Home Renovation It is important to select a good and reputable contractor for the job. Track record is exceedingly important and it would be useful to see photographs of existing works done by the proposed contractor or even see their works in progress if the opportunity permits. Whilst cost is always a factor to consider, other factors like quality, time taken, defect liability period must also be considered. For HDB dwellers, it is important to engage a HDB approved contractor. For more details on HDB registered contractors, please click here. During works in progress it is essential to monitor the work as sometimes inferior products can be "buried" by contractors within their works and when such begins to act up, it is beyond the defect liability period and proof will be difficult. Have a camera ready to take snapshots of unsatisfactory works and if possible, have another person accompany you during inspections which should be done periodically. The time invested in such inspections may save a lot of heartache in the future and will definitely increase the chances of avoiding future disputes with the contractor. Diary any dissatisfactions and write to the contractor to make amends. If progress of work is not satisfactory, raise the issue early, do not wait till the last minute or you may be faced with unfinished or shoddy workmanship. CASE has a "model" agreement which is available at the CASE office. The model should be taken as a guide and modified as may be appropriate. It should not be taken as an end all. CASE also have a bilingual renovation leaflet to advise you how to avoid renovation pitfalls. You may get the copy from CASE office or HDB counter (Toa Payoh HDB Hub). More information on this leaflet, please click here. Meanwhile CASE would advise: 1. Do not be pressurised by any contractors particularly to sign any agreements, this applies to interior designers as well as CASE has seen situations were high pressure sales were used and the small claims tribunal used to "enforce" such contracts. 2. Plan in advance, do not make last minute discussions on such a big issue like renovation or you will be unnecessarily pressurising yourself. Pressurised consumers do not make good decisions. 3. Check credentials of renovation contractors, ask for a list of works done. 4. Be mindful that renovation contractors also have their field of specialty i.e. those good at HDB renovation may hold true for other properties and vice versa. In this regard, consumers must be mindful that their contractors must have enough expertise to guide them through the slew of permits required in a renovation job. 5. Make progress payments and only after satisfactory completion of the job agreed upon. 6. Never advance money to a contractor particularly in large amounts unless you are prepared to risk losing it. 7. Be vigilant during works and take down your misgivings meticulously. 8. Recognise when you must give up on your contractor and notify him before appointing a new one in place. (Disclaimer: CASE does not assume responsibility for the information obtained beyond this point. We also do not necessarily endorse the views expressed or the commercial products that may be advertised on these sites.) Furniture Compared to most purchases, buying furniture can be complicated. It involves comparison shopping, selecting the pieces best suited to your needs, possibly signing a contract, and arranging for delivery. Selecting furniture Before you shop for any furniture, it is wise to give careful thought to your needs and plan with these in mind. A sound plan made and followed will help to stretch the home furnishing dollar and insure lasting satisfaction from your investment. Consider these questions: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. What is really needed? Do I need to get rid of some items? Will the piece fit in the space I have for it? What will be the function of this piece? What style shall I choose? How much can I afford to spend? Do I know how to judge the way it is made? Will I know how to care for it? Keep in mind that wise buying means spending the largest of the furniture budget on basic pieces that are expected to stay in service longest and must, therefore, stand up under wear. Try to select your furniture based on quality rather than style. Signing contract Make sure that the contract you are signing has a detailed description of your furniture, including the type of materials used, colour and any style or model numbers. Also find out if there is a cancellation fee and how much it is. A delivery date must appear on the contract. You must be given at least an estimated delivery date (11 August, for example) or a range of dates (4-6 weeks, for instance). Delivery If you are expecting a complete delivery and the store can only deliver part of your order, it is advisable not to accept a partial delivery. It is very important to inspect your furniture when it arrives. If there is some defects, ask the delivery people to return it to the store. If they refuse, do not sign the bill until the delivery people write down that there is a defect and they also sign the bill. Frequently, delivery people have many stops to make or the furniture is sealed in boxes and you will be too rushed to adequately check the furniture. If you are unable to examine the furniture before the delivery people leave, it is wise to write on the bill, “subject to inspection” before signing. This means that while you are accepting the furniture, you have not had time to look at it. If you find something defective later, immediately report it to the store. The store that sold you the furniture is responsible to you. Remember to keep a copy of the bill for your records.
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