What Is The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) Scheme In Singapore & How Much Is It?


What Is The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) Scheme In Singapore & How Much Is It?

June 27, 2024

Key Takeaways

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in Singapore targets HDB flats built up to 1986, providing essential maintenance and optional upgrades. Essential works are fully funded by the government, while optional works are heavily subsidized, with residents co-paying a small portion. The EASE program enhances safety for elderly residents. Preparation and temporary relocation might be necessary during renovations. HIP ensures older flats remain safe, functional, and comfortable.

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) in Singapore is a crucial initiative by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to enhance the living conditions of residents in older HDB flats.

Since its introduction in 2007, HIP has provided essential maintenance and improvement works to address common age-related deterioration in public housing estates. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of what the HIP scheme entails, who is eligible, what improvements are covered, and the financial implications for residents.

What Is the Home Improvement Programme (HIP)?

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is a government initiative designed to help residents of older HDB flats in Singapore maintain and enhance their living spaces.

As buildings age, they require necessary maintenance and safety upgrades to ensure they remain safe, functional, and comfortable for their occupants. HIP targets flats built up to 1986 that have yet to undergo major upgrades.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for HIP, an HDB block must be at least 30 years old. Blocks are prioritised based on their age and the extent of repairs needed.

Once a block is selected, at least 75% of the eligible Singaporean households within the block must vote in favour of undergoing the HIP. It’s important to note that while Permanent Residents (PR) can benefit from the upgrades, they do not have voting rights in this decision-making process.

Voting Process

HDB conducts a poll among the residents of the selected blocks. The implementation of HIP depends on the majority vote — the works will only commence if there is more than 75% support from the voting households. This democratic approach ensures that the improvements align with the residents’ desires and needs.

Key Components of the HIP Scheme

The HIP scheme is divided into two main components: Essential Works and Optional Works, with an additional component called the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) for eligible elderly residents.

Essential Works

Essential works are critical for ensuring ageing flats’ structural integrity and safety. These include:

  • Repair of spalling concrete
  • Replacement of pipe sockets that are prone to leakage
  • Upgrading of waste and soil discharge stacks to prevent blockages and leaks

These works are necessary to address the wear and tear caused by the buildings’ age, ensuring that the flats remain safe and livable.

Optional Works

Optional works allow residents to choose additional improvements that enhance comfort and functionality but are not critical to the structural integrity of the flats. These include:

  • Replacement of entrance doors and gates for enhanced security
  • Upgrading of toilets/bathrooms to modern standards
  • Installation of new refuse chute hoppers

Residents can opt-in for these works, and they are partially subsidised. Based on their flat type, residents pay a fraction of the total cost.

EASE (Enhancement for Active Seniors)

The EASE programme is a supplementary component of HIP aimed at improving the mobility and safety of elderly residents within their homes. Under EASE, residents can opt for the installation of elder-friendly fittings such as:

  • Slip-resistant tiles in bathrooms
  • Grab bars in bathrooms and other key areas of the flat
  • Ramps at the entrance of the flat and within the flat to facilitate movement for those with mobility issues

This component is optional and can be applied even if the flat has not been selected for HIP, provided the resident meets the age and medical criteria.

Costs Associated with HIP

Participating in the Home Improvement Programme (HIP) incurs certain costs, which vary depending on the type of work undertaken — essential, optional, or EASE. Understanding these costs is crucial for residents to make informed decisions about their participation in the scheme.

Breakdown of Costs

Essential Works

The government fully funds essential works for all flat types, meaning there is no direct cost to the residents for these critical repairs and upgrades. This ensures that all eligible flats can receive necessary maintenance without putting a financial burden on the residents.

Optional Works

The costs for optional works vary and are subsidised significantly by the government. Residents are required to co-pay a portion of the costs, which depends on the type of their flat:

  • 3-room flats and smaller: Residents pay 5% of the cost.
  • 4-room flats: Residents pay 7.5% of the cost.
  • 5-room flats and executive flats: Residents pay 10% and 12.5% of the cost, respectively.

EASE Works

For the EASE works, the co-payment amounts are similarly structured to encourage participation by those in need, particularly the elderly, who benefit most from these enhancements. The government provides substantial subsidies to keep the resident’s share affordable, ensuring that financial constraints do not prevent the elderly from making their homes safer.

Payment Assistance

Further assistance schemes are available for residents who may find the co-payment challenging. These schemes are designed to ensure that no eligible household is left out due to financial difficulties. Residents can apply for additional financial help through various HDB schemes that provide financial relief to lower-income families.

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Preparation for HIP Renovations

Preparing for renovation works under the Home Improvement Programme is crucial for minimising disruption and protecting personal property. Residents can take several steps to ensure their homes are ready for the work.

Protecting Valuables

Before the commencement of any renovation works, it is advisable for residents to store valuable items, such as jewellery and important documents, in a secure location. To prevent dust and debris damage, cover furniture and electronics with protective sheets.

Home Preparation Tips

Remove pictures, mirrors, and other hanging items from walls to prevent damage during the work. Ensure workers have clear access to renovation areas, which might involve temporarily rearranging furniture.

Temporary Living Arrangements

The renovation process under HIP can be invasive and temporarily disrupt daily life. Residents may need to consider alternative living arrangements, especially during major works like toilet upgrades.

Options for Temporary Relocation

Residents might consider staying with relatives for temporary relocation to ensure comfort during the renovation period. This can provide a cost-effective solution.

For those who prefer privacy, renting short-term accommodation such as a hotel or an Airbnb may be a viable option.

Managing Day-to-Day Living

For those who choose to stay in their homes during the renovations, planning for limited access to facilities is important. For instance, arranging access to alternative sanitary facilities in advance is crucial if toilets are being renovated. HDB may provide portable toilets in some cases, but having a pre-arranged plan is always beneficial.

Duration of HIP Renovations

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) involves various works that can take a long time to complete, depending on the scale and type of renovations undertaken.

General Timeline for Renovation Works

Essential Works

The essential maintenance works generally take about ten business days to complete. This timeframe can be extended depending on the condition of the building and the specific repairs required. Essential works are prioritised to minimise disruption and ensure the safety and integrity of the living environment.

Optional and EASE Works

Optional and EASE works can vary in duration. Typically, these works will extend the renovation period by several days. The exact time will depend on the nature of the upgrades chosen and the configuration of the individual flats. For instance, complete toilet overhauls are more time-consuming than simpler upgrades like installing new doors.

Factors Affecting Renovation Duration

Several factors can influence the duration of HIP renovations:

  • Size and Layout of the Flat: Larger flats or those with more complex layouts may take longer to renovate.
  • Type of Renovations Selected: More extensive optional upgrades require additional time.
  • Weather Conditions: Adverse weather can delay outdoor work, impacting overall timelines.

Enhancing Your HDB Flat Through HIP

The Home Improvement Programme (HIP) is a significant initiative by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) that contributes to the longevity and comfort of HDB flats in Singapore. By participating in HIP, residents ensure that their homes remain safe and functional and have the opportunity to enhance their living spaces according to their needs and preferences.

Benefits of Participating in HIP

Through essential and optional works, flats are kept up-to-date with the latest safety standards and comfort features. Additionally, upgrades and improvements can potentially increase the flats’ market value.

Collective participation in HIP can enhance the aesthetics and functionality of entire HDB blocks or estates.

Encouragement to Participate

Residents are encouraged to take full advantage of the scheme when their blocks are selected for HIP. Engaging in the process from voting to completion ensures that the renovations reflect the community’s needs and contribute to a better living environment for everyone involved.

HIP is more than just a renovation project; it is an investment in the future of Singapore’s public housing, ensuring that it remains a comfortable and desirable place to live for generations to come.

Ready to Improve Your Home? Explore Financing Options

While the HIP can significantly improve your living space, managing the financial aspect of renovations can be challenging. At Credit Thirty3, we understand the importance of making your home the best. That’s why we offer flexible loan solutions to help you finance your home improvement needs. Whether you’re looking at essential upgrades or additional enhancements through HIP, our loans are designed to make your renovation journey smooth and stress-free. Apply now and take the first step towards transforming your home with us.