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singasamurai

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singasamurai last won the day on September 6 2016

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About singasamurai

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  1. Can you let me know the selected ids in your post?

  2. Hi everyone Thank you for reading and also for the requests. I have tried to respond whenever I could. As the information is more than a year, please do remember to check the accuracy and also the updated prices. In anycase, just want to do a quick update. a) Renovation is still holding up well. All the LEDs lights are still working fine (touch wood) and no major issues that i can't live with yet. b) Bathroom fittings have some usual rust (even those supposedly stainless steel). There is some slight discolouring of the bathroom tiles but otherwise, everything else is fine. Anyway I realise that Hafary has somewhat limited tiles compared to some other shops. If i had my way, I would choose to overlay more interesting tiles. c) I also installed windows grills. As I had wanted a less obstructive view, I decided not to install the traditional aluminum grills. Neither did I like the so-called invisible grills. You can easily search the forum for those big companies as well as the reviews on their advantages and disadvantages. When I was doing my research about March this year, there wasn't much products to choose from. There was this guy who is doing the transparent XXXXX which is actually acrylic bars (instead of aluminum) and he very nicely came over to do some demonstration and also to take measurements for an estimated quote. The product was sturdy enough but frankly, I personally felt that some of the mechanisms are rather unrefined or still in the R&D stage. HIs business partner was very dedicated and meticulous in taking the measurements and pricing wise, although the guy said several times that he is definitely more expensive, it was actually cheaper than the other quote I received. It also seems cheaper based on the estimates I read from the forums. (mine is standard HDB). The other company that I called was Pang Giap. Actually if you been researching, more than 90% of the reviews are bad but I decided to give them a call. Scheduled a time and date for them to take measurements and provide a quote (complimentary) and did not receive any confirmation or response from them until the day before. I actually thought that they had forgotten about it. The quote came up to less than 1600 (exclude window yard) which was fairly okay. They have those slim aluminum grills that seems to offer the best of both worlds. In the end, I decided to go with Pang Giap (took a big risk) but the overall experience was okay. The guys completed the job (although they were late for 1hr+) and the product is still holding up well till today. No fuss but don't expect super good customer service i.e. you know those contractor uncles kind. Interestingly, the guy from the other company when informed of my decision told me over whatsapp specifcally not to provide any review of his company nor mention them on social media as they are a new company and people do not understand their products. I find this a little odd though cos since when a business has the right to stop prospective clients from posting their personal comments and reviews online. There were also some other minor nuggets that made me decided to take the risk and go with Pang Giap instead but that's my personal opinion. Objectively, I prefer Pang Giap's products despite their super negative online presence. (picture below) A friend of mine who recently bought a condo said that there is another option in the market called window restrictors. Seems pretty interesting but I do not know anything about it.
  3. Hi! I read your post and would like to know who are the IDs in your post. It would make my life so much easier who to engage for my new home.... thanks in advance!

  4. Hi, I like to know the IDs you have visited and checked for quotes listed a - f. Please help to advise. Thanks!

  5. Hi! As a first timer you have made my life muuch easier. Can I know who you contacted with in the end for the renovation?can u email me the contact at zubia.aman@Gmail.com

  6. Hi singasamurai, hope you are keeping well. Would you pls pm me the list of id that you have shortlisted and the one that you have engaged for the reno work. Thanks. 

  7. Hi pp Sorry for the somewhat late reply to some as I was quite busy for the past few weeks. And I only check the forum like once every week. In anycase, just interested to get feedback from those who did engage Diva's in the end. Can PM me if you wana to share. As I mentioned, he is not that cheap and not suitable for everyone. Will try to answer anymore requests as they come in. Cheers
  8. Hi alleniate ya..he was with another company back then..one of the famous ones..Personally I find services quite okay...although knowledge wise, if you are into those thematic kind i.e retro, industrial etc, he is not exactly there. I find that he is better with discussing ideas not via themes but through the actual works. If looking for those, my choice 2 and 3 are okay but again, they are not cheap. If I were to put it down into words, he is better at those modern kind. Workmanship wise, this team of carpenters can be improved la...Not the best, but no major problems as well. but responsible and not those blame pushing or MIA kind of ID/contractor. Hope u managed to find a good one to your liking :-)
  9. Hi The 50% refers to the rest of the entire payment? Isn't it supposed to be staggered? Carpentry work has not even started. and always withhold the last 5% until you are generally satisfied. For most IDs, they will only commence work when the one is satisfied with the drawings. There is no exact standard practice cos it varies from firm to firm and IDs to IDs. Without knowing more details, my suggestion is don't pay first especially not everything. Just some thoughts..you may wish to listen or consult more opinions before making a more informed decision yourself. Cheers.
  10. Dear all Anyway, just a simple update. Work is now completed and once I am satisfied, I will sign the handover form and pay the last payment. I took the handover form back home and told him I and the Mrs will make one more check. If okay, will hand him the cheque for final payment. The last part was a little more eventful and that's when his strengths and weakness show. Although I told him, I will have a 5.1 system and I might want to use my amplifier someday, he actually overlooked it. He also admitted that he is not familiar with the audio system. So ended up, there is no space to put the sub-woofer. Instinctively, I also know that there is no available solutions in the market for under 2.5-3k which is way beyond the amount I spent for my simple passive home theatre system. And to re-use the amplifier at home was not an option since the TV console built was bad on standard measurement i.e. 10 inch which does not fit a fair variety of dedicated amplifiers. That's his weakness; audio configuration wise etc, he is not familiar at all. For those who wants those cabling under false ceiling etc, please inform in advance and ask him consult a professional. And for the touching up, I made his workers and painters come down at least 2 more times to do the touching up on some paint and carpentry job. I don't think his painter is superb and I have seen better ones . The other thing I wasn't really satisfied is the chemical washing etc. They washed too early and frankly, some of the foreign workers have a slightly different standard of what is meant by clean compared to us. His strengths. He was actually honest about his mistake and during one of my referrals to my friend, I learnt that he actually told my friend that he made that mistake and there was no attempt to cover up. I spent some time going through Aldephi and he was prepared to pay me back a soundbar but I really don't like the sound. So in the end, I gave him an easy way out. Ask a professional audio-visual guy, extend the subwoofer cable using better cables and run it on the top of the skirting and to repaint the PVC trunking to match the colour of the skirting. He also offered to wall mount all the existing speakers onto the feature wall. The cost was about 250+ cos I managed to steal a glance at the invoice that was billed to him. I paid nothing. The guys were from Anson Audio in Adelphi. I paid nothing. Unlike some horror stories that you read, no pushing of blame to the owners and he admitted upfront that it was his fault. Some other owners might choose the 3k option and if really pursue, I guess he also lan lan but I thought, no point la...Since my original system isn't worth that much anyway. But it was a good buy; a simple passive all in 1 home theatre that is worth much more than what it costs. Sony N7100. Obsolete model no longer on sale in SG though. There are still some minor defects in the carpentry side but everything else was okay. No prefect but acceptable to me. So will text him to make the necessary ratifications. So that's it...and as said, I earn no commission. Each IDs has its pros and cons. Out of the few I reviewed, I stand by my choice that I would still recommend the first 3. I am still generally satisfied. However, he is not for everyone. Somebody looking into something more unique e.g. oriental or thematic kind of designer should go for Choice 2 or 3 in my earlier reviews instead. Happy renovating :-)
  11. Hi all Please see summary of pros and cons below (of my ID from Diva's) as well as some of the final work. There are still touch ups to be done and I have not paid the final amount yet. No rush from him as well and I probably do so after mid May or closer to June. Hope this post has been helpful to people. Pros: Diva's HS Lim is quite proactive and I have good vibes with him. He will give regular updates via whatsapp and for the delivery of items like hob and hood etc (those that need to be installed including air-con), you just give him the invoice and he will do the rest. Things are on schedule and nothing like the horror stories that you read about long delays, cannot find ID etc. He is quite responsive. He is a Malaysian so he sort of go back home after work everyday. Even when I text him, he will respond with a call thur his Malaysian number if there is a need to. Whatsapp etc, no problem. But he doesn't respond to emails...even though he reads them. He is not the sort of ID to bring you to lighting shop cos the prices are usually marked up even after the so-called "discount". The shop that I went to was recommended by one of his ex customers and its really quite cheap with on-site warranty. He even whatsapp a list of defects that were caused by his workers and he marked them down saying that he will rectify them which he did. I generally like his designs. And he was one of the few who bothered to turn up on site during the first meeting so that we don't discuss in a vacuum or based on the floor plan alone. And basic space planning is part of every ID service along withe initial quotation. (no need to pay extra or give deposit but he was the only one who gave me a draft lighting plan as well) No such thing as sudden need to top u or lots of hidden costs. The only things I mentioned that need to pay in cash are the sort of stuff that IDs don't include as part of their quote i.e. tiles for the fridge base etc which doesn't cost much. Cons As mentioned, while he can read and write English, he is actually more proficient in Chinese and some Malay. So sometimes, need time to explain certain ideas and concepts to him. His design are mostly the modern/contemporary or somewhat Scandinavian or rustic kind...He is not the sort of IDs that you throw or discuss in depth themes like industrial, retro etc which I personally think are themes he is not familiar with designing. He also tends to be more on the practical side of design than merely aesthetics; not sure if you know what i mean but there are some designers who has those kind of designer flair; the arty kind...discuss all sorts of themes then the whole house super designer but lacks some practical sense... As with all IDs, he will say No or counter propose to some of your concepts. It is up to the vibes. I find that he can negotiate and he will try to explain why certain concepts are not practical or cannot be done. If you agree then follow lo. For me , I mentioned that I want my study table height to be higher than the norm and while he don't really agree and tried to disccourage, i insist and he followed lor...Quite cordial; not the argumentative kind...For others, I accepted his explanation. He is also upfront and told me some owners don't like him cos he sometimess reject their ideas initially. But I have tons of ideas; so we negotiate and he sort of got what I want during the first and second set of discussions so we only need to amend the 3D drawings once. Most of his customers are word or mouth or referrals. The workmanship is not perfect and he will tell you upfront but its good materials and more than acceptable. Not the cheap white PVC kind. All internal coloured and Blum hinges kind. He did told me that there is actually another group of carpenters whose workmanship are better but they are very slow and for the same amount of work, they will take at least twice the time so some house owners don't like. So up to you la. I just went to the house and listed out several things that they have to touch up. He will do his own round of checks subsequently but I prefer to make a check first since I have time. No worries, touch up is part of his service. He won't ask you to top up cash for extra tiles needed or extra wood needed. And some stuff, he throw in FOC (as explained in the write ups) depending on your rapport la. And for me, he install certain bathroom items FOC even through they are not exactly considered accessories. And yes, there are defintely better workmanship in terms of carpentry out there. And the painter although a nice guy (one man show), isn't really good in my opinion and needs to touch up several items. The rest like tiler, plumber, the guys who did the false ceiling are all okay. His prices are not the cheapest and the company charge GST! But then again, it is not the super expensive or unreasonable kind and there is no hidden cost as what a lot of forum contributors complained. GST also paid to govt and technically, they are supposed to charge. However, his electrical cost is not cheap i.e. $35 per LED point. So if you do a lot of re-wiring data points etc, it will ended up being more expensive than the usual 1-3k. I exceed slightly 3-3.5k. He is not the fastest in terms of paperwork though; submission of quote min 1 week (busy period. he told me can reach to 2 weeks). But once work started, it is pretty fast and on track. For me, by first week, hacking done, electrical points re-wired, air-con trunking done and city gas installation done with extended wiring cabling done. All that within 1 week. In fact, by week 6, I am almost 80%-90% completed and now is week 7, it is mostly touch up work and cleaning and by end of week 8, if everyone okay, can hand over. Latest is by week 9. His original estimate was 6 weeks plus which is quite accurate. (part of the delay was due to the delay in a shipment of the oven and wine cooler which was delayed by 1 week plus) So far, I am quite happy with the progress and stuff. No major complains. As for HDB registration, don't worry. As explained earlier, they just completed their minimum period of 1 year and probably is safer to wait for a little while more before attempting to register with HDB in order to apply for permits under the Diva's brand instead of the parent company. This is a HDB ruling. I received the proper approvals and documentation before starting work. I have no issues at least from HS Lim or Diva's side and certainly not from HDB. so no need to worry about renovation works being carried out by a non-licensed contractor which is a big no no. (If hacking is required, double check if those walls can indeed be hack; you hack wrongly, both you and the ID will kana hefty fines; on the floor plan, the thick black lines are those that cannot touch; the rest generally all okay) They are registered under their parent company but is separate in terms of the workers they used and also the staff. (Different brand name) For the study, can ignore the furniture below the table. Its supposed to be at the dining area.
  12. Hi Reno is almost completed and now is the touch up stage. Last week, ID was away cos the company was on some sort of off. So, no work was done. Although ID told me that they already have done the cleaning, I went to make a check and basically told them a lot of areas still not clean. And then gave them a list of items to touch up. He came down on Saturday and went through the list with me. Informed that by end of the week, will install my oven and wine cooler and will do the necessary touch up. And also to get the workers to clean the place again. Spent the whole of last Saturday waiting for the deliveries of some furniture. Will go over the long weekend to make another check and try to clear any final touch-ups before the final handover. Then I probably do a quick summary of the pros and cons and maybe some pictures. In the meantime, here are some 3D pictures. Some items like sofa etc are not very accurate though. Note: Oh ya. Somebody asked me if Diva's is HDB registered. Although I mentioned previously, I thought I should provided a little more information here. The renovation permit is applied and issued to Diva's parent company as technically, they are under the parent company in name until they are allowed to apply for registration with HDB and start applying for permits under their Diva's brand. For now, they will still have to submit the necessary documentation for approval and HDB will send both the house owner and the contractors a copy of the approval letter with the stated dates for any demolition works (if any). It just like Cold Storage, 7-11 etc all under the same company but different management and style. The permit was issued to Kiwie Renovation Contractor (HDB Registration No: HB-02-0204H) To be frank, when I checked, this parent company itself isn't that good and has kana some demerit points before. But as i mentioned in my write-up, the person handling your project is just as important as the company. I was told that Diva's will probably have to wait a little longer (or fulfill some minimum period) before they can register and start issuing permits (I checked the HDB website; these companies need to do Business for a minimum period of 1 yr and also submit some invoices of at least a certain amount before they can apply: http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10324p.nsf/w/RenoCntrctrReno?OpenDocument ) So ya, legality wise, no problem. Completely legal and can only start reno when HDB issues the approval letter which would be in hard copy. so ya, cos I also did my checks before signing and asked him about it. After weighing everything, I still decided to go ahead cos of the other reasons stated. And most importantly, it is still HDB registered since I also won't want to risk a non HDB registered contractor/ID. In any case, I thought, this Diva's is now in the stage of building up their brand so they can be registered with HDB on their own, so any public or major complaints they sure jialat and my guess is they probably won't try to risk it if they can. And they are not like a 1-2 month company. They have been here since late 2013/Jan 2014 I think so not those fly by night. Hope this clarifies further to what I mentioned previously.
  13. Hi all Thanks for reading. I have replied to all requests for the list. Anyway, just some quick updates. This is the 4/5th week since the start of renovation. Work started for installation of carpentry on 2nd April and by 8th April, it was almost completed less one of the Kompacplus materials for the master bathroom. They have finished installing the ones for the kitchen. Fair amount of touch-up work needs to be done although the general installation is almost completed. On 7th April, ID installed all the necessary lightings including the ceiling fans. I paid a visit in the evening. Things seems to be in order generally. Quite satisfied with the work progress since the majority of the work is almost done. ID told me that next week, the company is on some sort of "off" so he will do all the necessary touching-up before doing a general cleaning (the usual chemical wash and stuff) before asking me to inspect. Final works should be done latest by month end but there is relatively little left to do i.e. 80% completed. So not bad..Progressing well with little intervention on my end. They will be installing the bathroom accessories etc tomorrow. So I will have to go down for a short while during lunch hour to give some quick instructions. I also noticed that they have installed the magnetic door knob behind the main door FOC. Small cost but oh well..still some savings. And by right, he told me the toilet accessories does not include the installation of the stand-alone cabinet with basin (those small type ) at the common bathroom but he told me he will do it for me. (No mention of cost so far :-) ) As for the carpentry, I haven't really check in detail but all are internal coloured PVC with soft closing including the use of Blum for all kitchen cabinets and dish rack For the outside cabinets etc, its soft closing but no Blum and out of the three hinges, they used two normal ones and one as the soft closing type. (Update: 10th April 2015 2pm: Went to the house for 20minutes during lunch hour to make a quick check on the installation of the accessories. Realized that the hinges are in fact Blum. The words are so small that I didn't see carefully. The rest of the infor is accurate. Checked with ID. He said something to the effect of what my friend said. If all three or four hinges are those Blum soft-closing type, the cabinets becomes a little hard to close. So for small cabinets outside, out of three hinges he would used one Blum with soft closing (there is some sort of knob on the hinge itself); for bigger cabinets involving four hinges, he would use two. I know what he meant but hard to describe. You know when you close but due to the weight of the cabinet's door, it ended up being difficult to close fully or too slowly if too many Blum hinges are used for that single door. ) It does the job I guess and probably some cost savings on that part for them. (personally I am fine) I checked with a friend who dropped by and he said that its okay cos for his, they used all 3 soft closing types of hinges but ended up, the door seems like a too "rigid" and not easy to operate. Mine works and is easier to operate. (Those were his words not mine so not exactly sure what he meant) But his renovation costs almost 60k almost twice mine so different. But still need to highlight in case for forum readers to note. Still soft-closing, and it works...But not all the outside hinges are those soft closing types with the exception of the kitchen area. By the way, I said earlier that Kompacplus, both the direct seller and most IDs can sell for 120 psf although some may quote 140-160. But that day, I was helping a colleague to take a look at his quote and the firm (box ID or something) actually quote 75-85 bucks psf for Kompacplus. I told him to double check cos that's the cheapest I came across even in the forums. That's was like the price they charged when they first started (i.e. before becoming famous). You can easily google for more information on the material via their website. But if so, then its really cheap for Kompacplus; like solid surface price but much better than solid surface. (just for information) I also read in another forum post that deposit is required before they do space planning. Actually not really. All the IDs I went to proposed some basic forms of space planning. No charge or deposit is required. That's their "service". 3D pictures yes...that would usually requires deposit or when the contract is signed. Some IDs charge for those design services. It depends. All the IDs and contractors I went to did it FOC. Even if embedded in the cost somewhere, it cannot be like 1-2k for design services or consultation for decoration etc. Will probably post some pictures of the more complete product and the 3d pictures once things are more or less comfortable less the cleaning and some touching up.
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