I had applied for my flat before the open kitchen concept was piloted by HDB in September 2012, so mine will come with a kitchen partition wall. I’ve been studying the floor plan and thinking about tearing down the wall to realise my ideal kitchen.

If you’re like me, always dreaming of whipping up meals in an open concept kitchen where you can cook and chat with your family and guests at the same time – before you get your contractor to tear down that partition wall that seems to get in the way, check first if you actually can.

I asked HDB and got an answer that rung sweet in my ears! YESSS! I’m one step closer to realising my ideal kitchen and home.

If you’d like some tips, the first thing you should do is to study your floor plan and see if you need to tear down any wall if you want a more open layout. BUT! I found out that it’s not sufficient to rely on the floor plan alone to determine if a wall can be removed! Do you know why?

Well, due to the different construction methods used in HDB flats, there are internal walls in some flats which cannot be removed. It’s dangerous to do such unauthorised removal as it may affect structural integrity of the building and compromise the safety of residents. So, always obtain written permission from HDB first before carrying out any demolition of walls, be it a partial or full demolition.

Also, do remember to engage an HDB Registered Renovation Contractor (RRC) if you want to carry out your renovation. RRCs are required to engage only certified workers to carry out demolition or hacking works during the renovation of HDB flats, so that the job can be carried out safely.

And of course, like other renovation, it’s best to check out the HDB guidelines and be doubly sure. Here are some other renovation pointers:

What if you’d like to…

Demolish a non-load bearing reinforced concrete (RC) element like stiffeners, lintol and hangers?

This job will require a permit and it can only be carried out after getting proper approval from HDB. HDB will inform you or your appointed renovation contractor on the requirement to engage a Professional Engineer (PE) for Civil or Structural works to inspect and supervise the demolition works. This is to ensure none of the load bearing structural elements such as slabs, columns, beams and walls are tampered or damaged in the demolition process.

Certain hacking/demolition of walls will also require a joint inspection with HDB… but not to worry, your RRC will be informed of the requirement if it’s applicable.

Demolish or alter an internal non-structural lightweight concrete/hollow block/brick wall?

This job will also require a permit and prior approval from HDB. You will receive the conditions and guidelines governing the work upon HDB’s evaluation and approval.

Erect a hollow or glass block wall in your flat?

You won’t need a permit for this, but you’ll need to ensure that there’s adequate natural lighting and ventilation if it’s going to be a space you’ll be staying in (so that excludes the household shelter, for example). For your own safety, the fire escape route should also be direct… so you shouldn’t be required to pass through another room to get to the main exit door. And note that only one layer of 63 mm hollow block or 80 mm thick glass block is allowed to be erected.

What about erecting a gypsum partition, then?

The same conditions above apply, except that the penetration of power-driven nails or screws, if any, into existing RC structures, must not exceed 40 mm.

Now that I think about it, there’re so many ways to customise the layout of my HDB flat! Maybe I can even turn a room into a walk-in wardrobe… hmm… wonder if my husband will agree.

I can’t wait to get my keys. For now, I’m gonna slowly stock up on those dining table essentials and other knick-knacks for the future home… and adding more ideas to my changing mood boards.

By the way… do you have nice kitchen décor ideas to share? I’d love to be inspired! Leave a comment on our MyNiceHome Facebook Page.

  • Nur Hafizah

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