Defect inspection in new developments

The purchase of a home is probably the largest single investment you will ever make. Yet, it is extremely rare to come across a house that is free of defects because the various works involved in the construction of a house depend on the workmanship of the tradesmen executing the works and the level of quality control that they adopt.

It is therefore pertinent for you to learn as much as you can about the condition of your house, so that you can minimise unpleasant surprises during your renovation and subsequent residence in the house. Doing a thorough inspection prior to carrying out renovation works also offers the opportunity to repair defects which would otherwise be harder and costlier to rectify after the completion of renovation works. Such defects include hollow tiles (which need to be rectified before the cabinets, shelves and wardrobes are installed on the floor) and water seepage in the ceiling (which needs to be resolved before the erection of false ceilings below the bare ceiling).

As you enter your newly completed house for the first time, you are likely to be overwhelmed by the thousand and one things that you need to check for defects, and the niggling worry that you might overlook some critical defects which would come back to haunt you after you move into the house. In the sections below, we have listed some of the major concerns of homeowners when it comes to checking for defects in their new houses.


What are the areas in the house to look out for?

At one glance, there are indeed numerous items to check; hence, the risk of overlooking certain defects especially if you are not trained to do such inspections. To inspect in a systematic way, we typically categorise the items into seven main groups:

- Floors;

- Internal Walls;

- Ceiling;

- Doors;

- Windows;

- Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) fittings, e.g. power point, switches, air-con units, taps, etc;

- Other components, e.g. wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, shoe racks, staircase railings, etc.

Below are some common defects which you would want to avoid missing out during your checks:

















How do we tell whether an item is defective?

Then, there is the question of what constitutes a defect. For example,

- What is level of inconsistency in the flooring tonality before it is deemed a defect?

- What is the acceptable level of brush marks and unevenness on a plastered wall?

- What is the acceptable gap width between a door leaf and the door frame, so that it is not considered a defect?

To the untrained eye, what appears to be a defect may not turn out to be one by industry standards. The converse is also true.


Fret not. Help is available!

One of the industry's trusted & preferred partners for ID & renovation solutions conducts professional home inspection to identify defects / unacceptable workmanship finishes in the house. Their inspections are conducted by experienced and qualified inspectors, based on BCA's yardstick for measuring workmanship quality, to ensure that your investment is protected.

Some of the equipment they use:








Typically, their scope of services includes:

- Conducting 1st round of defects check upon key collection by owner;

- Assist the owner to mark out defects, prepare and submit defects checklist to developer;

- Run through the list of defects with developer's representative in 2nd appointment;

- Conducting a re-check (after developer has finished all rectification works) to ensure that all defects have been rectified.

Their professional fees are around $500 for a home less than 1,500 sq ft. Depending on other considerations, such as the size of the house and the number of re-checks required by the homeowners, the fees may vary accordingly.


Is it very difficult for me to inspect my house for defects on my own?

Many homeowners have this misconception that defects check only cover architectural defects which are visible, e.g. stains, cracks, scratches, dents, etc. This is why home owners sometimes prefer to check the house by themselves or request their property agents (who are not trained) to check for them.

However, a check based solely on architectural defects is incomplete. In addition to these architectural defects, a complete inspection would also cover other aspects, e.g. the proper functionality of all M&E fittings and fixtures, the proper routing of all pipes, conduits and trunkings in the house, etc. These defects are harder to identify just by visual observation and would require a trained personnel to carry out the checks.


How to deal with a defect in my new home after moving in?

Now that your house has been inspected for defects and all the defects have been rectified to your satisfaction, you happily move into your new residence. But what happens if new defects subsequently surface after you have moved in?

Under the Sale & Purchase (S&P) Agreement signed with your developer, your developer has certain obligations to fulfil when defects are detected within the Defects Liability Period (DLP). You too, have a part to play in ensuring that the defect rectification process proceeds smoothly. The key steps that you can adopt in the defect rectification process are:

- Within the Defects Liability Period (DLP), the developer is responsible for any defect that occurs in the unit, the housing project and the common property;

- Any such defects due to defective workmanship or materials, or to the unit, the housing project or the common property not having been constructed in accordance with the specifications in the S&P Agreement, shall be made good by the developer;

- Such defects must be made good by the developer at his own cost and expense within one month of having received a written notice from the homeowner; 

- If the defects are not made good, the purchaser may notify, by sending a Notice of Intent to the developer, of his own intention to carry out the rectification work, furnishing its estimated cost and giving the developer another opportunity to carry out the rectification within 14 days from the date of the Notice of Intent;

- If the developer fails to rectify the defects after the specified time in the Notice of Intent, the purchaser may proceed to rectify the defects by engaging his own workmen and recover the cost from the developer. Such costs may be deducted from the sum held by the Singapore Academy of Law as stakeholder for the developer.

We hope this article has provided some insights as well as allayed some concerns that you might have as a homeowner. After all, home is where the heart is. So let's get the first step towards building your dream home right by doing a proper defects check in your house.



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Carol Liu
Associate Group Director
CEA Licence No.:
L3008022J / R010199D
+(65) 8383 4898