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  1. Hi all I definitely learnt a lot from this forum and I some friends working in the construction industry hence they taught me many tips to save money in the renovation process. My semi finished living room Many of my friends has since asked me how to reduce their renovation costs and here is to share my whole journey. I also included post-reno stuff to save some headache which I faced being a first time home owner. Tips to reduce renovation costs. 1) Use a contractor instead of designer if you can. By doing this, you save at least 30% of your costs. Designer act as middleman between you and the contractor. Of cos, good designers faciliate the reno process, but if you want to save cost, faciliate it yourself. 2) Know your design to the details. If you say, you want an industrial loft theme, then you dont know what you are talking about and leave your hands to slaughter fest. You need to say, I want a brick wall, 2.4m x 1.8m, done using beige white brick craft stones. I want a industrial light, with 3 light heads, warm colour at this exact position. You get the drift. If you cannot spell details like this, you open for either contractor or designer slaughter fest, where they intro you things that make them the most money. If you can, then you dont need a desiger. Google images or flip magazine, then find exactly what you want, component by component, wall by wall. 3) Pick a reliable contractor not the cheapest one. No brainer i hope. But here are some tips. Years in service - You want a reno firm to be at least a few years, not one that is set up 1 month ago. How long is that few years? You decide. Kiasu can take 8yrs onwards. Check here - hdb registered contractors You can also check if they violate reno rules and got demerit points Chemistry - if you dont like each other, you get ****. Reach and return call - If he return miss calls, and easy to reach, you know he can be reach to retify your post reno problems. See finished goods - Good and reliable contractors are confident of their work. Ask to see their finished or almost finished homes. The good ones ask you faster come, the shady ones will say hard to arrange for viewing. Good contractors got a few jobs on-going, there is no such thing as hard to arrange. When viewing, check workmanship of tiles. It should be aligned very straight. Check workmanship of wardrobe, open and close their drawers. Questionable Expo interior designer shows - A good contractor once told me, he do a good job, then he get referrals and referrals, no need any advertising. Food for your own thought. 4) Price reference check Here is my market research as a price reference. If you are paying significantly more, then you kena chop. Simple as that. Tiles Laying of tiles for my 4room BTO, 3 rooms plus living room and walkway. 8K with tiles costing $4 per sq foot. (slightly high but luckily i got good workmanship) Tiles supplier Harfary Soon Bee Huat lian seng hin - Defu lane also have a few smaller ones for you to explore. Carpentry Kitchen - $120 per foot run Sliding wardrobe - $230 per foot run Casement wardrobe - $210 per foot run Craftstone for brickwalls - $78 per box. Harfary sells at $99 per box. Get from malaysia JB even cheaper at ard $40 SGD or so. Electrical - $8- $10 per point installed. Meaning 1 light source $10. Sanitary Items suppliers - Basin, taps, etc Universal Union Heritage Amazon - Kraus sinks (they ship to singapore) Hoe kee - (a bit ex, but can go there just to see and compare) Tabletop - Solid surface : $70 per foot Granite - $85 - $110 iquartz- $120 Doors supplier Yontat - Bad attitude, but some doors still cheap. Tip: They sell to contractors cheap, so pick your door, as your contractor to install for you and ask your contractor to buy the door for you. If you buy and ask them install, then kena chop a bit. Canwin Wood products trading - They dont have installers, so you need a contractor that can install. Price not bad. Best industrial pte Ltd - Many doors for viewing, good service. All located at Eunos Avenue. If driving, visit all 3 shops at once and decide. Don't need to kena chopped by those door retailers or HDB. HDB doors very ex by the way. 5) Air Conditioning This should be done right after your floors are done and before your carpentry because of the trucking cable. Make sure your select inverter models, otherwise you pay alot. Think you whether you need system 2,3 or 4. Killer qn: do you need air con in living room? Choose a reliable air-con contractor or provider. Use at least 1/2" of Amaflex insulation. Insulation is to prevent sweating of air-con. Air con sweating is a very big headache. 5) UseTaobao (Sea freight to ship lights and bulky items like chairs) Ard 1 mth ETA Lights - Save at least 50% or more Taobao. Most sg shops I went all bring in China lights, so buy them yourselves. Try to avoid Balestier road shops if you dont want to get chopped. See models from there, get elsewhere. Chairs - Save at least 50% or more Aesthetics accessories like clock, ornaments all can get from taobao and ship them over. Post Renovation Money Saving Tips 1) Electrical appliances Consolidate all your purchases, noting all the model numbers. Then go bargain at these shops. Parisilk Goh Bee Huat Goh Sin Huat Woodlands domestic electrical pte ltd You can also negotiate on prices with Courts, Harvey Norman, Best Denki. Then use card like the Amex to get 5% cash rebate. Or your preferred credit card. 2) Home broadband and Netflix M1 fiberbroad band. - I chose M1 because it is cheaper. at $39 per month. Have been with them for few weeks now and from a Punggol perspective, my connection is stable, so far no downtime. Read my review a few posts down. Netflix I also subscribed to netflix for my new home after being recommended by forummers. Very shiok. For less than $10 bucks, can watch unlimited shows and movies. Got many shows and dramas, including orange is the new black, which me and wifey is watching now. you can read this netflix setup guide for assistance. simple to follow. 3) Bomb shelter shelves I followed the recommendation of fellow forummers and took a look see at the Toyogo. Those are made of plastics and good enough for my usage. they cost only $69 for 4 tier and is quite sturdy. Metal ones are more costly so I did not go with that option. *** To be continued ***
  2. Hi, I want to achieve brick wall look for one of my wall in the living room (7100mm). Went to one of the ID and he quote me appx $7000 for that 7100mm wall. I thought it may cost 2K-3K. =/ I have no confidence in DIY as well as I read a few that some bricks may fall. so i wanna leave it to the experienced in the industry. But 7K is really overpriced and I am really on a tight budget. If you or anyone have a better quote, kindly reply/ pm me to share pls! Thank you!