5 Common Teething Problems an HDB Flat Owner Might Face and What You Can Do About Them

  • Mar 28, 2022
  • 15021 views

Design: ECasa Studio

#1. Low water pressure

Image from HDB

Why does this happen?
The causes of low water pressure are many and they might include partially closed valves in the water supply pipes, stoppage of pumps, and clogged service pipes and fittings due to encrustations or pipe leaks.

What can you do about it?

Image from PUB on how to turn open the stopcock

If you experience low water pressure, you should conduct the following self troubleshooting steps first, before contacting either the Town Council or the PUB. First, locate the stopcock of your pipe (located right after the water meter serving your house) to check whether the stopcock is completely open. As long as the low water pressure occurs only at one tap, check that the valve of that tap is fully open. However, if the problem still persists even after you have done these steps, you are to proceed to the next step, which is to request an investigation by the Town Council. The Town Council will collaborate with PUB to perform the initial investigation where necessary. You can contact the following Town Council's 24hr Essential Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU) service listed below.

Image from PUB

For partially closed valves,  the problem is resolved by fully opening the valve in the water supply pipe. When the problem is caused by the stoppage of pumps (usually caused by power failure or a faulty valve in the pump system), it is resolved by restarting the pump by the Town Council.  When the chokes are caused by the encrustation of older pipes, PUB would advise you to engage a licensed plumber to carry out repairs or replace these pipes.

Design: Inquisitif Studio

#2. Ceiling leaks

Image from m3m

Why does this happen?
Once the waterproof membrane and screed are worn down in the floor slab, ceiling leaks occur when water from the above unit leaks in the ceiling cracks below, through the concrete floor slab. This is a common occurrence in older flats and usually happens in wet areas, such as the balconies, bathrooms, kitchen yards and sometimes in the kitchen.

What can you do about it?
What you might not be aware of is that you are responsible for the flat's interior maintenance and hence, it is a joint responsibility between upper-and lower-floor flat owners whenever the floor slab between flats needs repairs. Therefore, both the upper-and lower-floor homeowners need to perform a joint investigation, repairs and share the costs among themselves. Fortunately, to keep the repair cost affordable for both flat owners, HDB offers assistance through the Goodwill Repair Assistance (GRA) scheme, by sharing the cost of repairs where HDB pays half of the repair costs, while the remaining is then shared jointly between the owners of the lower and upper floors. Once both parties agree to take up the GRA, a contractor will be arranged by the HDB to carry out the repair works. The rectification works usually include applying a new waterproof membrane, skim coating and sealer on the floor of the upper-floor unit, and ceiling painting for the lower floor unit. 

When are there exceptions?
If there is a ceiling leak at flats on the topmost level, which is part of the common property maintained by the Town Council, the homeowner is to contact the Town Council to rectify the issue. When the leakage is caused by the renovations carried out in the upper unit, the upper floor owner should be fully responsible and bear the entire repair costs. The GRA only covers leaks in the floor slab between flats caused by wear and tear, and does not cover damage to personal fixtures and fittings (i.e. pipes encased with self installed PVC Trunking) installed by flat owners. Lastly, the tenants (who have rented their flat from HDB) should report to HDB, so that HDB can carry out the necessary repairs for the ceiling leak. 

Design: Artspaze

#3. Spalling concrete

Image from directpainters

Why does this happen?
Spalling concrete is a common problem in older flats, largely caused by carbonation which is a natural deterioration process. Once this happens, the steel bars within the concrete corrodes and rusts, and this causes the concrete to dislodge from the steel bars, bulge and eventually come off. The deterioration process is sped up in wet areas such as the bathrooms since they are prone to humidity.

What can you do about it?
You are solely responsible for the repair of any spalling concrete within the flat. Hence,  you should engage the contractors early for repairs as soon as possible once the signs of spalling concrete are spotted, to prevent the spalling concrete from deteriorating further and spreading to a larger area. This is because once the spalling concrete spreads, it can pose a serious hazard to the home occupants. Furthermore, you should also perform the following regularly to prevent the recurrence of spalling concrete, paint the ceilings regularly, seal any cracks properly with hydraulic cement or caulking to prevent moisture and carbon dioxide from entering the concrete, and keep humid at bay by ensuring sufficient ventilation.

When are there exceptions?
The tenants (who have rented their flat from HDB) are to report the issue to HDB, so that HDB can carry out the necessary repairs for the spalling concrete.

Design: Playground

#4. Popped tiles

Image from tmtiling

Why does this happen?
The contributing factors to dislodged tiles are many and one of them could due to the differences in temperature when the repeated expansion or contraction of the tiles over time results in a loss of adhesion between them and the screed surface. Another contributing factor could be due to poor workmanship, where the cement base of the floor was not mixed properly, which results in incomplete bonding when tiles are laid on top of the cement base. Another reason is that the tiles may be of poor quality and thus more likely to pop once pressure builds up.

What can you do about it?
You are responsible for the maintenance of your floor tiles, including repairs for general wear and tear. If you have installed the floor tiles or if the flat (with the original HDB tiles) is more than 15 years old, you are to engage the contractors to carry out the tile replacement. While waiting for the rectification works to be carried out, HDB may help owners with the removal and disposal of the affected tiles and where necessary, HDB may also assist with laying of protective sheets over the affected area. Do reach out to the HDB branch hotline at 1800-225-5432 for advice when this happens.

When are there exceptions?
HDB will help flat owners repair dislodged tiles *originally provided by HDB) for a period of up to 15 years.

Design: Jas Design Studio

#5. Sanitary pipes leak

Image from HDB

Why does this happen?
Leakage of sanitary pipes happens due to wear and tear in pipes or choke in the floor trap due to solid waste accumulation caused by slow or no discharge of wastewater. This usually happens in older flats. However, this can also happen to new flats when the pipes are defective.

What can you do about it?
You need to maintain the sanitary branch pipes in your flats by checking the pipe fittings regularly. The Town Council is responsible for the maintenance of the main sanitary pipes. If the sanitary branch pipe leaks, engage a plumber to remove the solid waste which causes the choke or carry out repairs where necessary. If the main sanitary pipe leaks, contact the Town Council immediately for assistance and rectifications. 

Design: HOFT

Tags :

Meet Interior Designers. Get Quotes.

Get in touch with our listed renovation companies. They will provide you with a free non-obligatory estimate for any of the Renovation Packages included in their services.

Related Posts

Dine in Style and Save Space with these 15 Dining Banquette Ideas

Dine in Style and Save Space with these 15 Dining Banquette Ideas

One of the micro trends we’ve been noticing lately are dining banquettes. These aren’t new at all, but they have been popping up quite a bit on our feeds lately...

Newbies, here is how you should maintain these 8 common HDB flat features

Newbies, here is how you should maintain these 8 common HDB flat features

If you have just recently become a proud owner of a new HDB flat, read on how to maintain the following 8 common HDB flat features and keep them looking pristin...

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes When Looking for an Interior Designer in Singapore

Don’t Make These 5 Mistakes When Looking for an Interior Designer in Singapore

Looking for an interior designer to renovate your home? Make sure you aren't making these 5 mistakes. 1. Thinking firms featured on TV or in a magazine are rel...

8 Tips to Buying Furniture Online Like an Expert

8 Tips to Buying Furniture Online Like an Expert

In this post, we have checked with the experts for insider tips, on how to buy furniture online for every nook and cranny in your house, while avoiding common...

60 Quick Renovation Tips for 1st Time Homeowners

60 Quick Renovation Tips for 1st Time Homeowners

There is a beginner's guide for you so that you can renovate your first home with little stress. In this post, interior designers and renovation experts spill t...

Renonation
GET FREE QUOTE