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Hi everyone out there, a short introduction of myself. I am a contractor for many years and retired recently. I will like to share my experiences and knowledge to help our fellow renovators as I have plentiful of time but need to keep myself occupied

topic 1

ID or contractor?

- ID and contractor do things very differently. basically, ID will "bao ga liao" to buy lightings, fixtures, furniture etc. contractor will only provide you with a rough idea but not nice nice 3D pictures

- If you are someone who are tied up with work, cant take leave whenever you want. you should go for an ID for more time-saving.

- Contractor is usually cheaper (But that doesnt mean all, as some ID charge real cheap) however more time-consuming and usually you will need to do some research and have some ideas on the things you want.

During the renovation process, both ID and contractor basically do the same things like supervising, arranging works etc. The major difference is when deciding on the design etc. Whichever chosen, the most important is that you have to be comfortable talking to the ID/contractor.

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Join 46,923 satisfied homeowners who used renotalk quotation service to find their contractor at better rates. Get an estimated quotation

herehere:Topic 2

Finding/ Comparing Quotes

This is the part where the first major decision and the most important decision to be made during the renovation. And usually it is always tiring and time-consuming.

- It is best to compare both ID and contractor price to have a feel of what the price difference is like

- The number of quotes you are going to find solely depends on your personal preference. What I reccomend is that, eg, you are going for an ID, do look for 3-5 quotes for comparison. Try not to go beyond 10 as it will usually make you confused over their suggestions on materials design. And at the end of the day you dont know which is more exp or which is cheaper.

- Different companies have different ways to type out a quote. Usually we(contractors) will try to make the quote differently as it will make you difficult to compare.

- This first step of all the quotes comparison is to have all of them carries similar items at least 85%. This will make your comparing much much easier

Topic 3

Going through a quote

Alot of people asked about quotes like eg. Is this quote detailed enough? Is there anything missing on the quote? is this quote expensive? To have a detailed quote, there are so many things to look out for. During my days as a contractor, ive heard of same-trade friends trying to play with words or leave out some details to make more profits when they ask customer to top up when they ask for this or that.

I will extract a quote which i find in RT through here as an example:

(This should be a HDB new house as there is no hacking involved)

1. Supply labor & tiles to lay 641sqft homogenous tiles for 3 bedrooms,

Passageway, suggestion study, Living & Dining (Not more than $3.20 tiles)

641sqft x $8.00 per sqft $5128.00

- Does the $3.20 includes GST? So to mean if i choose a tile priced at $3.20 before gst is it within the quote?

- 641 sqft will be fixed or subject to changes? (Usually no changes but since the quote is real exact better to play safe)

- Size of the tiles? 60x60cm or can go any bigger?

- Are we able to choose tiles from any supplier or only specific ones? (please take note that tiles supplier give rebates to contractor)

- In any case if you choose another kind of tile for any of the areas will there be extra charges?

2. Supply labor & tiles to run 260ft homogenous tiles skirting 3 bedrooms,

Passageway, suggestion study, Living & Dining 260ft x $6.00 per ft $1560.00

-Same thing, is 260ft fixed or still subject to changes? (Maybe if there is some calculation mistake or if the designer forgot to count in one part meaning pr ft is $6?. therefore is better to check)

3. Supply haulage, clear debris, cement, sand, W1 and delivery of material $850.00

- Usually you can check this price when you call the debris hotline at the notice on the lift area. so the price is usually more or less there

4. Supply labor to construct kitchen base, washing machine base $450.00

-Tiles is it included? will you get the tiles directly from the developer or building management?

5. Supply labor to construct L-box @ Living area 48.5ft x $13/- per ft $630.50

- how wide is the Lbox? The common sizes are 12", 16" or 18". The wider it gets, the more exp it goes. So better to check for the size quoted

6. Supply labor to construct false ceiling @ Dining area & suggestion study

214sqft x $4/- per sqft $856.00

- False ceiling is quite straight forward. In this case it is only the sqft whether it is fixed or etc.

7. Supply labor to install 2 units of instant water heater @ 2 toilets

$60/- per unit x 2 unit $120.00

- Does it include the heater pt as well?(usually the common bathroom does not have any heater pt as new HDB comes in hot and cold pipes).

- If there is existing heater pt, Does it include the connection of the wiring?

8. Supply labor to install 2 sets spray gun @ 2 toilets $50/- per set x 2 sets $100.00

- Nil

9. Supply labor to connect kitchen sink tap $90.00

- Nil

10. Supply labor to dismantle the existing sink & connect install sink & tap @ common toilet $120.00

-Nil

11. Supply & install 10mm thick clear glass temper glass divider @ Master toilet $250.00

- Length of it?

12. Supply & install L-shape power coated aluminum Acrylic sliding door @ common toilet $580.00

- Can we have designs or plain colour only?

- Do take a look at the samples first for the colours provided

13. Supply & install L6ft x 8ft clear mirror @ Dining area wall (with false ceiling) $960.00

48sqft x $20/- per sqft = $960.00 (option 1)

- how many piece does it cut into?

- Framed or framless?

14. Supply & install L6ft x 8.5ft clear mirror @ Dining area wall (w/o false ceiling)

51sqft x $20/- per sqft = $1020.00 (option 2) $1020.00

- As above

15. Supply & install L6ft x 8ft grey mirror @ Dining area wall (with false ceiling)

48sqft x $28/- per sqft = $1344.00 (option 1) $1344.00

- As above

16. Supply & install L6ft x 8.5ft grey mirror @ Dining area wall (w/o false ceiling)

51sqft x $28/- per sqft = $1428.00 (option 2) $1428.00

- As above

17. Supply & install L4ft suspended carpentry vanity cabinet @ Master toilet

Using plywood, internal with white pvc, external with laminate finish

Swing door with soft close hinges & ABS edging $120/- per ft x 4ft $480.00

- Top included?

- Is it solid plywood?

- Soft closing hinges brand? ( of course blum is the better ones)

- What is the laminate brand given?

18. Supply & install 5mm L4ft x H5ft clear mirror sitting on top the solid table @ Master toilet

$20/- per sqft x 20sqft $400.00

- Nil

19. Supply & install L3ft suspended carpentry vanity cabinet @ common toilet

Using plywood, internal with white pvc, external with laminate finish

Swing door with soft close hinges & ABS edging $120/- per ft x 3ft $360.00

- As above

20. Supply & install L3ft solid surface top for vanity @ common toilet

$75/- per ft x 3ft $225.00

- Brand of the solid surafce?

- Any backsplash given?

- What front profiles are available within the quoted amount?

21. Supply & install L3ft x H5ft 5mm clear mirror @ common toilet

15sqft x $20/- per sqft $300.00

-Nil

22. Supply & install L6.5ft x L6ft L-shape modular system closet @ Master room

C/w partition frame, internal using melamine board with free configuration,

Aluminum glass sliding door 1st 5ft - $1500/- Additional ft - $250/-

12.5ft – 1ft @ corner = 11.5ft – 5ft = 6.5ft x $250/- per ft = $1625/-

$1500/- + $1625/- = $3125/- $3125.00

- Melamine info can be found here ( I prefer plywood though)

- Check the number of drawerrs given as usually the drawers are the more exp stuff to fabricate

23. Supply & install L6ft modular system closet @ Bedroom 2

C/w partition frame, internal using melamine board with free configuration,

Aluminum glass sliding door 1st 5ft - $1500/- Additional ft - $250/-

6ft – 5ft = 1ft x $250/- = $250/- + $1500/- = $1750/- $1750.00

-As above

24. Supply & install L6ft modular system closet @ Bedroom 3

C/w partition frame, internal using melamine board with free configuration,

Aluminum glass sliding door 1st 5ft - $1500/- Additional ft - $250/-

6ft – 5ft = 1ft x $250/- = $250/- + $1500/- = $1750/- $1750.00

- As above

25. Supply & install L6.5ft modular system closet @ Suggestion Study

C/w partition frame, internal using melamine board with free configuration,

Aluminum glass biford door 1st 5ft - $1500/- Additional ft - $250/-

6.5ft – 5ft = 1.5ft x $250/- = $375/- + $1500/- = $1875/- $1875.00

- As above

26. Supply & install L6ft x H6ft (36sqft) feature wall for TV console @ Living

Using plywood, laminate finish $22/- per sqft x 36sqft = $792/-

Supply & install L8ft suspended carpentry TV console @ Living

Using plywood, internal pvc white, external laminate finish

$120/- per ft x 8ft = $960/- $1752.00

- Solid ply?

- Any glass or design on the TV console?

- Drawers or flip down doors? Glass on the console door? ( take note that you need to have glass at your Tv console door surface as the remote sensor cannot get through thick woods)

27. Supply & install L7ft wooden plank @ Bedroom 2 & 3

Using plywood, laminate finish 7ft x $35/- per ft x 2 bedrooms $490.00

- any support bracket? Whats the max depth?

28. Supply & install 10mm thick frosted swing door temper glass @ kitchen entrance $580.00

- can we design the frosted film? Any add charges?

29. Supply & install L22ft Top & bottom kitchen cabinet, using plywood, internal pvc white,

External laminate finish. C/w 1 cutlrey tray, 1 s/steel dish rack, all swing doors with soft

Close hinges & ABS edging

Top Cabinet - $120/- per ft x 7.5ft = $900/-

Bottom cabinet - $120/- per ft x 14.5ft = $1740/-

Supply & install 14.5ft Quatz table top - $120/- per ft x 14.5ft = $1740/-

Supply & install 2 sets of BLUM drawer track runner 30kg - $60/- per set x 2 sets = $120/- $4500.00

- As above

30. Supply & install L3.5ft x H8ft Full height carpentry shoe cabinet @ infront of foyer

Using plywood, internal pvc white, external laminate finish.

$280/- per ft x 3.5ft $980.00

- Any adjustable shelvings? If yes, how many shelvings are we entitled to?

31. Supply labor to acid wash floor after renovation $300.00

- How many times is the washing (2 times is prefered. Once after the tiling and partition works, once after all works)

Optional Items

• The bath room accessories installation per items - $8.00

- Nil.

Other questions:

-gst?

-warranty?

I will touch more on various item and the prices of it. Stay tuned!

Ps: feel free to PM me if you have any question on renovation. I will try to help as much as I can. Do take note that there is no business selling or product selling over here.

Thanks=D

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wowach    0

Very helpful Sir. Thank you!

May I know what is the usual market practise for the below electrical items?

- what is considered 1 lighting point? What if I have I have a hanging lamp that comes with 2 separate light bulbs? Same for those bar counter hanging light that comes with 3 separate hang modules. Considered 1 or multiple point? How about for small light sources like inside cabinets?

- most kitchen cabinets run by per foot length, top and bottom. What if I would like to do a section that is from top to bottom, full height? Am I charge for 3 units (top/middle/bottom)?

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Very helpful Sir. Thank you!

May I know what is the usual market practise for the below electrical items?

- what is considered 1 lighting point? What if I have I have a hanging lamp that comes with 2 separate light bulbs? Same for those bar counter hanging light that comes with 3 separate hang modules. Considered 1 or multiple point? How about for small light sources like inside cabinets?

- most kitchen cabinets run by per foot length, top and bottom. What if I would like to do a section that is from top to bottom, full height? Am I charge for 3 units (top/middle/bottom)?

Hi,

1 lighting pt refers to either 1 downlight pt, 1 ceiling light pt or 1 track light pt. Saying that you have a hanging lamp with 2 seperate light bulbs, usually it only need 1 lighting pts unless the light require 2 pts(which is rare). However, the electrician migght charge slightly higher than a ceiling/down light for installation. it should be about $5-10 more.

Small light sources depending on whether you are using spotlight/downlight or tube aka cove lightings. if cove lightings, one tube is NOT equal to one pt. it is a looping pt so sometimes they charge as a lump sum instead of per pt based.

As for full height cabinet. yes some market practice do charge like that. but of course usual cases it should be slightly cheaper than that. Eg. 100/ft run for top OR bottom. a full height might cost you somewhere around 250-280. Considering that, you actually save on the kitchen worktop cost. so it doesnt varies very far.

Hope these helps!

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wowach    0

Hi,

1 lighting pt refers to either 1 downlight pt, 1 ceiling light pt or 1 track light pt. Saying that you have a hanging lamp with 2 seperate light bulbs, usually it only need 1 lighting pts unless the light require 2 pts(which is rare). However, the electrician migght charge slightly higher than a ceiling/down light for installation. it should be about $5-10 more.

Small light sources depending on whether you are using spotlight/downlight or tube aka cove lightings. if cove lightings, one tube is NOT equal to one pt. it is a looping pt so sometimes they charge as a lump sum instead of per pt based.

As for full height cabinet. yes some market practice do charge like that. but of course usual cases it should be slightly cheaper than that. Eg. 100/ft run for top OR bottom. a full height might cost you somewhere around 250-280. Considering that, you actually save on the kitchen worktop cost. so it doesnt varies very far.

Hope these helps!

I see, certainly very helpful. Thank you.

Another question, if you don't mind - my contractor quoted me a 2.80-3.80$ range for my tile selection, while another ID only gave me up to 2.80$ only. Is the selection severely limited due to the $1 buffer? I haven't had a chance to go view tiles, but both their total prices are very similar, hence I would like to find out if I should be concerned for this 2.80$ cap by the ID. I'm aiming for some textured tiles in my toilets, but normal tiles for my kitchen.

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JKLP    0

Hi Mrcontractor,

Thanks for the info provided. They are very useful indeed!

I have some questions for you:

1)I noticed that contractors always encourage their prospective clients to use homogeneous tiles for the whole house even though the clients have a choice to use laminated flooring for either the whole house or for the 3 bedrooms. Any reason/s for this?

2) Is it true that it is not advisable to use laminated flooring for the living/dining area? Would Vinyl flooring (High End Resilient Flooring) be a better choice?

Thank you.

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jsll    2

Hi mrcontractor,

Thanks for the very useful tips and it does help us a lot.

Meanwhile, can I ask normally when is a good time to start visiting ID & contractor?

Do you think if I am looking at comparing quotes and designs from 5 IDs & 5 contractors.... Start about 6months before TOP is ok?

Hear from you soon.

Thanks

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I see, certainly very helpful. Thank you.

Another question, if you don't mind - my contractor quoted me a 2.80-3.80$ range for my tile selection, while another ID only gave me up to 2.80$ only. Is the selection severely limited due to the $1 buffer? I haven't had a chance to go view tiles, but both their total prices are very similar, hence I would like to find out if I should be concerned for this 2.80$ cap by the ID. I'm aiming for some textured tiles in my toilets, but normal tiles for my kitchen.

Hi,

sorry for the late reply. was busy preparing for CNY. actually what you can do is this. For the contractor who give you range for $1. Ask if there is any rebate when the tiles chosen is lesser than the max price. This is where your bargaining power comes in. Yes, $1 can make a huge diff psf. imagine a kitchen floor approx 150-200sqft. That would mean 150-200 just for a kitchen floor.

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Hi Mrcontractor,

Thanks for the info provided. They are very useful indeed!

I have some questions for you:

1)I noticed that contractors always encourage their prospective clients to use homogeneous tiles for the whole house even though the clients have a choice to use laminated flooring for either the whole house or for the 3 bedrooms. Any reason/s for this?

2) Is it true that it is not advisable to use laminated flooring for the living/dining area? Would Vinyl flooring (High End Resilient Flooring) be a better choice?

Thank you.

Hi,

To reveal a secret of this trade. It is because the profit that contractors make will be higher. Usually priced between 1.50-2 psf for homogenous tiles. and laminated flooring is usually 1-1.50psf. If he is lucky, he can earn up to $2psf. Of course, the feel between laminated floor and homogenous is largely diff. same goes to the characteristics. If say, you are a hardworking person and maintain your home well, it shouldnt posed a problem for laminated floor. Unless, you have small kids or cats/dogs then it is highly not recommended. Tiles is definitely much tougher, but take note that the grout lines in between will also turn black if not well maintained.

Another point is that if you would like to change the laminate colour another 5-10years later, you will not require to move out.

the flooring will have to suit your living style as well:)

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Hi mrcontractor,

Thanks for the very useful tips and it does help us a lot.

Meanwhile, can I ask normally when is a good time to start visiting ID & contractor?

Do you think if I am looking at comparing quotes and designs from 5 IDs & 5 contractors.... Start about 6months before TOP is ok?

Hear from you soon.

Thanks

Hi, for a 6 months beforehand, dont expect to receive very good service from all 10 salesperson. What they would like to do is to urge you to sign and place a deposit. What I can advise is that, 6 months before, you can source for an initial assessment, For an idea of what the price is like. at the 4th month, you should have slightly lesser shortlisted contractor/ID. and 3 months before the renovation, it should be time to get some serious screening of your shortlisted contractor.

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Thanks for the great tips and the elaborate explanation on the quotes. It is really helpful. Well, anther way of being sure if you have selected the right person for the job is, getting a reference check done. You can ask them where they have worked before, and talk to that person to see if they were satisfied. Also you could ask any of your friend or relative to recommend some good ID or contractor to you. This way you are sure of the kind of work to expect.

yeah. but through my years of bring a contractor, I have customers who are linked to a big family. however, there are some who were disatisfied with my service. So i can say, it all boils down to your comfort level:)

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Topic 3: Direct/Market prices of renovation items (Hacking)

I am sure many people will be interested in knowing the prices of the renovation items. For existing ID/contractors, i know you guys will hate me for this. But well, when i was working as a contractor, my customer basically knows the market pricing. You just need to press a few clicks and you will know what you are getting.

I always tell my customers the market price is definitely cheaper than my quote. reason being: I need to make a living. Common sense right? And most of them will accept it. If everything is quote by the direct price then there wont be any contractors/ID in Singapore right?

Interested to know how much a contractor earns? We earn 20-30% of the contract price. Some with sharp knives will earn 30-50% of it. I earn 50% only when it is a commercial project. Reason? It is more risky and more work. One of the major reason is the so called "market profit".

Hacking works: (All items are listed with direct price from various sub contractor)

3 room hdb with kitchen cabinet : 1600-1700

4 room HDB with kitchen cabinet: 2000-2100

5 room HDB with kitchen cabinet : 2400-2500

Kitchen and 2 toilets (wall and floor) : 1300-1350

Kitchen wall and floor: 700

1 Toilet wall and floor :300

Built in wardrobes: 100-150

1 room false ceiling :80-120

I cannot commment on condo as it comes in variety of sizes. Unlike HDB which is more standardize. For condo, if heavy vehicles cant go in, then the cost might be higher.

Usually what you seeing from the contractors or ID will be 0.5-1.5times more the direct price. This is because, you cant engage your own hacker as you will need HDB license. And hacking people will definitely take up the tiling works due to the water proofing required by HDB. So it makes no difference by engaging direct or non direct.

Dont be suprised that this price include the haulage of sand, clearing debris etc. This is always one of the most profitable item stated in the quote. Dont be fooled by the breakdown for the demolition. Sometimes the price adding up can be more than a lump sum quoted. Since demolition is very straight forward, alwways look at it in a whole, instead of comparing item by item. But makr sure all items are in. Unless there are items like demoliton of wall as optional, move it away from the total price.

For HDB rules, before hacking, the contractor have to inform at least 2 neighbours THREE days beforehand. It is best to inform 3-4 neighbours. especially neighbours downstairs/directly beside you.

Next topic: Tiling

* Feel free to PM me for advices or questions

Edited by Mrcontractor
  • Like 1

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texas5    0

hi Mr Contractor,

This is the most useful reno thread around.

Can I ask the following regarding hacking:

1. For HDB EM, what is the market rate to hack the staircase storeroom and wall below the stairs?

2. If the quotation for hacking is too expensive. Is there any risk if we want to source for own hacker? Any points we should take note of?

3. what is the market rate to hack a wall? do they charge by metres. my wall is approx 2metres.

thanks!

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gemini    8

I'm glad to stumble upon this thread! Thank you Mr. Contractor for the valuable insight. Need your advice on granite care. My 4 years old granite flooring and countertop is now of uneven tone because some area used to be covered by carpet and furniture. I've tried some cleaning with detergents but no result. Could you recommend some products which I can DIY? And, how much would it cost to get cleaning service to make the granite looks new again?

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