Question 1
 I need to carry out renovation for my coming new flat.  However, there are so many renovators in the market.  How should I go about choosing one? What is the difference between RADAC Accredited Renovators and non-accredited renovators?

You may consult your friends or relatives who had carried out renovation works for recommendations and advice.  At the same time, you can contact RADAC or read through the renovation articles in this RADAC Directory for more information. You may also want to know that touting is an illegal act, thus you should avoid engaging touting renovators.

Renovators must have sound financial standing, technical competence and at least 3 years renovating experience with HDB Licence or 7 years for those without HDB Licence. Should you have a dispute with your renovator, RADAC would be able to arrange mediation in resolving the dispute only if your renovator is accredited with RADAC.

Renovators who wish to be accredited with RADAC are required to be covered under Public Liability Insurance for a minimum coverage of $200,000 so as to protect the interest of both the  homeowners and the renovators. In addition, they are also required to go through the RADAC Certificate Course to further upgrade their expertise.

Question 2
I've obtained three quotations for the renovations of my 4-room HDB flat. Why do the three quotes vary about 20%?  Do I just choose the contractor with the lowest quote?

Before you can compare the quotations and conclude that they are different by 20%, you have to be sure that the specifications given to the three contractors are exactly the same.  This is because different materials used can result in different quotes.  Assuming that the specifications are the same, the quotes may still vary because of different standards of workmanship and services provided.  In addition, a more reputed firm with more experience may charge a higher premium.  It also depends on the time frame given to the contractors to finish the renovation work as a contractor may charge higher for more urgent jobs.  The lowest quote may not always be the best as the above factors have to be considered. The more important consideration in the selection of your contractor is the good rapport between both parties and the level of confidence that you have in your contractor doing a good job.

Question 3
Some items in my HDB permit application have not been approved. However, my contractor said that it is all right to proceed with the unapproved works. Should I take his advice?

Do not be misled by your contractor.  As the flat owner, you are responsible for the renovation work carried out in your flat and have to ensure that HDB approval is given for all items to be renovated.  Do not proceed with any items until you have obtained HDB approval.  Should you have any queries, do contact HDB area offices.

Question 4
I'm unhappy with my present contractor and would like to engage a new contractor to carry out the work.  What are the steps that I need to take?

Before you ask the new contractor to start his work, you should inform your current contractor of your decision and a mutual written agreement has to be signed. Both parties should also assess the work carried out and necessary payments to be made. In addition, communicate clearly of your requirements to the new contractor to avoid future dispute. Subsequently, cancel the old HDB permit and apply for a new one if necessary.  For safety purpose, you may consider changing your house key. When selecting the new contractor, inform him of the outstanding work.

Question 5
I have bought some marble from a supplier myself and engaged a contractor to lay the floor of my dining and living rooms. After the marble had been laid I realised that although the workmanship was good. There were many cracks in the marble as well as  a great disparity in the marble colour.  I have approached the contractor for compensation but he told me to seek recourse from my supplier. Is my contractor being irresponsible?

Your contractor is right in asking you to approach your supplier. Your contractor is only responsible for laying the marble which in your opinion is of good workmanship the problem lies in the marble which you had bought from your own supplier. The contractor is thus not liable for the inferior quality of the marble.