What Is The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) Scheme In Singapore & How Much Is It?

Dexter Lee June 19, 2024

What Is The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) Scheme In Singapore & How Much Is It?

Key Takeaways

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in Singapore targets older HDB flats, providing essential and optional upgrades like structural repairs, plumbing, and electrical enhancements. Essential works are fully subsidized, while optional improvements have subsidized rates based on flat type. The program also includes the EASE scheme for elderly-friendly modifications. Proper preparation and financial planning can optimize the benefits of HIP renovations.

Owning an HDB flat is a significant milestone for many Singaporeans. However, as these flats age, they require maintenance and upgrades. Launched by the Housing & Development Board (HDB), the HIP is designed to help homeowners renovate and upgrade their ageing flats to ensure they remain safe and liveable.

This article will explore the HIP scheme, including the types of work included, the costs involved, and how to prepare for and maximise this beneficial program.

What Is the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)?

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is a government initiative addressing common maintenance issues in older HDB flats. First introduced in 2007, the HIP focuses on improving the living conditions of flats that are approximately 30 years old.

The programme is a comprehensive approach to ensure that ageing flats continue to meet the needs of their residents, addressing both essential maintenance and optional enhancements.

Eligibility and Selection Process

An HDB flat must be selected based on age and maintenance needs to qualify for the HIP. Flats around 30 years are eligible for the first round of improvements, with a second round potentially occurring after another 30 to 40 years.

The selection process involves HDB identifying eligible blocks and conducting a poll among residents. For the HIP to proceed, at least 75% of the households in the selected block must vote in favour of the improvements. It’s important to note that only Singaporean citizens can vote, while permanent residents (PRs) do not have voting rights.

The HIP can commence once a block is selected and the necessary approval is obtained. This programme is a significant step in ensuring that older HDB flats remain safe, functional, and comfortable for their residents.

What Does the HIP Include?

The Home Improvement Programme offers a range of improvements that are categorised into essential and optional works. These works are designed to address critical maintenance issues and provide opportunities for homeowners to upgrade specific areas of their flats.

Essential works are mandatory upgrades that address key maintenance issues common in older flats. These include:

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    • Repairing structural cracks in concrete
    • Fixing faulty pipes and discharge stacks
    • Enhancing electrical wiring and upgrading the power supply

    On the other hand, optional works offer homeowners the flexibility to choose additional upgrades based on their preferences and needs. These include:

    • Upgrading toilets and bathrooms
    • Installing new decorative doors and metal grille gates
    • Enhancing refuse chute hoppers
    • Building ramps for wheelchair accessibility

    Combining essential and optional works under the HIP provides a comprehensive approach to improving the living conditions in older HDB flats. This dual approach ensures necessary maintenance while giving homeowners the flexibility to enhance their living spaces according to their preferences.

    Home Improvement Programme: Toilet Upgrades

    One of the most impactful optional works under the HIP is upgrading toilets and bathrooms. Given the wear and tear these areas experience over the years, renovations can significantly improve functionality and aesthetics. However, this process comes with challenges, particularly regarding the temporary inconvenience to the residents.

    Toilet upgrades typically involve a complete overhaul of the existing facilities. This upgrade includes replacing old fixtures with new ones, installing anti-slip flooring, and updating the plumbing systems to ensure better efficiency and safety. Depending on the scope of the work, upgrades can range from 10 to 20 working days.

    HDB provides several temporary solutions to address the issue of toilet access during the renovation period. These solutions, while not ideal, aim to ensure that residents can continue with their daily routines as smoothly as possible:

    • Portable Toilets: HDB can set up portable toilets within the flat, often in the kitchen area. These toilets have basic amenities, including a heated shower head and tap.
    • Shared Toilets: Another option is to set up shared toilets in the block’s void deck. HDB maintains these toilets, accessible to all residents undergoing HIP renovations.

    The EASE HDB Scheme

    The Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) scheme is a complementary initiative under the Home Improvement Programme, specifically designed to assist elderly residents. This scheme aims to make HDB flats more elderly-friendly by incorporating various modifications that enhance safety and accessibility.

    Purpose and Benefits of the EASE Scheme

    The primary objective of the EASE scheme is to support seniors in maintaining their independence within their homes. By addressing common mobility and safety challenges, the scheme helps reduce the risk of accidents, such as slips and falls. The modifications provided under EASE include:

    • Installing slip-resistant treatments on bathroom floors
    • Adding grab bars in bathrooms and other parts of the flat
    • Constructing ramps to manage level differences within the flat and at entrances

    Eligibility and Application Process

    Unlike the main HIP, which requires a polling process, eligible seniors can apply the EASE scheme independently. Elderly residents can benefit from these enhancements even if their block is not undergoing HIP renovations. At least one household member must be 65 and above or 60 to 64 and require assistance with daily living activities.

    Eligible residents can apply for the EASE scheme through the HDB website or by visiting any HDB branch. Once the application is approved, HDB will coordinate the installation of the necessary enhancements, typically completing the work within a few days.

    Costs Involved in the HIP

    One of the most appealing aspects of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is its affordability. The Singapore government heavily subsidises essential works, making it accessible to a broad range of residents. However, costs are involved, particularly for optional works and the EASE scheme.

    Costs Breakdown

    The essential works under the HIP are fully subsidised for Singaporean citizens. Homeowners do not have to pay out-of-pocket for the critical maintenance required to keep their flats safe and functional. These include structural repairs, plumbing issues, and upgrading electrical systems.

    For optional and EASE works, homeowners should pay a portion of the costs, which varies based on the type and extent of the upgrades selected. The subsidised rates make it feasible for residents to opt for additional enhancements that improve their living conditions. Here is a general breakdown:

    • Up to Three Rooms: Homeowners pay 5% of the cost
    • Four Rooms: Homeowners pay 7.5% of the cost
    • Five Rooms: Homeowners pay 10% of the cost
    • Executive Condominiums: Homeowners pay 12.5% of the cost

    If you’re looking for financial support to undertake these home improvements, CreditMaster offers tailored loan solutions to meet your needs. Our loans are designed to help you finance your HIP renovations effortlessly. Apply for a loan with CreditMaster and ensure you have the funds to upgrade your HDB flat seamlessly.

    Planning for HIP Costs

    Given the subsidised nature of the HIP, the financial burden on homeowners is minimised. However, it is still essential for residents to plan their finances to cover their share of the costs. Here are some tips for managing HIP expenses:

    • Budgeting: Set aside funds for the HIP to ensure you can cover your share of the optional and EASE works.
    • Loans and Financing: Consider taking a renovation loan to cover the costs. Many financial institutions in Singapore offer loans specifically for home renovations.
    • Government Assistance: Explore other government assistance programmes that may provide additional support for low-income households.

    Preparing for the HIP

    Preparing your home for the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is essential to minimise disruptions and ensure a smooth renovation process. Proper preparation helps protect your belongings from dust and damage and allows you to continue your daily activities with minimal inconvenience.

    Here are some practical steps to safeguard your belongings:

    • Store Valuables in Safe Locations: Move smaller valuables, such as jewellery and electronics, to secure locations like locked cabinets or safes.
    • Cover Furniture: Use plastic covers provided by the HIP contractors to cover larger furniture pieces against dust and debris.
    • Seal Bedrooms: Store as many items as possible in bedrooms and seal the doors to prevent dust from entering. Use painter’s tape to secure the edges of the doors and any other openings.
    • Remove Wall Decorations: Remove any pictures, mirrors, or wall-mounted items to avoid damaging them during the renovations.

    Ensuring the Home is Ready for Renovations

    Preparing your home for HIP renovations involves more than just protecting your belongings. Here are some additional steps to ensure your home is ready:

    • Clear Pathways: Clear pathways and areas where work will be conducted of obstacles.
    • Coordinate with Contractors: Communicate with the HIP contractors to understand their schedule and specific requirements.
    • Inform Neighbors: Notify your neighbours about the upcoming renovations, especially if you live in close quarters.

    During the HIP renovations, it is crucial to have at least one family member present in the flat to oversee the work and communicate with the contractors. This person can ensure that:

    • The renovation work proceeds as planned and on schedule.
    • Any issues or concerns are promptly addressed with the contractors.
    • Your belongings and the flat are secure.

    Having a family member on-site can also facilitate quick decision-making if any unexpected situations arise, such as adjustments to the renovation plans or addressing contractor inquiries.

    Duration of the HIP

    Knowing the duration of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is crucial for homeowners in effectively planning and managing their schedules during the renovation period. The length of the HIP renovations can vary based on the specific works being carried out, but there are general timelines that homeowners can expect.

    The essential works under the HIP, which address critical maintenance issues, typically take around 10 to 15 working days to complete. These include repairing structural cracks, fixing faulty pipes, and upgrading electrical systems. Here is a more detailed breakdown of what to expect during this period.

    Optional works under the HIP, which include upgrades like toilet renovations, decorative door installations, and building ramps, can extend the overall duration of the renovations. Depending on the extent of the upgrades chosen by the homeowner, these works are typically completed within an additional 5 to 10 working days.

    The timeline can vary slightly depending on your flat’s condition and the complexity of the repairs. Maintaining regular communication with the HIP contractors is important to stay updated on the progress and any potential delays. Homeowners opting for multiple optional upgrades should plan for a longer renovation period to accommodate the additional work.

    As the HIP renovations are near completion, contractors will conduct final inspections to ensure that all works meet the required standards. Homeowners should also take this opportunity to inspect the completed works and address any concerns or minor touch-ups that may be needed.

    Planning HIP

    The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is a valuable opportunity for homeowners to enhance their HDB flats. By carefully planning and making informed decisions, you can maximise the benefits of essential and optional works and the EASE scheme. These renovations improve your living conditions and contribute to your home’s long-term value and sustainability.

    As you consider the Home Improvement Programme for your HDB flat, remember that improving your home can also increase its value and livability. If you need financial assistance to cover your renovation costs, CreditMaster offers loans tailored to your needs. Apply for a loan with us today to ensure you have the funds to make your home improvement dreams a reality.

    Dexter Lee

    Born with a pen in one hand and a keyboard in the other, Dexter's been crafting words into beautiful prose since he was old enough to scribble on his walls (much to his mother's chagrin). He's a self-proclaimed pun master, often leaving his coworkers in stitches with his clever wordplay. He's been known to strike up conversations with strangers and turn their stories into captivating content that keeps readers coming back for more. Despite his unconventional approach to life and work, Dexter takes his job as a content manager very seriously. He knows that every piece of content he produces has the power to make a difference in someone's life, and he's committed to using his words for good.

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