Murali Pillai
3 min readFeb 7, 2024

I have received a complaint from a Bukit Batok resident querying the logic of excluding carpentry works, steel works, electrical wiring, and tile overlaying from the requirement of getting HDB renovation permits. I therefore queried the Minister for National Development on the matter. I highlighted that such works can generate noise and dust and should be subject to permit conditions too. My parliamentary question and the Minister’s response are set out below.

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Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for National Development whether HDB can review its current policy of excluding carpentry works, steel works, installation of electrical wiring, overlaying of tiles and other similar works from the need to obtain renovation permits with a view to require permits to be applied for all works as long as such works are noise- and dust-generating and expected to be carried out for a significant period of time.

Mr Desmond Lee: Flat owners are required to engage a renovation contractor listed in HDB’s Directory of Renovation Contractors (DRC) and to obtain a renovation permit for renovation works that affect the structural integrity of the building or pose public safety concerns, such as the demolition of walls and the replacement of windows. For works which are less disruptive and do not pose potential public safety concerns, such as overlaying of floor tiles, installation of electrical wirings or carpentry works, HDB does not require flat owners or their appointed DRC contractors to obtain permits. The noise arising from these works is generally more transient in nature.

Nonetheless, HDB has put in place certain measures to mitigate the potential dis-amenities arising from renovation works. For instance, DRC contractors are required to inform households within a radius of two flats of the unit being renovated of the work at least five days in advance, and to limit the conduct of noisy renovation activities, such as drilling works, to between 9.00am to 5.00pm on weekdays, excluding public holidays. These registered contractors are also required to abide by the time restrictions for other renovation works that are non-structural and hence not required to be included as part of their renovation permits. These measures aim to minimise inconvenience and give the immediate neighbours sufficient notice to make adjustments to their routines, where necessary.

It is unavoidable, at times, that there will be some noise and dust generated when renovation works are carried out. Active communication and mutual respect between neighbours are key to resolving these temporary dis-amenities arising from renovation works. In most instances, flat owners and their renovation contractors have been able to take the appropriate measures to reduce inconvenience to their neighbours.

HDB will continue to review its policies regularly, taking into consideration the impact renovation works have on residents.



Murali Pillai

Member of Parliament, Bukit Batok SMC, Advisor to Bukit Batok SMC GROs.