A Plumbing and Electrical Checklist for Resale Flats

Before you get your ID to do up your home, find out if the plumbing and electrical systems are up to scratch.

Updated on June 21, 2017 8:06 am

Vince Wong

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The keys are finally in your hands, but resist the urge to tear down your walls for renovation right away. If you are moving into a used place, here are some plumbing and electrical questions you should look into.

1. Are your pipes new or old?
New PVC pipes are installed as part of the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) and Home Improvement Programme (HIP), but your unit’s previous homeowner might have opted out of the programme if he performed renovations before moving in.

If that is the case, you should expect to see new PVC waste pipes in the flat’s toilets and kitchen. Can’t tell if they are new? Here’s a hint: old pipes are usually made from metal and show signs of corrosion.

If the home’s previous owner chose to opt out of toilet upgrading, the toilets must first pass a water test for leaks. This is to prevent ceiling leaks at the flat below–it's advisable to repeat this test until you're sure that the toilet is okay.

2. Are there any concealed pipes?

Some previous homeowners might have chosen to conceal pipes running from the kitchen sink to the main waste pipe using hollow tiles on floor or wall finishes. Do check if this is the case with your unit before commencing renovation works.

3. Are any of the pipes leaking?
Replacement pipes must adhere to HDB’s guidelines for sanitary and plumbing works. This includes replacement of gas pipes, and you can find a copy of the guidelines here.

4. What should you do if your waste pipes are blocked?
Another issue that plagues new homeowners is the incidence of choked common service pipes, especially in new blocks with a lot of renovation works going on. If you can determine that the location of the choking is the common service pipe, you can call the town council for help unclogging it.

If, however, the pipes are local (in your kitchen pipes), call your own plumber to fix the problem.

Electrical works
According to HDB, apartment blocks completed on or after 01 Jan 1994 and flats upgraded under the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP) are provided with a higher electrical loading of 40 amps main switch.

Hence, you will not need to apply for an HDB permit to install an air conditioner or other higher capacity equipment/appliances if your flat has been provided with this higher electrical loading. Check if your flat has been upgraded using this online tool.

If your flat has not been upgraded to have this higher electrical loading, you must get an HDB permit to install 15amp power points if you are going to use equipment or appliances that require this higher capacity, like air conditioners.

Installation of water heaters, washing machines, electric ovens, or cookers are also subject to kw limits. The guidelines for installing these or upgrading power points are best understood by electricians, so in the interests of time and safety, take our advice: get your ID or electrician to look over this aspect of your home renovations.

If you want to go the DIY route and check the electric wires yourself, proceed with caution!

Click on these links for more HDB guidelines: HDB Wall Hacking Dos and Don'ts, Guide to Buying a New Flat, Quick Guide: Home Security Options to Consider, Insuring Your HDB Flat, and Dos and Don'ts of HDB Renovations.


Share your HDB reno stories with us! Email us at hello@cromly.com.

Photos by Xiangyun Lim Alexa

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