Most people would prefer to buy fully furnished homes in Singapore. However, it is not always that easy to find one that checks all the boxes. Furthermore, with the cost of houses rising rapidly, it does not make sense to purchase a house that does not suit all of your needs. As a potential home owner, it is definitely more satisfying to be able to customize your own home to suit your personality and lifestyle.
Alternatively, for those who already own a home , it may be desirable to able alter things to suit changing family demographics or dynamics. Such modifications while minor, could make your house truly your home. In Singapore, we refer to this as “addition and alterations” or A&A for short.
However, some certain rules and regulations need to be followed before you can start work on your home. A&A works can have its own complexities with significant undertakings that will require the skills and experience of an experienced architect.
According to Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), A&A are minor works carried out that does not affect the existing structure. These works do not increase the total floor area by more than 50%. It does not involve changing structural elements like columns and beams significantly. It also does not involve changing the roof structure or addition of a new level to the existing house.
Most people buy houses built to previous owners’ specifications. Over time, they want to make personalized changes to their homes that reflect their styles and meet their needs. A&A works may allow homeowners to do minor changes without costing an arm and a leg. It also takes a shorter time and involve less Authority submissions. Sometimes, A&A works are required due to certain wear and tear to existing elements that may cause problems such as leaking, water seepage and deterioration of materials and finishes. Most importantly, it can give a new aesthetic to the existing look and even increase the value of the house.
Many homeowners also invest in older or run-down houses and then renovate them into beautiful modern homes. It is much easier for them to renovate older homes in good locations around Singapore than find plots for newer homes. Using A&A works, these older homes are given complete makeovers.
Some of the most common A&A works that are carried around in Singapore are:
Garage or Porch – Adding or modifying an existing canopy or porch for car parking is more for practical purposes than aesthetics. With more and more people owning cars, having a covered car porch for at least 2 cars is essential for most homeowners.
Ponds or Swimming Pools – Homeowners with the space and budget can have a swimming pool or a zen pond added inside their landed properties. You need to work with an architect familiar with landscaping and have experience in this type of work.
Home Lift – Nowadays, the installation of a lift can be quite affordable. In the past, the cost of adding a lift to a house could cost more than a hundred thousand dollars in Singapore. Today, there are many home lift brands both local and overseas that make these home lifts cheaper and more practical to install. As people age, the lift also becomes a need than a want.
Extensions – As time passes, more space may be required for a family living in a landed property. With the limited land area in Singapore, landed properties are can be hard to come by and even expensive. Thus, homeowners find it easier to do extensions to their existing homes to cater for additional space.
Interiors – Renovations in interiors can add new life to older homes. Many homeowners take on an interior project to accommodate their changing needs or make their homes more pleasant and comfortable.
Apart from the above, some other works include adding or modifying bathrooms, changing room layouts, enlarging kitchens, constructing mezzanine floors, and others.
The basic requirements for A&A Works will depend on the extent and type of works involved for house. In Singapore, you will most likely need to obtain approval from the Building and Construction Authority, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and other relevant Authorities (depending on type and extent of works) before starting building works.
The professional architect you hire will have the knowledge about all the permits needed in your area along with the rules and regulations that need to be adhered to. He or she will also be able to advise what are the best and most practical ways to do the works so as to be efficient in terms of cost and time.
It is important to mention here that engaging or getting advise from an architect is crucial before you embark on A&A works, even if it may seem minor and straight forward (see article XXX). On many occasions, the advise of a friend or even a contractor who has done these works may not be best way forward.
Renovating an existing house in Singapore can be a rewarding experience, but only if it is done right. As mentioned earlier, the works while minor can also be complex depending on the extent of works. Based on today’s COVID situation, it can also cost a tidy sum so it is advisable that you go through a proper process to carry out the works. If you are considering taking up A&A works on a home, get in touch with the experts at ADX Architects for advice on A&A works in Singapore.