for residents with mobility issues, ensuring they can move around their homes more quickly.

The cost of optional works varies based on the specific upgrades chosen by the homeowners. These upgrades allow homeowners to customise their living spaces and improve their quality of life.

EASE (Enhancement for Active Seniors) Programme

The EASE programme offers additional improvements tailored for elderly residents, such as:

  • Slip-resistant Treatments: Installing slip-resistant floors in bathrooms reduces the risk of slips and falls, making the bathroom safer for elderly residents.
  • Grab Bars: Adding grab bars in bathrooms and other areas. Grab bars provide additional support and stability for elderly residents, helping them move around more safely.
  • Ramp: Installing ramps to accommodate mobility aids makes it easier for residents with mobility aids to access their homes and move between rooms.

Cost of the Home Improvement Programme

Understanding the cost structure of the HIP is crucial for homeowners. While the programme is heavily subsidised, some costs are still involved, especially for optional and EASE works.

Subsidies and Costs

Essential Works: HDB fully subsidises this program, ensuring that all eligible homeowners receive the necessary repairs and upgrades at no cost. Subsidies make critical maintenance accessible to all homeowners, regardless of their financial situation.

Optional Works: Homeowners bear a percentage of the cost, which varies based on the type of flat:

  • Up to three rooms: 5%
  • Four rooms: 7.5%
  • Five rooms: 10%
  • Executive flats: 12.5%

These costs are calculated based on the size of the flat and the specific upgrades chosen by the homeowners.

EASE Programme Costs

Similar to optional works, the EASE programme requires homeowners to pay a portion of the costs, which also depends on the size of the flat. The board designs the costs for EASE works to be affordable, ensuring that elderly residents can access the necessary enhancements.

Permanent Residents

Singaporean citizens receive subsidies for essential work, while permanent residents must pay the entire cost. However, permanent residency households can convert to citizen households within a year to benefit from subsidies.

The detailed cost structure ensures that essential maintenance is accessible to all eligible homeowners while offering flexibility for additional enhancements. The subsidies provided by HDB make it easier for homeowners to afford the necessary upgrades and improvements.

If you plan to enhance your HDB flat through the Home Improvement Programme and need financial assistance, consider applying for a personal loan with Credit 21. We offer tailored loan solutions to people, making managing renovation costs easier. Visit our website to learn more and apply today.

Preparing for HIP Renovations

Proper preparation is essential to minimise disruption during HIP renovations. Homeowners should take several steps to protect their belongings and ensure a smooth renovation process.

Protecting Personal Belongings

  • Storage: Store valuable items, ornaments, and essential belongings in secure areas such as bedrooms. Storage helps prevent damage to valuable items during the renovation process.
  • Dust Protection: Use plastic covers provided by HIP to cover furniture, walls, and floors. Sealing bedroom doors can prevent dust from entering. Covers help keep the rest of the home clean and reduce the need for extensive cleaning after the renovations.
  • Temporary Relocation: Homeowners might need temporary accommodation during renovations, especially for toilet upgrades. Options include staying with family or friends or renting a hotel room or an Airbnb for the duration of the renovations. Renting provides a more comfortable living arrangement and ensures that homeowners have access to essential facilities during the renovation period.

Managing Daily Life

Be prepared for noise, dust, and limited access to utilities such as water and electricity. It’s essential to plan to minimise the impact on daily routines.

  • Noise: Renovation work can be noisy, especially if it involves drilling or other loud activities. Homeowners should plan their schedules to minimise the impact of noise on their daily activities.
  • Dust: Dust is a common issue during renovations. Using dust covers and sealing off rooms can help reduce the spread of dust.
  • Utilities: There may be temporary water, electricity, and internet disruptions. Homeowners should plan for these disruptions and make arrangements to ensure they have access to essential services.

By taking these steps, homeowners can reduce the inconvenience and ensure the renovation goes smoothly. Proper preparation helps minimise the impact of renovations on daily life and ensures that the process is as stress-free as possible.

Duration and Impact of HIP Renovations

Due to the nature and extent of the work involved, HIP renovations can significantly impact daily life. Understanding the typical duration and potential disruptions can help homeowners plan accordingly.

Typical Duration

  • Essential Works: These are generally completed within ten business days and focus on addressing critical maintenance issues and ensuring the safety and functionality of the flats.
  • Optional Works: The duration varies based on the specific upgrades chosen, but it typically adds a few more days to the timeline. Optional works may include more extensive renovations, such as upgrading bathrooms or installing new doors.

Potential Disruptions

  • Access Issues: During toilet renovations, homeowners might need more bathroom facilities.
  • Noise and Dust: Expect significant noise and dust throughout the renovation period. Homeowners should be prepared for these disruptions and take steps to minimise their impact.
  • Utility Interruptions: Temporary loss of water, electricity, and internet services may occur. Planning for these interruptions and ensuring alternative arrangements are in place is essential.

Mitigating Disruptions

Homeowners should communicate with contractors to understand the schedule and plan their daily activities around the renovation work. They should stay elsewhere to avoid the worst disruptions.

  • Scheduling: Work with contractors to create a schedule that minimises disruptions to understanding when they’ll complete specific tasks.
  • Alternative Arrangements: Consider making alternative arrangements for essential services, such as using a neighbour’s bathroom or setting up a temporary workspace.

Final Thoughts on HIP

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is a crucial initiative that ensures the longevity and livability of older HDB flats in Singapore. HIP helps homeowners maintain their flats well by addressing essential maintenance issues and offering optional enhancements.

If you’re considering renovations but need additional financial support, Credit 21 offers personal loans tailored to your needs. Our flexible loan options can help you manage the costs of the Home Improvement Programme. Visit our website to learn more and apply for a loan today.