How to Work with Architects: A Guide for Singapore Property Owners

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Owning a landed property in Singapore is a dream come true for many. Whether it’s a bungalow, semi-detached, or terrace house, landed properties offer a unique sense of luxury, privacy, and space that can’t be found in high-rise apartments. However, designing and building a landed property can be a complex and challenging process, requiring the expertise of a professional architect.

Working with an architect can help you navigate the design and construction process, ensuring that your landed property meets your needs and is built to the highest standards. An architect can also help you navigate the complex regulatory environment in Singapore, ensuring that your project complies with all relevant building codes and regulations.

At ADX Architects, we have over 15 years of experience designing and building landed properties in Singapore. In this blog post, we will provide a guide for Singapore property owners on how to work with architects, from finding the right architect to managing the construction process.


Finding the Right Architect

Finding the right architect is the first and most important step in the design process. Here are some tips for finding the right architect for your landed property project:

  1. Research potential architects: Start by doing some research online to identify potential architects in Singapore. Look for architects who specialize in landed property projects and have experience in similar projects to yours.
  2. Check credentials and experience: Once you have identified some potential architects, check their credentials and experience. Verify that they are registered with the Board of Architects in Singapore and have the relevant qualifications and experience. Ask for references and case studies of their previous work.
  3. Meet with potential architects: Once you have narrowed down your list of potential architects, arrange to meet with them in person. This is an opportunity to discuss your project in more detail and get a sense of their communication style and approach. The project does take at least a year or more so it is important that you understand and get along with your architect.
  4. Ask the right questions: During the meeting, ask the architect about their experience in designing landed properties in Singapore. Ask about their design philosophy and approach to sustainability. Ask about their fee structure and what services are included in their fee.


Establishing a Clear Brief

Establishing a clear brief is essential to ensure that your architect understands your goals and vision for the project. Here are some tips for establishing a clear brief:

  1. Define your goals: Start by clearly defining your goals for the project. Are you looking to create a family home, a rental property, or a luxury residence? What are your must-haves and nice-to-haves?
  2. Set a realistic budget: Establish a realistic budget for the project, taking into account the cost of land, design fees, construction costs, and any other expenses. Communicate this budget clearly to your architect.
  3. Define your timeline: Establish a timeline for the project, including key milestones such as design completion, permitting, and construction.
  4. Communicate your priorities: Clearly communicate your priorities for the project, whether it’s energy efficiency, indoor air quality, or a particular design style.

Understanding the Design Process

The design process can be complex, but understanding the different stages can help you stay informed and involved in the process. Here are the key stages of the design process:

  1. Concept development: During this stage, your architect will develop a concept for the project based on your brief. They will present this concept to you for feedback and input.
  2. Design development: During this stage, your architect will refine the concept and develop more detailed drawings and specifications.
  3. Construction documentation: During this stage, your architect will prepare detailed construction drawings and specifications that will be used by the contractor to build the project.
  4. Authority submissions: Your architect will submit the relevant drawings to the relevant authorities for approval.
  5. Construction administration: During this stage, your architect will oversee the construction process, ensure that the project is being built to the design, and manage any changes or issues that arise during construction.


Managing the Construction Process

Managing the construction process can be challenging, but here are some tips for ensuring a successful outcome:

  1. Hire a reputable builder: Work with your architect to identify a reputable builder with experience in landed property projects.
  2. Regular site visits: Conduct regular site visits with your architect leading the process to ensure that the project is progressing according to plan and to address any issues that may arise.
  3. Variation orders: Be prepared for variation orders, which are changes to the scope of work or design. These changes may result in additional costs or extra time, so it’s important to understand the implications before approving them. It is crucial for an architect to be on board, as they will be able to navigate the whole review and approval process.
  4. Communication: Stay in regular communication with your architect and builder to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that any issues are addressed promptly.


Completion of Construction & Handover

Once the construction process is complete, your architect will apply for the relevant certificates and permits. It is only when these are obtained, can you move into your new house. Here re the main stages during completion:

  1. Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP): In Singapore, this is issued by the Building Construction Authority (BCA). When the construction is completed, the architect will check that the house is built according to the design, specifications and authority regulations before applying for TOP.
  2. Defects liability period (DLP): During the defects liability period, the builder is obliged to rectify any defects that you may find in the house. This is usually based on a contract period of 12 months.
  3. Handover: The builder is supposed to hand-over all the remote controls, keys to all over doors and windows, operations and maintenance manuals and warranties to you as the owner. This is the ideal time to ask for any instructions for use of any items if you are unclear.
  4. Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC): Finally when the final authority clearances have been obtained, the architect will submit to the relevant authorities to obtain the CSC. This means the house is officially fully completed.



Working with an experienced and registered architect in Singapore can help ensure that your landed property project is a success. By following the tips outlined in this guide, you can find the right architect for your project, establish a clear brief, understand the design process, manage the construction process, and take advantage of post-construction services.

At ADX Architects, we have over 15 years of experience designing and building landed properties in Singapore. Whether you’re looking to build a new landed property or renovate an existing one, we can help bring your vision to life. Contact us today for a quick discussion.

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