Why designing a Singapore client’s property is a complex process

Designing one’s property is a significant investment for any homeowner in Singapore. It’s not just a realization of a dream but also a process filled with complex challenges that require the expertise of a professional. This intricate creation process involves the property owner, the architect, and local authorities, each contributing to the property’s final design.


Perspective of a Singapore Property Owner

For a Singapore property owner, the design process entails more than just a change in the aesthetic appeal; it’s about economic worth, comfort, sustainability, and functionality. Any property owner maneuvers multiple priorities – ranging from budget constraints to challenges in managing relations within the neighbourhood.

Firstly, the owner must decide whether to refurbish the old structure or erect a new one, a decision hinging upon factors like the property’s age, location, and historical significance. Then, crucial considerations like choosing the right architect, contractor or interior designer, suitable materials and maintaining adherence to local rules and regulations, add further complexity.

Furthermore, the pursuit of sustainable designs, not merely for environment al conservation, but also for long-term energy efficiency and cost savings, transforms the design process into a puzzle where every choice has significant repercussions for the future.


Lighting Up The Architect’s Vision

Architectural design process is a complex one. Singapore architects designing residential properties witness a constant struggle to strike a balance between the client’s expectations, their creative vision, building safety, sustainability while adhering to local authority regulations.

Ask any Singapore architect and they will tell you that it is a challenge by itself to capture the client’s vision. Many clients struggle to articulate exactly what they want beyond vague concepts like “modern” or “traditional.”. A skillful and experienced Singapore architect will have the experience and tools to overcome this and allow the Singapore property owner to effectively communicate their needs and vision.

At ADX Architects, we are constantly faced with a multi-faceted challenge when working on a Singapore client’s property.

Budget – A realistic budget will guide design decisions and materials. Clients often underestimate costs.

Function – What activities will the space accommodate? How many occupants? How will people flow through the space?

Aesthetics – What style best represents the client’s taste and lifestyle? Clients should provide examples of designs they like.

Maintenance – Lower maintenance designs can reduce long-term costs. Materials should suit the client’s lifestyle.

Practicality – The design must work within the realities of the site and structure. The client’s ‘dream home’ may not always be feasible.

Imagine – situating a swimming pool on a five-story townhouse. While it may seem like a wild idea to a layman homeowner, a seasoned architect can materialize it into a real-world marvel, with careful engineering and artistic finesse. Radical ideas like these fuel an architect’s creative spirit, advocating a more extensive dialogue between their craft and the client’s requirements.

Simultaneously, local aesthetics, resource constraints, and a shrinking city-state footprint in Singapore often drive local architects to make the most out of every square foot while maintaining safety, structural integrity, and functionality.


Decoding the URA Perspective

As the national urban planning authority, URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) Singapore, has the final say over all architectural endeavors in the country. URA’s guidelines are exhaustively comprehensive, covering myriad aspects like residential property height, density, use of airspace, and foundational requirements. The authority also governs matters of heritage and conservation, imposing complex constraints on any design to preserve Singapore’s cultural heritage.

The URA ensures the meshing of individual property designs into the broader urban landscape through its stringent guidelines. It aids architects in creating designs that are not just captivating at a micro level but also contribute to enhancing Singapore’s metropolis’s character at a macro level.

URA’s meticulous regulations, however, make the property design process a fortified maze to navigate for the architect and the homeowner. With possible revisions and back-and-forths, this process can be long-drawn and complex.



Designing a Singapore client’s property is a highly complex process, where different perspectives interlace to create a holistic, sustainable, and unique structure. It’s a conversation between the homeowner’s dreams, the architect’s vision, and URA’s regulations.

At ADX Architects, we understand this complexity is the key to the successful completion of each Singapore property masterpiece. Therefore, we do encourage potential property owners to begin the conversation with us as early as possible. We look forward to take on the challenge and transform their property into an artistic and functional marvel.

The role of Architectural Interns in Singapore

As one of the world’s leading cities for architecture and green living, Singapore boasts of landmarks meticulously constructed and assembled, showcasing not just innovation but also sustainability and functionality. With towering skyscrapers and unique architectural marvels like the Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, Singapore offers an immersive learning landscape for architectural interns.

Indeed, the architectural scene in Singapore is bustling, with interns having to play a crucial role in most  architectural offices- big and small. They offer fresh perspectives while absorbing and applying the intricacies of designing some of the most iconic constructions globally.

So, what really does the role of these architectural interns in Singapore entail? Let’s explore about this in this article!

Assisting in Design Development

Every iconic building begins with a concept, an architectural dream crafted into reality. Architectural interns in Singapore play a pivotal role in this design development process. They collaborate with experienced architects, helping translate ideas into detailed drawings and 3D models, often diligently manipulating CAD software systems to shape architectural innovations.

Research and Analysis

Stepping beyond design and development, interns also engage in extensive research and analysis. They study sustainable design principles, innovative building materials, and even trending architectural concepts globally. Given Singapore’s focus on green and sustainable living, interns often investigate energy-efficient design strategies, blending aesthetics with environmental sensitivity. Also, familiarization with local building codes and regulations forms a critical part of an intern’s role as these guidelines significantly influence design strategies.


Involvement in Documentation

Creating masterpieces doesn’t end at designing alone. Architectural interns actively participate in assisting in project documentation – encompassing construction detailing, technical drawings and 3D visualization. These documents have to be coordinated with various stakeholders like consultants, contractors, and clients, ensuring that the project aligns with set standards and specifications. Of course, their work is guided and led by senior architects to achieve the desired design intent, criteria and datelines.


Site Visits

What’s architecture without a little on-site action? Singapore architectural interns will be given opportunity to visit construction sites, observing the journey from blueprints to erected structures. From attending site discussions to documenting progress and assisting in rectifying design, construction issues and ensuring the design aligns with the regulations, the field experience can be exceptionally enriching.


Digital Renderings & Model Making

The transition from conceptual sketches to tangible models provides an invaluable understanding of space and form. Architectural interns contribute creatively to the process of model making, both physical and digital forms, aiding the visualization of these architectural wonders.


A Collaborative Endeavour

Being multi-faceted, architecture demands cooperation across various disciplines. Hence, architectural interns often find themselves working alongside not just architects but also engineers, landscape designers, interior designers and construction experts. This collaborative experience promises a broader perspective on the industry, aiding in a comprehensive design approach.


Professional Development Journey

Last but not least, an internship offers a profound glimpse of the professional world of a Singapore architect. Interns receive mentorship from local industry veterans, learn to handle real-world projects, overcome challenges, and understand architecture’s professional practice in context to Singapore’s architectural industry. This transformational journey arms them with the practical skills necessary for becoming successful architects.

In conclusion, architectural interns in Singapore don an array of roles, each indispensable in creating the city-state’s incomparable skyline. They play a critical role in designing and executing structures respectful of local regulations, environmental implications while leveraging the latest architectural trends. Indeed, they serve as the bridge between architectural education and practice, adorning the Singapore property landscape with their ingenious contributions. Therefore, promising a brighter, greener, and more aesthetically pleasing future for Singapore’s cityscape.

As a Singapore registered architectural firm, ADX Architects is proud to provide our full support to architectural interns, as they play an important and promising role in this industry.

The significance of material selection for a Singapore Architect

As a Singapore architect, the process of material selection plays a vital role in shaping the outcome of your architectural designs. The choice of materials goes beyond mere aesthetics and encompasses functionality, sustainability, and the unique considerations of the Singapore property owner. In this article, we delve into the significance of material selection and its impact on Singapore properties.


What is material selection in the context of architectural design?

Material selection refers to the deliberate process of choosing the appropriate materials to be used in constructing a building or space. It involves considering various factors such as durability, performance, aesthetics, environmental impact, and cost. For Singapore architects, material selection is about creating a harmonious blend of form and function that suits the specific needs and challenges of the project.

What is the role of material selection in the design process?

Material selection comes into play at an early stage of the design process. As a Singapore architect, we need to envision how different materials will interact with the overall concept and functionality of the building. Considering materials early on allows for better integration of their properties and characteristics into the design, ensuring a coherent and successful outcome. By carefully selecting materials, we can achieve a balance between creativity, practicality, and sustainability.

What are some factors to consider when selecting materials for a Singapore property?

When an architect looks at material selection for a Singapore property, several factors come into consideration. These include:


Environmental factors: Singapore’s tropical climate requires materials that can withstand high humidity, heavy rainfall, and intense sunlight. Architects must choose materials that are resistant to corrosion, water damage, and UV radiation to ensure the longevity of the structure.


Cultural influences: Singapore’s rich cultural heritage is often reflected in its architecture. Architects may consider using materials that pay homage to the local culture, traditions, and architectural styles, creating a sense of identity and connection with the community.


Local regulations: Singapore has strict building regulations and codes that govern the use of certain materials. Architects must navigate these regulations to ensure compliance and safety while still achieving the desired design vision.


How does material selection affect the final outcome of an architectural design of a Singapore property?

Material selection has a profound impact on the final outcome of a Singapore property. The choice of materials directly influences several aspects, including:


Aesthetics: Materials contribute to the visual appeal and character of a building. Whether it’s sleek glass facades in modern architecture or the use of traditional materials in heritage buildings, the selection determines the overall look and feel of the structure.


Durability: Singapore’s climate can be harsh on buildings. By choosing materials that are durable and resistant to weathering, architects ensure that the property can withstand the test of time, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing its longevity.


Sustainability: Singapore places great emphasis on sustainable design practices. Material selection plays a crucial role in achieving green building certifications and minimizing the environmental impact of the property. Architects can choose eco-friendly materials, such as recycled or locally sourced options, to create sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.


User experience: Materials affect the comfort and well-being of occupants. Selecting appropriate materials for flooring, insulation, and acoustics can enhance the user experience, providing comfort, reducing noise, and promoting a healthy indoor environment.



Material selection is a critical aspect of architectural design for Singapore architects. Considering factors like durability, sustainability, cultural influences, and local regulations allows architects to create unique and functional spaces that meet the needs of Singapore property owners. By carefully selecting materials, architects can shape the visual appeal, functionality, and long-term performance of buildings, contributing to Singapore’s vibrant architectural landscape.


Here at ADX architects, material choices are our opportunity to create meaningful and impactful designs that cater to the unique requirements of both the property and its owners.

Singapore Architecture and Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not just a buzzword or a hype. It is a powerful tool that can help us solve complex problems, optimize resources, and create better outcomes for our people and environment. AI can also enhance our creativity and innovation, as we explore new possibilities and solutions that were not possible before.

With the support of organizations like the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore architects are leveraging AI to revolutionize design processes and enhance urban planning strategies. In this article, we will explore the fascinating relationship between Singapore architecture and artificial intelligence, uncovering its history, current applications, and future possibilities.


What is artificial intelligence or machine learning?
At its core, artificial intelligence refers to the ability of machines or computer systems to mimic human intelligence. Machine learning, a subset of AI, involves algorithms that allow systems to learn from data and improve their performance over time. In the context of architecture, AI and machine learning technologies offer tremendous potential for enhancing design exploration, optimization, and decision-making processes.

What is the history of computing technology in architectural design?
The integration of computing technology in architectural design has a rich history. From the advent of computer-aided design (CAD) to the widespread use of Building Information Modeling (BIM), Singapore architects have embraced technological advancements to streamline their workflows. These tools have revolutionized the way architects create, visualize, and communicate their design ideas, enabling greater precision and efficiency in the design process.

What are examples of AI or artificial intelligence usage in Singapore architecture?
Singapore architects are at the forefront of harnessing AI in their design projects. The URA has been instrumental in promoting AI adoption, facilitating collaborations between architectural firms and technology companies. AI-powered tools are being used to optimize building designs, enhance energy efficiency, and promote sustainable practices. For example, machine learning algorithms are employed to analyze vast amounts of data and generate design solutions that maximize space utilization while adhering to specific parameters.

While people are always fussing about the latest shiny object like AI or Chat GPT, Singapore’s URA has already used digitalization in the last decade as one its core drivers in evidence based urban planning.
With the help of the various government agencies, the URA has assembled data that support planning analysis on issues such as demographic trends within towns, activity and mobility patterns in communities, accessibility and utilisation of amenities, as well as access to employment opportunities.

For years, the URA has built a wide suite of digital tools like URA Space, which allows the public to view conservation areas and buildings, find master zone planning, check allowable use for shophouses and commercial properties.

Planners in URA are also already using AI solutions in Urban Planning. This enables them to identify optimal land and infrastructure options, so as to meet the needs of communities and businesses of today and tomorrow.

What are some key benefits of AI in Singapore architecture?
The integration of AI in Singapore architecture brings several benefits. Firstly, AI-driven tools enable architects to explore a wider range of design possibilities by generating multiple design iterations and evaluating their performance against various criteria. This leads to more innovative and optimized design solutions. Additionally, AI facilitates computational analysis, allowing architects to simulate and assess factors such as structural integrity, lighting conditions, and thermal performance, leading to more informed decision-making and improved overall design quality.

Will architects and designers be replaced by AI?

As AI is transforming the architectural landscape, there is a common concern about whether architects and designers will be replaced by AI systems. However, the role of architects and designers remains indispensable. AI serves as a powerful tool that augments human creativity, intuition, and expertise. The ability to think critically, understand cultural and contextual nuances, and incorporate human-centric design principles are aspects that AI cannot replicate. Architects and AI work collaboratively, leveraging technology to enhance the design process and create more impactful spaces.

According to world renowned architect, Patrik Schumacher, the answer is no. In a Straits Times interview, he is quick to point out that the future of design is not just about technology, but about how it must be used to create designs that improve life.

What does the future hold for the use of AI in Singapore architecture?
The future of AI in Singapore architecture holds immense promise. As the field progresses, emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are poised to redefine the design experience. Architects will be able to visualize and interact with their designs in immersive virtual environments, facilitating better communication with clients and stakeholders. Moreover, AI algorithms will continue to evolve, becoming more sophisticated in generating design solutions that seamlessly integrate with the urban fabric and contribute to sustainable and smart city development.


Here at ADX Architects, we think AI is not something to be feared or resisted, but rather embraced and leveraged for our benefit. We believe the human connection is still vital and relevant.
AI can help us create more sustainable, resilient, and livable cities for ourselves and future generations.
With the support of organizations like the URA and a forward-thinking architectural community, Singapore is at the forefront of AI integration in the built environment. As AI continues to advance, Singapore architects will unlock new possibilities, pushing the boundaries of design innovation and creating spaces that enhance the lives of Singaporeans.

What are 3 popular incentive schemes utilized by Singapore building developers

Singapore’s urban landscape is constantly evolving, with buildings and developments popping up across the city. To encourage sustainable and innovative development practices, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has implemented several incentive schemes for building developers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at three popular incentive schemes and their potential benefits.

  1. Central Business District (CBDI) Incentive Scheme

The CBDI Incentive Scheme aims to encourage the development of high-quality and sustainable buildings within the Central Business District (CBD). This scheme offers developers additional Gross Floor Area (GFA) if they meet certain criteria, such as achieving a minimum Green Mark certification rating or incorporating sustainable features into their development. The additional GFA awarded is known as Bonus GFA and can be used to increase the floor area of the building or to provide additional amenities for occupants.

What is required to apply for the Central Business District (CBDI) Incentive Scheme?

To apply for the Central Business District (CBDI) Incentive Scheme, developers need to submit a written application to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). The application should include details of the proposed development, including its location, the intended land use, and the expected floor area.

Developers must also provide a detailed breakdown of the expected costs of the development, including construction costs, financing costs, and land costs. In addition, developers must provide information on the expected financial returns from the development, including projected rental income and sales revenue.

The application should also include a detailed explanation of how the proposed development will contribute to the overall growth and development of the Central Business District (CBD). This may include information on how the development will create new jobs, improve transport links, or enhance the overall attractiveness of the area.

Finally, developers must pay a non-refundable application fee, which is currently set at SGD $5,000. Once the application has been submitted, the URA will review it and make a decision on whether or not to grant the incentive. If the application is successful, the developer will be notified in writing and will need to comply with any conditions or requirements set out by the URA.

What are the potential benefits developers can receive from the Central Business District (CBDI) Incentive Scheme?

Increased allowable Gross Floor Area (GFA): The CBDI Scheme allows developers to increase the maximum GFA allowable for their development by up to 25%, subject to certain conditions. This can provide developers with more leeway to design and build larger and more complex developments in the Central Business District.

Reduction in Development Charge (DC): Developers who are successful in their application for the CBDI Scheme may also be eligible for a reduction in DC payable. The amount of reduction is calculated based on the increase in GFA allowed under the scheme.

Greater flexibility in land use: The CBDI Scheme also provides greater flexibility in land use. Developers may apply for a change of use for their development without having to pay DC for the change, subject to certain conditions.

Overall, the CBDI Scheme provides a range of benefits to developers who are looking to develop properties in the Central Business District, including increased GFA, reduced DC, and greater flexibility in land use.

  1. Green Mark Scheme

The Green Mark Scheme is an incentive program that rewards developers for building environmentally friendly and sustainable developments. Under this scheme, developers are encouraged to incorporate energy-efficient features, such as solar panels, and reduce water consumption through the use of rainwater harvesting systems. The Green Mark Scheme is divided into four categories – Certified, Gold, GoldPLUS, and Platinum – with increasing levels of sustainability required to achieve higher certification ratings. The Green Mark Scheme is administered by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

How can developers apply for the Green Mark Scheme?
To apply for the Green Mark Scheme, developers must achieve a Green Mark certification rating of at least Certified and submit an application to the BCA.

What are the potential benefits developers can receive from the Green Mark Scheme?
Developers who achieve a higher certification rating under the Green Mark Scheme can benefit from lower operating costs due to the incorporation of energy-efficient features. Additionally, the Green Mark Scheme may provide tax incentives and rebates on development charges.

  1. Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme

The Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme is a planning incentive scheme offered by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) in Singapore. The SDI Scheme aims to encourage the development of strategic sites within the city that can contribute to the long-term economic and social development of Singapore.

Under the SDI Scheme, developers can apply for incentives that will allow them to carry out developments that might not have been otherwise feasible. This includes allowing for greater building heights, larger allowable gross floor area (GFA), or greater flexibility in land use.

The SDI Scheme is open to strategic sites within the city, which are identified by the URA. These sites may be located in the Central Business District, or in other areas of the city that are considered to be of strategic importance.

Overall, the SDI Scheme provides an opportunity for developers to undertake large-scale, strategic developments that can help to shape the future of Singapore’s built environment.

How can developers apply for the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme?
Developers who are interested in applying for the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme can do so by submitting an application to the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA).

The application process involves several stages, including a pre-application consultation with the URA to discuss the proposed development and to obtain feedback on the proposal. Developers are required to provide a detailed development proposal, including plans, drawings and other supporting documents, along with their application.

The URA will evaluate the application based on several criteria, including the strategic importance of the site, the quality of the proposed development, and the overall impact of the development on the surrounding area. The URA may also seek input from other government agencies, such as the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Singapore Land Authority (SLA), as part of the evaluation process.

If the application is approved, the developer will be granted the relevant planning incentives under the SDI Scheme. These incentives may include an increase in gross floor area (GFA) beyond the baseline GFA for the site, or a reduction in the Development Charge payable for the development.

Overall, the application process for the SDI Scheme can be complex, and developers are advised to seek professional advice to help them navigate the process and ensure that their application is as strong as possible.

What are the potential benefits developers can receive from the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme?
The Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme offers a range of benefits to developers, which are designed to encourage the development of strategic sites in Singapore.

One of the key benefits of the SDI Scheme is the increase in gross floor area (GFA) that developers can receive for their development. This increase in GFA can be significant, and can allow developers to build more floor space on a given site than would otherwise be allowed under normal planning rules. The exact amount of bonus GFA that can be granted under the SDI Scheme will depend on various factors, including the location of the site, its size, and its strategic importance.

In addition to the increase in GFA, the SDI Scheme may also offer a reduction in the Development Charge payable for the development. The Development Charge is a fee that developers must pay to the government for the right to build on a particular site. The amount of the Development Charge is calculated based on a variety of factors, including the plot ratio and the land value of the site. By reducing the Development Charge payable, the SDI Scheme can help to make development more financially viable for developers.

Overall, the potential monetary benefits of the SDI Scheme can be significant, and can provide a strong incentive for developers to undertake strategic developments in Singapore.


At the end of the day, incentive schemes do play an important role in encouraging sustainable and innovative development practices in Singapore. The Central Business District (CBDI) Incentive Scheme, Green Mark Scheme, and the Strategic Development Incentive (SDI) Scheme are just a few examples of the many schemes available to developers. By taking advantage of these schemes, Singapore developers can not only improve the sustainability of their developments but also increase the value and attractiveness of their properties in the long run.

What is planning permission and how is this related to development and building works in Singapore

As a property owner or architect in Singapore, it is important to understand the planning permission process and its relationship to development and building works. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on planning permission in Singapore and how this is related to a building and development project in Singapore.

What is Planning Permission in Singapore?

Planning permission is a statutory requirement that property owners must obtain before starting any development or building works. The permission is granted by the relevant authorities in Singapore, such as the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) or the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). It regulates the use of land and buildings to ensure that development is carried out in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Checking the Approved Use of Your Commercial Property

Before applying for planning permission, it is important to check the approved use of your property. This information can be obtained from the URA’s website. You can also visit the URA’s Customer Service Centre to obtain this information. Knowing the approved use of your property is important, as any proposed changes to the use of the property may require planning permission. This will involve the engagement of a qualified Architect in Singapore.

Checking the Status of Your URA Planning Permission

If you have submitted a development application to the URA, you can check the status of your planning permission online through the URA’s e-Status system. This system allows you to track the progress of your application and find out if any additional information or documents are required.

Grant of Written Permission from URA

If your proposed development or building works require planning permission, you will need to apply for a Grant of Written Permission (WP) from the URA. This written permission allows you to carry out the proposed works within the constraints set out in the Planning Act 1998. The WP is valid for two years from the date of issue.

When Do You Require Planning Permission?

In general, planning permission is required for any development or building works that involve a change of use, addition or alteration to a building, or a new building on a piece of land. Some examples of when planning permission may be required include:

– Changing the use of a property (e.g. from residential to commercial)

– Adding or altering a building (e.g. building an extension or changing the roof structure)

– Constructing a new building on a piece of land

– Demolishing a building

– Carrying out works on a building that is located in a conservation area

Written Permission Fee for Change of Use

If you require planning permission for a change of use, you will need to pay a submission fee to the URA. The amount of the fee will depend on the type and size of the property, as well as the proposed use. The URA’s website provides a fee calculator that can help you determine the amount of the fee.

Relationship between Planning Permission and Building and Development Works

Planning permission is an important aspect of building and development works in Singapore. Without planning permission, it is illegal to carry out any works that involve a change of use, addition or alteration to a building, or a new building on a piece of land. Therefore, it is important to obtain the necessary planning permission before starting any works.


In conclusion, planning permission is a legal requirement for property owners and architects in Singapore. It regulates the use of land and buildings to ensure that development is carried out in a sustainable and responsible manner. As a property owner or architect, it is important to understand the planning permission process and its requirements to avoid any legal issues.

At ADX Architects, we work closely with our clients to ensure that their development applications are submitted correctly and that all necessary planning permissions are obtained. By following the guidelines and regulations set out by the Singapore authorities, we can create a safe and sustainable built environment for all.

$63 million Green Mark Incentive Scheme and how building owners can tap into this


The Green Mark Incentive Scheme (GMIS) is a program developed by the Building Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) to encourage the adoption of sustainable building practices in Singapore. The program aims to incentivize building owners to implement sustainability strategies and measures in their properties, ultimately reducing the carbon footprint of Singapore’s built environment. In this article, we will provide an overview of the GMIS, its objectives, and the benefits it offers to building owners who participate in the program. We will also discuss the application process and address some common questions about the Green Mark Scheme.

What is the Green Mark Scheme?

The Green Mark Scheme is a voluntary certification program developed by the Building Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) to promote sustainable building practices and reduce the environmental impact of buildings in Singapore. The program evaluates the sustainability performance of buildings and awards ratings based on the use of sustainable materials, energy efficiency, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, and other criteria. The Green Mark certification is awarded at different levels based on the rating achieved, with higher levels indicating more sustainable buildings.

The BCA sets sustainability standards, strategies, and measures that are used to evaluate buildings for the Green Mark certification. These standards cover various aspects of building design, construction, and operations, including energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, and sustainable materials. The BCA regularly updates these standards to reflect advances in technology and sustainable building practices, ensuring that the Green Mark Scheme remains relevant and effective.

Incentives for Green Buildings in Singapore

Singapore offers various incentives to encourage the adoption of sustainable building practices, including tax incentives, funding support, and the Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings 2.0 (GMIS).

The GMIS is a key component of Singapore’s efforts to incentivize building owners to retrofit their properties with energy-efficient features and other sustainability measures. Under the GMIS, building owners who upgrade their buildings to achieve higher Green Mark ratings are eligible for cash incentives. The scheme offers up to SGD 15 million in incentives each year, and a total of SGD 63 million has been allocated for the scheme through 2023.

In addition to the GMIS, the Singapore government offers various grants and funding support to encourage the adoption of sustainable building practices. These programs include the Green Building Retrofit Fund and the Public Sector Sustainability Plan. Building owners can also tap into funding support from banks and other financial institutions to finance their sustainability initiatives.

These incentives demonstrate the Singapore government’s commitment to sustainability and its recognition of the importance of promoting sustainable building practices. They also provide building owners with financial support to invest in sustainability measures that can lead to long-term cost savings and environmental benefits.

How Building Owners Can Tap Into the Green Mark Incentive Scheme

Building owners can tap into the Green Mark Icentive Scheme (GMIS) by applying for Green Mark certification and upgrading their buildings to achieve higher ratings. One option for building owners is to participate in the Green Mark Gross Floor Area Incentive Scheme, which offers cash incentives based on the increase in Green Mark rating achieved after the retrofit.

Participating in the GMIS offers various benefits for building owners, including the potential for long-term cost savings and increased property values. Sustainable features, such as super low energy or zero energy cooling systems and automation systems and sensors, can lead to lower utility bills and reduced operating costs. In addition, buildings with Green Mark certification are more attractive to tenants and investors who are looking for environmentally friendly properties.

While there may be upfront costs associated with retrofitting a building to meet Green Mark standards, the long-term savings and benefits can outweigh the initial investment. Building owners can also tap into government grants and funding support to help finance their sustainability initiatives.

There are many successful examples of green building projects in Singapore that have participated in the GMIS, including the BCA Academy, which achieved the highest Green Mark Platinum rating, and the National Library Board Building, which achieved the Green Mark Platinum rating for existing buildings. These projects demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of implementing sustainable building practices in Singapore’s tropical climate.

How to Apply for the Green Mark Certification

To apply for Green Mark certification, building owners must submit an application to the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA). The application should include information about the building’s sustainability strategies and measures, including energy efficiency, water conservation, and indoor environmental quality. The application will be evaluated based on the Green Mark rating system, which is calculated based on a point system across various categories such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, and environmental protection.

Architects and M&E (mechanical and electrical) engineers play important roles in the Green Mark certification process. They are responsible for designing and implementing sustainable features and ensuring that they meet the Green Mark standards. They also work with the building owner to identify opportunities for energy and water conservation and other sustainability measures.

The Green Mark rating system is calculated based on a point system, with higher ratings indicating greater levels of sustainability. The points are allocated across various categories such as energy efficiency, water efficiency, and environmental protection. The final rating is based on the total number of points earned, and buildings can be rated from Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Applying for Green Mark certification requires a commitment to sustainable building practices and a willingness to invest in sustainability measures. However, the benefits of achieving higher Green Mark ratings can be substantial, including lower operating costs, increased property values, and a positive impact on the environment.

Downsides of Applying for Green Mark Certification

While there are many benefits to achieving Green Mark certification, there are also some downsides to consider. One of the main concerns is the upfront costs associated with implementing sustainability measures. Depending on the level of certification sought, building owners may need to invest in expensive upgrades such as super low energy or zero energy cooling systems, automation systems and sensors, or retrofitting of existing infrastructure assets.

Another potential downside is the ongoing costs associated with maintaining and monitoring the sustainability features. This may require hiring specialized staff or third-party consultants to monitor and optimize the building’s energy and water usage. Additionally, achieving high Green Mark ratings may require regular upgrades or retrofits to maintain the certification, which can add to ongoing costs.

Finally, it’s important to note that Green Mark certification may not be mandatory for your project. While many building owners are voluntarily pursuing certification to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, others may choose not to invest in the certification process due to the upfront costs or other priorities.

VII. Conclusion

The Green Mark Incentive Scheme and Green Mark certification are important components of Singapore’s efforts to promote sustainable building practices. Building owners who invest in sustainability measures can benefit from lower operating costs, increased property values, and a positive impact on the environment. While achieving certification requires a commitment to sustainability and an investment of resources, the long-term benefits make it a worthwhile endeavor for many building owners.

While it may not be mandatory to get your building certified for Green Mark, it is becoming increasingly common and may soon become a requirement for certain types of buildings or projects. It is already a requirement for new construction buildings of a certain size and scale. In time to come, being Green Mark certified may be an expectation and the preferred choice for potential tenants. Building owners who choose not to pursue certification may find themselves at a disadvantage in the marketplace.

If you have any questions about the Green Mark Scheme or how to apply for certification, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Building Construction Authority of Singapore or a qualified Singapore architect firm, like ADX Architects for guidance. ADX Architects has successfully achieved Green Mark Gold Plus Award for their boutique commercial project Faci Asia Pacific Office. With the right expertise and support, building owners can tap into the benefits of the Green Mark Incentive Scheme and make a positive impact on the environment and their bottom line.

What questions should you ask when shortlisting a Singapore Architect?

You have a landed property to rebuild or redevelop and you need an architect. You have done your homework and you have shortlisted 2 architect firms, firm A and firm B.

Based on your preliminary research, both architect firm A and architect firm B seem capable of delivering your landed property project so how do you decide who to hire?

As the property owner, you will place different emphasis and value on different questions.
For example, some property owners will place high emphasis on the question “Who from the architect firm will I be dealing with on a regular basis?  Is this the same person who will design my project?”
They may place this question as #1 on their list because they want to deal directly with the principal architect of the Singapore architect firm and they don’t want their project to be handed off to someone else.

These property owners see value of having the principal’s direct involvement because he/she is the most invested in your project’s success.

After receiving answers to your questions, you will immediately have a decision-making tool at your disposal to decide which Singapore architect firm to go with.

Below are some questions for you to consider.


What is your design philosophy?

What sets your firm apart from other architects with similar experience?

Do you have experience with the building type and size of my project?

Could you share with me a portfolio of similar projects and provide a list of client references?



What are the steps in your design process, and how are they organized?

What criteria will you use to create priorities and make design decisions?

As a landed property owner, what do you expect me to provide?


Who from the architecture firm will I be dealing with on a regular basis? Is this the person who will design my project?
How do you manage the project in terms of progress, updates and change management?


What is your recommended process to appoint a builder?
What steps will be taken to ensure that qualified builders have a fair and equal opportunity to submit their applications?

How disruptive will construction be?

What role do you play during pre-construction, actual construction and post-construction?
Am I expected to work with the builder directly?

Green Design

Do you have experience with “green” or sustainable design?

Do you regularly integrate low or no cost sustainable design strategies into projects?

Considering the many areas that may be affected by sustainable design, how will you determine which options to pursue?

If sustainable design technologies are implemented, do upfront costs exist that may affect the construction budget? Are there potential return on investments or government rebates?


How are your architect professional fees calculated?

In anticipation of a formal quotation from the builder with costs, what would you expect your fee to be for my landed property project?

What is included in your basic services and what services would incur additional fees?

If the scope of the project changes later in the project, will there be additional fees?

How will these fees be justified? How will this be communicated to me?

What is your track record with completing a project within the original budget? What are the possible variations in costs and will it affect your professional fees?

Interest and Schedule

Are you interested in taking on this job?

How busy are you? Are you able to fit this into your schedule?


We hope you will find the above questions helpful during your Singapore architect selection process.

As professional architects ourselves, it is our hope that the above list of questions we have prepared will:
i. lead you to a clearer decision on selecting a suitable Singapore architect.

ii. also prepare you mentally that your choice of architect will directly impact the process, implementation, overall experience and outcome of your landed property project.

For additional questions about developing your Singapore landed property, feel free to talk to us about your project. ADX Architects will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

The Home Owners Guide to developing your Landed Property in Singapore


Landed property in Singapore is a popular choice for those who are looking to purchase homes in this country. A landed property has the least number of restrictions and offers more space. If you have a large family or looking for more space, a landed property is definitely worth considering. Many people are opting for landed properties in Singapore as they offer space, greenery and flexibility in its use. Expatriates prefer to lease these homes especially for these reasons too.

What is a landed property?

A landed property is a piece of real estate with a building or structure on it, unlike a vacant lot. In Singapore, landed properties are typically houses on small plots of land, and can be found in various suburbs from central regions to outer central regions. Prices will vary according to the size of the houses, land plot and location.

There are many types of landed properties to suit your needs. Most local people prefer to buy their landed property instead of renting. They purchase these properties because they can build additions and alterations (A&A) on them. Hence, they can customize these houses to their needs and preferences.

Landed Property in Singapore

A landed property is a house located on private land with an area of land surrounding it that belongs to the homeowner. Landed properties are one of the most popular types of property in Singapore and have been for a long time.

It is essential to consult with an expert or architect and get all the information you need before deciding to develop your landed property in Singapore.

Legal Documents for Landed Property Ownership

As a landed property owner in Singapore, you must submit certain drawings and documents for approval from the relevant authorities before proceeding with any development or construction work on your land.

If you plan to sell or lease your developed property, you must complete all the works and obtain an occupation permit from the Building Control Authority.  This permit is only issued after all development works have been completed and inspected by the relevant authorities. This is usually done by a registered architect in Singapore.

Types of Landed Properties in Singapore

There are various types of landed properties that one can purchase. There are two main types:

  • Freehold (owned outright)
  • Leasehold (long-term tenancy)

Freehold properties are usually preferred for its long-term ownership. Both freehold and leasehold properties give the owners flexibility in doing addition and alteration works. There are other types of landed properties such as cluster houses. These are built as an overall development in a gated community.

For such homes, you may not be able to do any major additions and alterations unless the Management Corporation permits.

Location of the Landed property

It’s important to know the location of your property before buying it, as this will determine the commuting distance from public transport routes and private schools. Depending on the zoning, there may be different rules that determine the addition and alterations you can make for your house, such as the height and setback controls, A planning permission will also be required for any additions or alterations you wish to make, including adding an extension or installing a swimming pool.

Measurements of a Landed Property

Some of the measurements of a landed property are the size of the area and the shape. The size of a landed property is measured by how many square feet it is, and the shape can be rectangular, triangular, or pentagonal. This is undertaken by a registered land surveyor.

Planning permission and infrastructure costs

If you are developing your landed property, you must consider that you may need to obtain a building permit and submit your plans to the relevant authorities. This is a necessary step because your building plans may affect the surroundings. There could be height restrictions, noise restrictions and also thematic or aesthetic restrictions. Infrastructure costs could include the construction of sewers, drainage, airways, ventilation, ducting, water pipes, electricity lines, and other services that are needed as part of your design.

Additions and Alterations (A&A)

A&A can range from relatively simple tasks, such as adding a room or enlarging a kitchen, to more complex projects, such as adding a swimming pool or changing the facade of the building. The cost of these additions will depend on the size and complexity of the project.


In Singapore, many different types of residences can be used for reconstruction: single-story terrace houses, semi-detached houses, and bungalows.


It is always a good idea to have a plan for rebuilding your home should the need arise. In some cases, it might even be necessary.


In summary, here are the key points you need to know about developing a landed property in Singapore: – Landed properties are high value assets. You may need to consider a bank loan to make it happen. There are technical issues when developing a landed property. Seeking advice from experienced landed property professionals like ADX Architects can make all the difference.

Frequently Asked Question

  • How much does it cost to rebuild landed property in Singapore?

The cost of rebuilding landed property in Singapore varies depending on the size and condition of the property. Generally, rebuilding a landed property is more expensive than purchasing an existing one. The cost of rebuilding a landed property also depends on the type of foundation that is required. If the soil conditions are poor, it may be necessary to use a more expensive foundation.

  • Is landed property a good investment in Singapore?

Yes, it is a good investment if you know what you are getting into. It might not be the best idea if you don’t know what you are doing. There are a lot of hidden costs, and they require time and skill.

  • What happens to landed property after 99 years in Singapore?

After 99 years, the landed property will revert back to the Government.

  • How many Singaporeans stay in landed property?

There is no proper justification for this question but approximately 73,000 landed property units can be found in Singapore as of the year 2021. There are only a few available landed properties due to their low density. The most recent figures from the Department of Statistics show that there are mostly private residential properties in Singapore, and about 73,000 of these are landed properties.

Source: https://ohmyhome.com/en-sg/blog/the-analysis-behind-landed-properties-in-singapore/

Steps involved when building or rebuilding your Singapore bungalow house

Rebuilding your Singapore bungalow house?

This guide will be an invaluable resource for anyone who is planning to rebuild their Singapore bungalow house.

We will help you to understand important considerations like budget, project planning, site preparation, design and build as well as inspection, handover and beyond.

From securing permits to reviving the rich heritage of your Singapore bungalow house, we hope this guide serves you well!

Project Planning

Project planning is a process that is crucial to the success of any project. It helps to ensure that the project will be completed on time and within budget. Project planning can be done in one of two ways: top-down or bottom-up. The first way, top-down, is where you decide on the goal and then work out how to achieve it. The other way, bottom-up, is where you decide on what needs to happen and then work out how to achieve it.

A good piece of advice is to sit down with a qualified Singapore architect and ask how their professional services can help you in planning, design, budgeting, visualization, tendering, management, coordination, quality control, handover and post-handover issues.


Structural and Interior Design Planning

The design process is an important phase in the construction of your Singapore bungalow. It includes the design of the building’s interior and exterior and could include various sections of the property like a yard, open area, parking lot or swimming pool.

With the help of a Singapore architect, you will get a design that takes into account environmental factors such as climate and location, technical factors like the choice of materials and the use of natural lighting and airflow. A good architect will also accommodate budget concerns to control the overall costs for the construction of the house.

There is a saying that 95% of mistakes are attributed to poor or inadequate planning.

Construction design mistakes can be costly to remedy once cast in brick and stone.

Be wise and allow your professional Singapore architect to design your Singapore bungalow house that meets your current and future needs.

Your Singapore architect will use modern tools like 3D models and renderings to assist you in visualizing how his/her design plan can meet and exceed your needs and expectations.


Site Preparation and Site Survey

Site preparation is a process of preparing the ground for construction. The first step in site preparation is demolition. Demolition is the removal of existing buildings, infrastructure, and other unwanted structures from the site. Hacking is the removal of building materials and even vegetation like trees from the site.

Site survey is a process of analyzing and documenting existing conditions on the site such as soil type, topography, utilities within or near the property lines and in some cases environmental hazards.

As part of site survey, soil investigation is carried out. The final report determines its composition and what kind of structural support is required to support the house. It also determines what type of foundation is used.

Your appointed builder should prepare all of the above with the appointment and management of the appropriate sub-contractors and specialists.


Singapore Bungalow Construction

The construction of your Singapore bungalow is typically done in phases by a main contractor and this has to be well-coordinated. A qualified architect will be key to managing your bungalow project from start to finish.

The foundation for Singapore bungalow construction is typically made up of concrete, which is then reinforced with steel rebars. The beams are then erected on top of the foundation and the roofing and structure are built from there. After the structure is done, the architectural works will commence. These works include brick works, aluminum doors and windows installation and internal works including installation of floor tiles, sanitary wares and fittings and mechanical and electrical systems and ceiling works.

At this architectural works stage, it is crucial the process, sequence and timing is scheduled properly by the main contractor. Otherwise, there will be serious delays in completion. This is responsibility of the main contractor.


Inspection, Handover and beyond

The process of inspecting and handing over a new house is a crucial part of the building process. It is important to make sure that the property meets all of the requirements and has been built to a high standard.

The architect will check the main contractor’s works and ensure all works are done and ready for authority inspections.

After handover, the defects liability period kicks in. The Defects Liability Period is the period of time where the main contractor will be responsible to replace and fix any construction defects in a building, appliance or fixture. Do note that defects may not be obvious to you as the owner, and an architect can be consulted. Once the defects is identified, the main contractor has to rectify it. Usually the defects liability period is for 12 months after handover.



Building or rebuilding your Singapore bungalow house is no mean feat. There could be technical issues that arise during this project. Given the complexity of this subject, we would advise seeking the advice from experienced bungalow professionals like ADX Architects to better guide you and become your trusted advisor.

How much does it cost to build or rebuild my Singapore bungalow house


For many, the idea of having a bungalow house is the epitome of luxury. We are all aware by now that the costs of house construction have increased significantly since the onset of the COVID pandemic. The implications of workforce shortage and higher materials have, no doubt, had a significant impact on costs. So how can you build a Singapore bungalow house cost-effectively and modernly? Keep reading to find out!

How can you build a Singapore bungalow house in a cost-effective and modern way?

Building a bungalow house in Singapore is not as expensive as one might think. Planning and creativity make it easy to build a cost-effective and modern bungalow house in Singapore. There are various ways to build a bungalow house in Singapore. One way is to use prefabricated materials which can be easily assembled on site. This is a popular method as it is relatively cheaper and faster to construct. Another way is to use traditional construction methods where the house is built from scratch using bricks and mortar. This method is more expensive, but it allows for more customization and flexibility in the design of the house.

Whatever method you choose, you need to consider several things to build a cost-effective bungalow house in Singapore. Consider the area of the plot of land you have available. The land size will determine the maximum size of the bungalow house you can build. This is because there is a limit to site coverage.

Secondly, you need to consider the costs of materials and labour. In Singapore, labour costs are relatively high, so getting quotes from different contractors is important before deciding who to hire. Lastly, you need to factor in the costs of permits.

Different types of property development in Singapore

There are many different types of property development in Singapore. The most common type of development is the private residential development, which includes landed and high-rise residential projects. The other main types of developments are commercial, retail, industrial, and mixed. Commercial developments include office buildings, while retail includes shopping complexes. Industrial developments include factories and warehouses. Mixed developments combine two or more different types of development, such as a shopping mall with a residential or office space above it.

The cost of developing a piece of land will vary depending on the type of development, the land’s location, and the land’s size. If you plan to develop a piece of land, it is important to consult a professional property developer to get an accurate estimate of the costs involved.

Complete New Erection

When building a new home in Singapore, the construction cost can vary widely depending on the size, design and specifications of the project. This refers to the products and materials used for the exterior and interior areas. Obviously, the overall design will play a major role in the final price tag. However, if you plan to build a new bungalow home in Singapore, it is important to know the potential costs involved. With that said, let’s take a closer look at some of the key factors that will impact the cost of building a new bungalow house in Singapore:

  • The size of the plot of land: One of the most important factors affecting the cost of your new home is the size of the plot of land on which it will be built. In general, the larger the plot of land, the more expensive it will be to construct your home.
  • The design: This will depend on your requirements – from the number of bedrooms, whether there is a basement or swimming pool or an extensive outdoor garden- all your wish-list of items will affect cots.
  • The type of materials used: Another important factor that will affect the cost of your new bungalow property.

Reconstruction/ Additions and Alterations

The cost of reconstructing your bungalow house in Singapore can be quite high, depending on the size and condition of your property. If you plan to reconstruct your bungalow, it depends on what items you are changing or adding. For a typical reconstruction project, the per square foot rate can be higher than a new erection at times. This is due to the higher complexity for this type of work. Therefore, getting a clear idea of what you want to do before getting quotes from contractors is important. It is very crucial to engage an architect for this process.

New Erection

As a guide, bungalows can cost anywhere from $400 per square foot to over $800 per square foot basis. This is calculated based on the overall build-up area of the bungalow. That means the bigger the land and the larger the area achieved, the higher the cost for the new erection. It is worth noting new built bungalow project is easier to estimate in terms of costs compared to a reconstruction/addition and alteration project.

Cost guide for rebuild

Are you thinking of rebuilding your bungalow in Singapore? If so, you may be amazed at how much it will cost. There are a few factors to consider when budgeting for a rebuild, such as the size of your bungalow, the materials you use, and whether you hire a professional contractor or do the work yourself. As a general guide, expect to pay around $350 per square foot for a basic rebuild. This price can increase if you use premium materials or finishes or hire a professional manager to manage the project. If you’re planning a complete rebuild from scratch, your costs will be higher. For a rough estimate, the budget is around $500 or more per square foot. Again, this price can increase depending on your chosen materials and finishes.

When budgeting for your rebuild, it’s important to factor in all costs, including demolition, site preparation, and waste disposal. These costs can add up quickly, so adjust your budget before starting any work.

Cost guide for Additions and Alterations

Are you planning to do some modifications to your bungalow house in Singapore? Such works are termed as addition and alteration works. Perhaps you are wondering how much it will cost.

The cost of such works to a bungalow house in Singapore can vary depending on the size and scope of the project. However, some then costs involved may be difficult to ascertain. This is because while there is no increase of area, there are still changes to materials and sometimes even the structure. For example, if you plan to add a room to your bungalow house, it may involve changes to all the timber floors and some addition of brick work and structural supports. For extensions to an existing bungalow, the costs are quite similar to a new build. Hence for a typical extension of the side or rear of the house, you can expect to pay between $400 to $800 per square foot basis. So if the overall addition of area is 1000 square foot, the cost could be about $400,000 plus/minus.

Minor Additions & Alterations cost guide.

Are you planning on making minor changes or additions to your Singapore bungalow home? If so, you may be curious about how much it might cost. Here is a cost guide for some common minor additions and alterations:

  • Adding a lift: $50,000-$150,000
  • Adding a swimming pool: $100,000 – $300,000
  • Adding/changing a car porch canopy: $150,000 – $300,000
  • Landscaping: $5,000 – $10,000

These are just estimated costs for some common minor additions and alterations at time of this article. The actual cost will depend on the size and scope of the project, the materials used, the contractor you hire, etc. If you plan on making any changes or additions to your home, get several quotes from various builders to get an accurate cost estimate.

Major Additions & Alterations cost guide.

As many variables are involved, estimating the cost of major additions and alterations (A&A) to a Singapore bungalow house isn’t easy.

Some factors that will affect the cost of A&A works include the size and layout of your bungalow house, the extent of works required, the materials used, and the fees of the architects, engineers, and contractors involved.

Suppose you plan to do major A&A works on your Singapore bungalow house. In that case, it is advisable to engage the services of a professional Singapore architect to prepare detailed drawings and obtain the necessary Authority approvals before starting work. A Singapore registered architect can also document drawings and specifications and oversee the building works. This will help to ensure that the works are carried out smoothly and according to plan and can help to avoid potential cost overruns.

Things to keep in mind when building or rebuilding a house in Singapore

When building or rebuilding a home in Singapore, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. You need to be aware of the cost. Construction costs in Singapore can be quite high, so getting an accurate estimate is important before beginning any work is important. Secondly, you must ensure you have all the necessary permits and approvals from the relevant authorities. Without these, your construction project could be delayed, suspended or even halted altogether. Lastly, it’s always a good idea to consult with experienced professionals before embarking on any major building project. With their help, you can avoid making costly mistakes and ensure that your home is built or rebuilt to your specifications.


The cost of building or rebuilding a bungalow house in Singapore can vary greatly depending on the property’s size, style, and location. The costs can vary and it does cost a tidy sum. It is worthwhile to remember that a bungalow is a lifetime investment that will provide you with many years of enjoyment. If you plan on building or rebuilding your own bungalow house in Singapore, budget carefully and consult with ADX Architects to get the best possible results.

Rebuild, Reconstruction or Additions and Alterations – Understanding the different options from the perspective of a Singapore property owner


If you are looking for a modern house for you and your family, you might be wondering about your options for renovation or reconstruction. There are many benefits to rebuilding a new home rather than renovating the old one, but it may not be suitable for everyone.

If you’re looking to renovate your property in Singapore, it’s essential to know what constitutes an addition and alteration versus reconstruction. This article will explore the differences and when they would be appropriate so that you can make a more informed decision.

Understanding the different rebuilding options for your home

Many ways are available when it comes to rebuilding or reconstructing your home. Here, we take a look at the three main types of rebuilding and their respective pros and cons:


Rebuild: This is the most common type of rebuilding and involves tearing down and rebuilding the house. So this means everything is demolished. This also means rebuilding is the costliest mode of construction because the entire old house is demolished and new one is built. This applies if the existing house is too old to be livable.


Reconstruction: This option is typically cheaper than rebuild but may not be as comprehensive. Basically, the existing concrete structure of the floor slab and columns have to be retained. There can be changes to the walls, extension to various areas, addition of a new attic level or changes to the roof.


Addition and Alteration: This is the least major type of rebuilding and involves minor changes to the existing house. It involves adding or altering certain areas without completely replacing it. This option is usually cheaper than reconstruction or rebuilding but may not offer as much options or flexibility.


What do you need to consider when making this decision?

Rebuilding or reconstructing a property can be expensive and time-consuming, so deciding what’s best for your property and situation is essential. Consider the following things when deciding which option is best for your property:

  • What are your current and future needs for the house?
  • How much cost can you afford?
  • What is the timeline for the completion of the project?
  • What kind of damage or defects is the house suffering from?
  • Do you want to rebuild or reconstruct the same site or sell it and move the project location?
  • Do you want to change the look of the house because it is getting old and dated?
  • Will the new construction look good?


What are the benefits of Rebuilding and Reconstructing?

There are many benefits of rebuilding and reconstructing an old Singapore property. Here are a few:

  • It can improve the livability of your home and it will suit your current or new requirements for the house. This could be a new addition to the home, such as children; or it can be elderly parents moving in.
  • It can improve the power and energy efficiency of the house. This includes building with better materials, good orientation, or simply installing solar panels for energy generation for the long term. In some houses, there are modern technology and intelligent systems that can also improve how the lights or aircon is controlled.
  • It can also increase its resale value because it will look more appealing to potential buyers.
  • Finally, the reconstruction process can be very cost-effective, especially if you have an existing house. You may rather rebuild or reconstruct than buy a new house at today’s prices.

Planning and Budgeting for Renovations

Renovating your home is a big decision – one that can have a significant impact on your lifestyle. Before starting any renovation project, it’s crucial to clearly understand what you want and how much you’re willing to spend. Here are some tips for budgeting for renovations:

1. Get organized

Ensure you have all the information you need before starting your renovation – from estimates to floor plans. This will help reduce confusion and speed up the process.

2. Understand your needs

When considering how much to spend, be specific about what you want to change or improve. This will help you pinpoint what upgrades are necessary and which are luxury enhancements that you can live without.

3. Choose the right contractor

There’s no shame in using a contractor who offers affordable rates and quality artistry. Many homeowners prefer this approach because they know their bills will stay controlled.

4. Save money on materials

Renovating your home can be cost effective if you plan and use economical and durable materials. Good material does not mean expensive. Likewise, using sustainabile or recycled materials does not mean it has to be costly. Check with your architect for the latest materials and technology that can save you money in the long run.

Finding a Qualified Contractor

When making any major renovation or reconstruction project on your property in Singapore, you’ll need to find a qualified contractor or builder..

  • Make sure the contractor is qualified and registered with the Building Construction Authority of Singapore.
  • Ask for references from previous clients.
  • Make a clear definition of the scope of work before signing on the dotted line.

Always get a written contract specifying all the project details, including estimated costs and completion dates. Check quality assurance measures, such as daily check-ins by the contractor, to make sure everything is proceeding as planned.

How Much Time is Required for Rebuilding versus Reconstruction versus Addition and Alterations?

When it comes to rebuilding or reconstructing your Singapore property, you may wonder how much time is required. Here are different options from the perspective of a Singapore property owner:


Rebuilding: This takes the longest period and it is good if you are not in a rush to complete the rebuilding of the house. Depending on the size of the house, this can take up to 2 years.


Reconstruction: This work can vary depending on the requirements. In some cases, reconstruction can be similar to a new rebuilt house. That is probably because the reconstruction is very major and involves replacing a lot of the house except the structure. Generally, reconstruction will take between 1 to 2 years.


Addition and Alterations: A&A work as it is commonly known means making minor changes to an existing building excluding the existing structure. Before the COVID pandemic, A&A work used to take a much shorter period of time. Most people expect it to be done in 4-6 months’ time. However, in today’s situation, such work may take 6-10 months depending on the extent of the work.


When it comes to rebuilding or adding to your Singapore property, there are a few different options open to you. ADX Architects is here to help you make an informed and well-organized decision when making alterations or additions to your property in Singapore. Thank you for reading!

The Benefits of a Good Architect for Your Bungalow Project in Singapore

Hiring the services of an architect in Singapore may seem like an added expense for your bungalow project, especially if you have a tight budget. But, in reality, hiring an architect is an investment that will add value to your property. Whether it is building a bungalow from scratch or renovating your existing bungalow, an architect can save you sleepless nights and potential headaches in trying to get the most out of your bungalow project.

Here are some of the top benefits of hiring a good architect –

Excellent Understanding of Your Needs

A great bungalow design is not just about the appearance. It should also fulfil the needs of the owner. An experienced architect knows the importance of spending time to understand the owner’s present lifestyle and future needs. The Architect will explore several possibilities when it comes to the bungalow design to ensure the owner’s likes and dislikes are incorporated into it.

Creative & Sustainable Solutions

It is common for unforeseen issues to arise throughout the process of design to the construction of the bungalow project. Afterall, the lifestyles do vary from one house owner to another. Almost anyone can find complex solutions to a problem but it is the Architect that uses simple and creative solutions to solve complex design problems that stands out above the crowd. Through experience, careful research and creative planning of the space, they are able to find the right strategies and materials that would make your project stand out while still being cost effective.

Quality Materials & Designs

When you are looking for an outstanding look and feel to your bungalow, picking the appropriate materials is crucial. You may pick a material you like, but it may not be the right one that would fit your home’s design. Your Architect ensures that the materials picked are both aesthetically beautiful and of good practicality and quality.

Avoid Design Errors

Architects are trained to keep themselves up-to-date about best designs and good practices. They are extremely detailed and create highly accurate drawings to ensure there are no design errors. Realistic information early on in the process ensures the project is completed well within time and budget.

Coordinating with the Builder

An Architect not only helps you pick a qualified builder but will also act as an advisor during the construction phase. They will visit the site on a regular basis and hold meetings with the builder to ensure that the project is up to the set standards and as per the design documents.

Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

A professional Architect will constantly monitor your bungalow project to ensure it is built to the correct specifications and authority regulations. They work alongside contractors to check and confirm that all works are built right. They also evaluate different materials and systems for performance from the contractor to ensure you are getting what you paid for.

Summary – Architects in Singapore Make Your Life Easier

Hiring an Architect for your bungalow project is invaluable as it gives you peace of mind knowing the right one can help simplify difficult decisions. They can also detect any problems before and during the construction that can help save you money that otherwise might be too costly to change later on. With an excellent design developed in a timely fashion, you can rest assured that your project will be completed efficiently and economically.

At ADX Architects, our passion is to translate your wishes into a beautiful, functional bungalow design that fits your lifestyle needs. If you have decided to hire an architect in Singapore, contact us, and we will be happy to discuss your bungalow project and any needs you may have.

How to Pick the Right Size Firm for Your Landed Property Renovation in Singapore

As a proud owner of landed property in Singapore, you want to add maximum value to it. One way to do it is by renovating it to meet modern standards. Landed properties are in high demand in Singapore and come with many privileges. Unlike renovating your condos, which come with restrictions, landed houses have unlimited scope for owners. You can easily match the property’s exterior and interior to your lifestyle and aesthetics.

What is a Landed House in Singapore?

In Singapore, a landed house means the owner also has the title to the land and the house that sits on it. Owners do not have to pay any monthly maintenance or parking fees. Owners of landed houses can easily tear down the house and rebuild it as long as it follows the local laws. Most landed houses in Singapore are of a freehold tenure which makes for the most value in Singapore property.

Areas of the Property Where You Should Not Cut Corners

If you have recently bought a prized landed property in Singapore, you would want to renovate it to the best contemporary standards. As one of the most expensive and prestigious forms of property, your landed property deserves to be perfectly designed and renovated to its full potential.

There are a variety of things you can do to your landed property, but here are the most important areas of the property you need to focus on –

  • Landscaping – Do not underestimate the power of first impressions. Quality landscaping, new exterior fixers, manicured lawn and other exterior features can make your home look bright and inviting.
  • Stairways – Remodeling your stairways can have a huge impact on the space. You can add an extra closet under the stairs for storage or even completely open it up to let light into the area from behind the stairs. Possibilities are endless.
  • Windows & Doors – New windows and doors will not only improve the aesthetic of your house but also make your home more energy efficient and soundproof.
  • Roofing – The roof is the most important part of your home, so replacing the roof is a great investment. You can choose from exciting design elements while making your home energy efficient with a new roof.
  • Details – Whether it is the colour, brand, cabinets, appliances or even flooring, there are a number of decisions when it comes to materials you need to use in your home renovation. You should be able to weigh your options to determine where to splurge and where you can save.
  • Selection of Suitable Materials – The choice of materials will play a major role in how your house will look and feel. Thus, choosing the right materials and finishes for your home will be a critical decision you need to make when opting for renovation.

Picking the Right Firm for Landed Property Renovation

Renovating your landed property can completely change the structure, layout and even the style of your home. Here are some tips to help you guide on the critical things to look for to partner with a reputed and trustworthy form you will enjoy working with.

Here are some useful tips to get you started on your landed property renovation project –

  • Set a Renovation Budget – Knowing your budget and sticking to it is among the most important part of landed property renovations. Thus, plan your budget before hiring a firm for renovation. You also need to add a little contingency fund for any unexpected cost that might crop up.
  • Make a List of What You Need & Want – Make a master checklist of everything you need and want that will make budgeting decisions easier. Not only will it help you get an accurate estimate, but it will also make comparing firms easier.
  • Perform a Background Check – it is important to ensure that the firm you pick is licensed and insured. Check the past projects that they have worked on. You can make a list of their previous clients and call them to find their feedback on working with the firm.
  • Schedule an Appointment – It pays to interview multiple firms before hiring them. It allows you to pick the one that best fits you and your project. Have a list of questions to ask the firm so you can narrow them down later based on their answers.


You are going to spend a lot on your property renovation, so hiring the right firm from the start is critical to ensure it is correctly designed. Since you are opening up your house to a team to bring your vision to life, you need to be sure that the firm you pick can handle your project properly. When you have an overall great experience with the firm, the final results will surely be exceptional!

ADX Architects is a Singapore-based architecture firm specializing in landed properties. Reach us here if you have any queries regarding our services or about landed property renovation plans. We will set up a call to chat about your project.

How to Add Value to Your Residential Property?

Do not get carried away with the prospect of starting a new house project and taking on the role of designer and project management all by yourself. Many people walk around the street, and think they can just approach any builder to copy a similar house they like along the street. It is usually not as easy and simple as you might think.

Whether you are looking for a simple renovation of your existing home or starting from scratch to build a new home in Singapore, getting a Singapore registered architect from the start is a wise step that will pay dividends later. That is because a registered architect with the relevant experience to work on residential projects will have a host of skills that are crucial to making things work.

At ADX Architects, we specialize in creating homes that add value to both people’s lives and the value of the property! It is not just a firm you hire to design your project. ADX Architects can provide you with the full suite of architectural services you need for your construction project. The amount of time and money you will spend on constructing your residential property will be significant. So, make sure you get it done the right way.

Here are some of the ways that ADX architects can add real value to your residential property in Singapore.

  • Improved Quality of Life and Well-Being

One way ADX architects add value is by creating a home you will enjoy living and growing in. A happy and enjoyable home is crucial for health, happiness and overall well-being. While happiness, safety and pride may seem intangible at the start, you will soon realize that they directly correlate with your physical and mental health.

Our architect designs space that provides adequate air and light into the space. Appropriate light levels, natural ventilation and acoustic properties are used to keep you happy and healthy. Taking advantage of Singapore’s tropical climate and local site orientation, the spaces that are created will yield numerous tangible and intangible benefits.

  • Improved Functionality, Productivity and Efficiency

Another crucial way Singapore architects add value and save you money is by improving the functionality and efficiency of your home. While it is difficult to see the direct value, it is definitely there. As we lay down our plans for your house, we make efficient use of your home’s square footage to maximize utility and reduce construction and maintenance costs.

Optimizing the overall size of your home is always desirable for the best returns. ADX architects take the time to understand how you use different spaces around the house and areas where you spend a lot of time to lay it out more efficiently. We also carve out usable space in areas that may seem wasted.

  • Reduced Construction Costs

ADX Architects can create homes with affordability in mind. Functional designs, efficient floor plans and cost-effective materials selections are just a few ways we can help reduce your construction costs. We ensure the house gets built to the drawing requirements and follows all the necessary industry standards in Singapore. Our team get your ideas and needs on paper to create a stunning design before the construction starts. It is less expensive to make changes to the design before the construction is underway.

  • Lower Life-Cycle Costs

Your house’s upfront design and construction cost is just 25% of its total life cycle. While most people think of reducing the upfront cost, we also consider the remaining 25% as it will yield the highest savings for you in the end. We can make educated decisions on the kind of materials and equipment to use that can save money over time. Ensuring appropriate insulation and material selection can help lower long-term costs for your home.

  • Higher Resale Values and Better Investment

Well-designed homes have higher market value and are a better investment than most homes. When you allow ADX architects to improve your home’s efficiency, functionality, and visual appeal, its resale value increases considerably. Thus, it justifies spending money on architect’s fees if you consider the thousands of dollars, you save later.

Final Thoughts

Each house has the potential to be a great house, and great designs are achieved by the design team at ADX Architects. The services of an architect provide you with expert advice at every step of your project and a greater likelihood of the project finishing on time and to budget. Our architects in Singapore will realize your ideas, understand your concerns and embrace your needs producing a design that is unique and a fit for your lifestyle.

The Pros and Cons of Engaging Builders Vs Architects in Singapore

For anyone interested in building their home, there are two routes they can take. You can either hire a builder directly or opt for an architect first. Both of these options have pros and cons, but most people do not even realize that hiring an architect is something that even an average person can do.

In this blog post, you will get a clear vision of the differences between a builder and an architect so you can make an informed decision.


A Singapore builder is a company that completes construction projects on a contractual basis. They hire a project manager and directly employ workers that undertake the different roles necessary to undertake construction works. They are responsible for planning, leading, executing, inspecting and supervising building projects. A builder has multiple responsibilities that may vary depending on the project.


  • Responsible for Implementing Design: When you hire a builder, the construction starts almost immediately. Since they are only responsible for implementing the design, there are rarely delays unless other factors like man power issues or raw materials shortage crop up.
  • Construction Management: They simplify the entire construction project with one-stop company handling and managing all the trades involved in construction. This is done via a project manager who is able to coordinate all the works within a specified time frame.
  • Gather Permits: When builders start the project’s construction phase, they undertake the responsibility to obtain the necessary permits for construction work to commence in a safe and legal manner.
  • Accountability: Singapore builders are typically responsible for entire projects – right from scheduling to costs and the quality of the end product. When you hire them, you are entrusting them, and they are accountable to you.
  • Minimal Wait Time: Working with a builder ensures you enter the construction phase of your project quickly, with higher chances of the final construction being completed well on time.


  • Basic Floor Plans: Builders that give a quotation may not have a floor plan to quote from. Otherwise, they may use very basic floor plans that do not incorporate a lot of detailed information such as materials selection, joinery details and construction specifications. This can lead to many disagreements later, leading to cost variations.
  • Authority Lapses: The builder may not familiar with authority regulations. This can lead to headaches for the house owner especially when there are deviations and they have to pay for the rectifications.
  • Time delay: Since there is no independent professional other than the builder’s project manager handling the project, there may be a lack of accountability. At the end of the day, they can site reasons for project delay and there is no recourse for the house owner.
  • Costs overrun: Keeping to the budget is critical for all projects, be it big or small. For house owner who have paid a high price for the land, the rebuilding cost becomes important. Costs can easily overrun due to the above causes.
  • Deliver Inferior Project: Since there might not be audits or checks and balances during the construction project, the end result may be an inferior product which you may come to realize afterwards.



Singapore Architects are licensed and trained experts in designing, planning, and building homes and commercial spaces. While most people consider architects to be someone who draws up or creates the blueprints of the house, they are actually intimately involved throughout the construction project.


  • Thoughtful Design and Material Choice: Singapore registered architects give thorough thought and produce better design. From the professional drawings and documentation to the material schedule, there will definitely be a value-add when they are done by architects.
  • Avoid Design Errors: Architects especially with the right experience, can help avoid costly design errors that arise with inexperienced designers or builders.
  • Reduce Cost Significantly: The wealth of experience architects bring to the table can save you money in the long run by building efficient homes in terms of layout, structure, and energy usage.
  • Authority Submissions and Clearances: An architect can help complete authority submissions and avoid legal and environment-related problems.
  • Concerned with Codes and Regulations: They offer detailed plans to provide the builders with a clear guide to ensure the construction is up to the latest codes and regulations.
  • Control of Contractor and Construction Process: Singapore builders/contractors can be difficult and eager to enforce their opinions. Your Singapore architect is the best person to deal with them from both a technical and legal perspective. If there are any deviations in your building contract be it design, materials or process, your Singapore Architect can issue the appropriate legal documents to compel the Singapore builder/contractor to rectify the issue before completion. This helps you, the builder owner avoid unpleasant situations whereby the builder/contractor might use their professional experience in ways that might put down your complaints or diminish the validity of your arguments.  
  • Smooth Delivery and Completion: Handing over your project to your Singapore architect makes your life easier as they can take on the responsibility for managing the entire building project and ensure that it completes on time.


  • Expensive Way to Build: Some star architects may drive up the cost with high-end materials and custom products. But, they want to ensure your project looks good and is very detailed when it comes to the final product.
  • Time Commitment: Since Singapore architects require time to perfect the planning and design before the construction commences, the timeline of the entire project may be extended.

Final Thoughts           

While Singapore builders can certainly build you a home, a Singapore architect will give you a home designed around your needs rather than a template, and their expertise will help save a huge amount of money and time. If you are one of the lucky few who get to renovate or build your own home in Singapore, hiring an architect in Singapore is the best way to ensure you get the right space for life!

If reading this blog article has made you think about hiring an architect in Singapore, ADX Architects has a team of professionals who can help you with your project. For more information, get in touch today!

How to Save Significant Building Costs by Engaging an Architect during Post-Covid Times

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to human lives. One of the industries that have greatly been impacted due to the pandemic is the construction industry in Singapore. Due to manpower shortage, supply chain disruptions, and project delays, the costs of construction projects has shot up considerably. With everything going back to normal, architects are being called to reshape projects as we look ahead to a post-pandemic world.

Estimating construction costs is quite difficult. Even if you are working with experienced builders in Singapore, they are unlikely to get it spot on. The construction cost can change overnight based on the price of materials due to a multitude of factors ranging from wars, political conflict, environmental disasters, logistical issues and others.

Thus, hiring a builder before an architect may push your construction cost up considerably. When you hire an architect at the pre-construction stage, you can prevent guesstimate for your project and get a realistic estimate of what the numbers should be.

How Architects Keep Construction Costs in Check?

There are many ways an architect can help manage costs by optimizing the different aspects of construction:

• Design expertise and in-depth knowledge

In practice, an architect can provide a range of services from design, contract administration and project management. Design, however, remains the core competence of the architect. Design expertise and in-depth industry knowledge are aspects of an architect that are usually valued the highest. You cannot inherit or be born with design expertise and in-depth industry knowledge. It requires a combination of talent, perseverance and years of hard work to acquire. Design expertise in the construction industry usually means the professional ability to use knowledge and skill creatively to find solutions to problems. This can involve task clarification, concept generation, evaluation, refinement, as well as detailing design with the awareness of goals and constraints. Design expertise and in-depth industry knowledge are also some of the key aspects that every property owner should look out for when selecting an architect.

• Structured Procurement Plan

Material procurement, inventory, and handling need special attention for construction cost reduction. Architects help develop the most suitable purchasing process that involves selecting suppliers depending on different criteria such as cost, quality, speed of delivery, and specific project constraints. They also help keep better control over every stage of the procurement to keep the cost down.

• Project Administration

A Singapore architect can save you money and add value to your project by managing the builder. When you are managing the project yourself, you are at the mercy of the builder and have to trust them. Architects ensure that the build stays true to the plans and how to recognize mistakes and prevent them from going further or even avoid them altogether.

• Contract Terms to Protect Owner

The architect and owner sign a binding contract that clearly describes their responsibilities regarding designing the home to a budget. It ensures that the architect, at all times, relies on the pricing guidance of the owner’s cost estimate and meets it without compromising the quality.

• Familiarity with Authority Regulations

Architects have overseen hundreds of projects and know what’s possible within the legal limits. They help follow the right process for obtaining planning permissions and building permission, without which you could end up having to spend a lot of extra expenses like fines and even redesigning your whole project.

A Singapore registered Architect (RA) Make Your Life Easier

Your construction project may not require an architect, but it will surely benefit from one, especially during post-COVID times. If you are looking for advice about how partnering with an architect in Singapore can help reduce construction costs and add value to your project, contact ADX Architects today.

Should you hire a builder or an architect first?

If you are considering a home build in Singapore, you are probably thinking about whom to hire first – a builder or an architect? Like most homeowners, you may only get a chance to build your home once, so you want to get everything right and ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible. However, the answer to whom to hire first is not straightforward. It is important to weigh upon the pros and cons of hiring a builder or an architect first to help make a better choice for yourself.

Hiring an Architect First – Pros & Cons


  • Professional architects in Singapore have decades of experience in the construction industry and can draw upon ideas and lessons from their previous projects. Their industry knowledge of the current building trends, along with the best practices, ensure their ability to transform your dream design into reality.
  • Experienced architects will take into consideration lifestyles and hobbies and will incorporate an architectural design that will be based on the owners’ requirements and more.
  • Knowledge of varied materials in the market enables the architects to suggest the best and the most appropriate material depending on the functionality, proportion, and budget. They can also act as your quantity surveyor to ensure the exact materials specified are used in the construction process.
  • Architects prepare detailed and accurate drawings that help reduce cost significantly due to the elimination of design errors. Modern technologies allow them to have better control on designing, building, and presentation of architectural projects allowing precise estimation of project costs.
  • Architects can handle tenders of qualified builders on your behalf and ensure a fair selection of the builder without any bias. They also check for the accuracy of implementation of design throughout the construction process.
  • Architects are professionals and registered to submit to Authorities to obtain all permits for your project. They know the various Singapore government regulations as stipulated by the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Building Construction Authority, thus making your life smoother and easier.


  • A longer initial design process may be required with Architects. Architects need to have all the pieces in place before the project can go to tender and construction. This is to ensure work can start smoothly without any hiccups. Thus, it is important to have a timeline established in advance and expect certain variations to ensure great work in the end.
  • Each architect will have a particular design style that is unique like their signature. You need to be comfortable with the style that will come to life in your construction project. One way is to ask to see their portfolio of works. It is also good to show the architect pictures of works you like so as to ascertain if they are able to do what suits you. Of course, you will also need to be comfortable with the architect’s style and way of administering project since it is a 1-2 year working commitment.
  • You will need to allocate professional fees for the architect and his/her consultant team. The fees generally only makes up a fraction of the overall construction budget that you will set aside for your project.

Hiring a Builder First – Pros & Cons


  • Hiring a builder first is your best choice for projects with tight timelines. It allows you to enter the construction phase pretty quickly and get the project completed quickly.
  • When your builder knows your budget parameters, they can provide an up-front cost estimate for executing your project design. It may lead to important specifications left off the plans if they do not fit into the budget during the construction process.


  • Singapore builders provide upfront costs for their projects, but in reality, the costs most often go up as there is no accurate drawing before they begin working.
  • A lot of builders have architects on their team, and the homeowners pay for their services indirectly. However, the homeowners do not have any direct contact with them or cannot communicate with them freely.
  • Builders often provide low bids to get them through the door knowing the homeowners will not want to switch halfway through the process when the construction has started.
  • Some builders may use low-quality materials and not the ones specified by the architects to help lower their costs. There is no way for the owner to know which materials or finishes the designers have picked.
  • Builders often do not discuss the budget in advance, which puts you at risk of finding your project is going over budget. At this point, you need to make difficult changes to your project or accept higher costs.
  • Builder may not be fully familiar with the Singaporean authority issues, and it can put your entire project at risk. Furthermore, they may not provide full updates on clearances so you may be kept in the dark.

Why Should You Hire Both an Architect and a Builder?

Both builders and architects work in the same industry but fulfill different needs during the construction process. An architect envisions a design that meets your requirements, ensures it meets regulatory requirements and provides detailed instructions on building it. On the other hand, a builder takes those designs and provides the material and labor needed to construct the dream.

You will notice that the roles of an architect and a builder are becoming quite blurry. You need to find an architect and a builder who can collaborate as a team rather than hiring solo performers. People are discovering the value of hiring both of them in early design and planning.

In Conclusion

When you are ready to start your building project, we suggest hiring an architect first, followed quickly by a builder. Excellent communication and good working relationships are the keys to successful results.

ADX Architects is happy to provide you with design consultation without any fast commitment to pick us as your eventual builders. We want to provide you with professional advice as early as possible to ensure you get a design that aligns with your needs and your budget perfectly.

What design decisions need to be made when building a custom Singapore home

When building a custom home in Singapore, there are many design decisions that need to be made. The most important decision being the layout of the house. There are also other design decisions that include finishes, materials, colour palette, exterior finishes and landscaping. With so many decisions to make, it is may be wise to work with an experienced registered Singapore architect who can help you make the best choices for your custom home. The rest of this article will hopefully guide you in making that dream home a reality.

What needs to be addressed when building a custom Singapore home

The location and orientation of your property

Is the house facing the morning sun or evening sun?

What are the surrounding buildings or structures? Is there a preferred view?

Where is the prevailing wind direction?

The land

Is it on flat land or is it on a sloping hill side?

What is the existing condition of the soil?

Singapore’s building code and regulations

What are the regulations in place regarding extensions or addition and alteration (A&A) works?

What are the building setback controls additional storeys?

Your budget

This is something that you should discuss, plan and manage wisely.

What are the various styles of design to consider

The many styles to choose from include modern, traditional, colonial, contemporary, tropical colonial, Mediterranean or a mix of styles.

How can you customize your home to suit your needs and preferences

You may need to engage the services of an architect or an interior designer to help you with planning and designing your home. Here are some things that you should take into consideration:

The layout of your home
Do you want an open concept or a more traditional layout?

The number of rooms
How many bedrooms do you require? Will there be dedicated rooms for work, recreation or hobbies?

The focal point of your custom Singapore home
it’s the star of the room. It’s the first place viewers’ eyes should land when they enter your home and it’s the emphasis point around which you build the rest of your design.

Why should you hire a Singapore architect

A common issue people have when building a custom home is that they may not have the experience or know-how in this particular area. Hiring a registered Singapore architect(RA) can be extremely helpful in building your custom Singapore home because this is exactly what they are trained for.
The Singapore architect plays a vital role in taking your project from the initial conceptualization to the completion. He/she will work with various experts like building contractors, plumber, electrician, bathroom and kitchen specialists, and other responsible parties involved in the project to ensure the project runs smoothly. He/she creates a construction strategy that makes the entire building process easier. Your Singapore architect also acts as your quality assessor to ensure that materials and processes involved in your building project are in accordance to the approved plan and budget.


Building a custom Singapore home should be an enjoyable process. Working with an experienced Singapore architect like ADX Architects is one sure way to know that your dream home is the hands of professionals who have vested interest to create the best possible outcome for your custom Singapore home because it will be included in his/her project portfolio which will in turn attract other future clients.

Revised Civil Penalty Rates for Unauthorised Works in Singapore – what you need to know

Before we can properly discuss civil penalty rates for unauthorised work in Singapore, it is important to introduce the 2 government bodies, URA and BCA that govern building works.

URA stands for the Urban Redevelopment Authority. URA evaluates and grants planning approvals for developments through their development control, urban design and conservation guidelines. These guidelines facilitate orderly development and ensure that developments are regulated and in sync with the Singapore’s broader urban design plans.

BCA stands for the Building Construction Authority. BCA heads the regulation of the built environment sector through developing a building guidelines, safety controls, green and sustainable strategies. In addition, BCA also spearheads new initiatives and game-changing technologies to lead the transformation of the built environment and plays a greater role in promoting the sector’s niche expertise overseas.

What are the civil penalties for unauthorised works in Singapore
Building works that do not require building plan submission to BCA are termed “insignificant building works”.

Conversely there are also building works that will require an approval from BCA.

Homeowners who are interested in renovating their homes should learn how to make that distinction because carrying out building works without an approval from BCA is an offence under Section 20 of the Building Control Act. Those found to have contravened Section 20 of the Building Control Act may incur a fine of up to $200,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or both.

The revised civil penalty rates for unauthorised works / use for non-conservation developments can vary from 1x to 12x of the processing fee according to URA’s Table 1 – 3-tier band civil penalty.
For cases where URA is of the view that deception is involved, a higher civil penalty of up to 25x the processing fees or S$150,000 (whichever is lower) will be imposed.

How unauthorised works can lead to serious consequences

On 09 Nov 2021, construction firm Samwoh Corp was charged in a district court over alleged unauthorised works that led to a flood in Pasir Ris on 20 Aug 2021.
A drain, which was purportedly altered by the firm, is said to be one of the causes for knee-high water to inundate a 200m section of the traffic junction of Tampines Avenue 10 and Pasir Ris Drive 12.
It is also accused of causing obstruction to the flow of the storm water drainage system by erecting scaffolds to construct a new drain.

Thirteen vehicles were partially submerged and several motorists required help to evacuate from their vehicles. At least one person was taken to hospital.

The incident also caused a traffic congestion that lasted two hours.

For houses in Singapore, the consequence of unauthorized works will that there may be issues obtaining completion – Temporary Occupation Permit (TOP) and Final Completion (CSC). When such works are discovered during site inspections, there may be requirements for them to be removed and regulated, Hence, there will be additional unexpected costs and delays which can derail plans for the home owner.

Navigating the building works landscape in Singapore is no mean feat.
As a bare minimum, one is required to understand:
i. The definition of ‘additions and alterations’ or ‘building works’ (as viewed in the eyes of the authorities)
ii. When conservation permission is required
iii. When URA and BCA are involved
iv. The necessary submissions carried out by a professional Architect
v. The Authority fees like application fees and development charges

A registered Singapore architect(RA) like ADX Architects would be the most appropriate party to consult if you have any questions about all types of building works in Singapore. ADX Architects are trained professionals that can advise you regarding the various laws governing authorised works (the Planning Act, the Building Control Act, caveats, MCST by-laws, etc.), the distinction and relationship between URA and BCA and how to plan and execute your building works that saves you valuable time and money and headache.

The Planning Act: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/PA1998?ProvIds=P1V-
The Building Control Act: https://sso.agc.gov.sg/Act/BCA1989

Revised Civil Penalty Rates For Unauthorised Works / Use For Non-Conservation Developments: https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Guidelines/Development-Control/Planning-Permission/Folder/DC-Charge-Rates/penalty-rates

Penalty for carrying out building works without an approval from BCA:

Construction firm charged in court:

Additions and Alterations (as defined by URA): https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Guidelines/Conservation/Additions-Alterations

6 Risks of Going into a Residential Building Project without a Singapore Architect

Hiring an architect may seem like an additional cost, but not hiring one can lead to serious problems. Residential projects can be complex, although some people may think they can do the design on their own.  It does seem intuitive sometimes as one just simply needs to designate spaces that suit their own lifestyles. However it is important to understand the risks involved in saving costs and not engaging an architect for your residential home project in Singapore.

Here are some of the biggest risks that people take when they avoid hiring an architect:

Project Overuns Budget

Without professional guidance, the building processes may end up incurring extra costs. This could be due to various reasons – for mistakes in space planning or selection of materials, to miscommunication to builders and sub-contractors on the exact things you have in mind. An architect can help keep expectations clear by issuance of detailed drawings, selection of right materials for use in various situations, good and timely of communication with builders and control of costs to keep them at the same levels as they were originally projected.

Poor Design

If you do not work with an architect for your project, there is a high chance that you will end up with a poorly designed building that might not meet the occupant’s needs. Experience comes to play here. After all, a professional architect has to go through six years of university education, including industry experience. For a registered architect, one has to further earn the qualification by passing the relevant exams set by the Board of Architects (see article XXXX). An architect will definitely be able to help design and develop the project so that it meets your preferences, building codes, and modern design practices.

Doesn’t Comply with Codes and Regulations

In Singapore, a registered architect is the best person to manage a construction site and ensure it is compliant to current standards and codes. While a contractor can help with certain tasks, their strengths could lie in execution rather than management and compliance. On the other hand, an architect helps manage and protect the legality and ensure a safe working environment during the construction phase of your residential project.

Compromise of Project’s Quality

Even though you might have drawn sketches and selected everything you need, there is no guarantee that your contractor will follow all your instructions to the letter. Hiring an architect allows you to take advantage of their professionalism in project administration. All projects needs to be done whereby a contract is in effect between owner and builder. An architect will then administer the contract professionally, acting as the key person in managing the project with the builder. This definitely gives you peace of mind knowing they will do their job the right way.

Delayed Completion

Without an architect, your residential building project in Singapore can stray off track, suffer delay and can take much longer to complete. An experienced architect will be able to keep your project on track and avoid unnecessary delays by the buildert. They offer proper guidance to ensure your team stays on task and completes your project within the stipulated time.

Undesired Outcome

The level of detail that a home needs is overwhelming. Working without an architect can lead you to miss those details that often have a big effect on how you use your home, its functionality, convenience, and its aesthetics. An architect can ensure the finished look of your home is as you had desired.

How to Find the Right Architect for Your Project?

Once you decide to hire an architect, you need to choose the right one. You need to hire an architect who is not just skilled and professional but also communicates well and whose cost models work perfectly for you. Remember, the architect your friend hired may not be the right one for you.

In summary, there can be many issues that can arise when you do not engage an architect for your Singapore residential project. At ADX Architects, we have a team of qualified professionals that can assist you in your project. As a registered professional architectural firm in Singapore, we have the experience and expertise after having working on many projects in the past decade. We have the right experience that can save you the headache of not having professional advice and guidance for your upcoming Singapore residential project.

Additions and Alterations to a Singapore House – What Does This Mean

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.

What Do You Mean by A&A?

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.

Why are A&A Works Popular?

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.

What are some Common A&A Works in Singapore?

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.

What are the Basic Requirements for A&A Works?

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.

How Working from Home can Pose Challenges to how Architects work in Singapore?

The world crisis caused by COVID-19 has forced millions of people to stay at home and socially distance themselves from others to help stop spread of the virus. It has resulted in companies with the challenge of working from home. ‘Work from Home’ is a common term that we have heard more often in the past couple of years. While the adaption of ultra-fast internet connections, powerful computers, and other technological tools has made the switch easy for most industries, it hasn’t been a cakewalk for the Singapore architecture industry. Singapore Architecture firms and freelance architects were forced to adapt to the situation quickly, and it proved a challenge for many.

All Home Workspaces are Not Created Equal

In the whirlwind of COVID-19, architects and architecture firms had an euphoric beginning. In the initial days, they shared their home workspaces online and changed backgrounds on Zoom on their video calls – many felt it a blessing. But, quickly, the challenges and differences in the quality of access started to surface. In the office, they had ergonomic furniture that helped with sitting posture, coffee machines, pantries, and unlimited access to the internet and the comfort of air-conditioning. But with work from home, many of these perks were unavailable for most professionals. Many living with their families or other renters find it difficult to look for quiet corners for those important online meetings.

While work from home started off looking like a privilege, Singapore architects have realized the challenges that come with it. Understanding their struggles and making allowances based on unique circumstances is important.

Main Challenges Faced by Architects While WFH

Impact on Collaboration

Architecture is a collaborative process, and interaction is often required with other parties to conceptualize a good design. Maintaining the same office culture and keeping the entire design team connected at the same time can be difficult when working from home. Without sufficient collaboration and interaction, architectural teams can feel isolated and lonely at home.

Technological Limitations

Technology is critical when working in architectural teams. Limited access to advanced technological tools for architects can be a stumbling block. Not everyone has the same computing hardware, software and tools at home, which are close or equivalent to what is available at the office. There were few people working remotely before the pandemic, but with large numbers working remotely, it can put pressure on Singapore architectural teams to produce the same quality of work while working from home.

Guiding Interns

Architecture is an industry that greatly relies on mentorship. It is no secret that many architectural professionals attribute a portion of their success to the interactions and guidance by their mentors. With remote work, it can be challenging for architectural staff to receive the same amount of direction and mentorship from their seniors and supervisors.

Difficulty in Motivating Staff

Lack of Leadership

Working from home requires leaders to align culture, expectations and business processes. It can take years for remote teams to have the same level of productivity as the office environment. Leaders are expected in essence to build the system. That’s how it has always been whether in business or in the government. Team members who expect things to work exactly like the office will often cite a lack of leadership and a lack of clear communication that leads to low morale.

Distractions and Impact on Productivity

The difference in the office setup and home office setup is a big hindrance when it comes to productivity for architects. With many of them juggling household work, spouses, and kids, these distractions can build up and make it difficult to focus.

Projects that Have Halted Due to the Pandemic

Singapore entered into recession in the second quarter of 2020 due to COVID-19. The country experienced a double blow during that time since work on site stopped, and dormitories where construction workers lived, were infected. Singapore faced construction delays fearing manpower crunch and disruptions in material supplies. Among the big projects that were hit, the significant one was that the mega terminal of its international airport in Changi was put on hold for two years. Several projects by top building companies in Singapore, such as the Waterway Sunrise II, a BTO project in Punggol, and Sky Vita in Bukit Batok by Greatearth, came to a stop. All these have put even more pressure on the architecture industry.

Overcoming Economic Challenges – Costs and Overheads

Despite the challenges mentioned above, many architecture firms enjoy the freedom they have experienced working from home. They can hire staff from anywhere in the world, allowing them access to a larger labor pool with the least competitive restrictions. In addition, some have also been able to expand the number of projects available to them. Many are able to team up with international firms outside of Singapore. With the industry quick in adopting technologies such as 3D printing, BIM, drones, and sensors due to the pandemic, the digitization process in the Singapore architect industry shows no signs of slowing down.

To Return, Or Not to Return?

Although people are allowed to return to offices, most of them would still prefer working from home. People were forced to work remotely, invest in new ways to connect, develop new communication patterns; people enjoyed their ability to work from home and would want a balance of time at and away from their physical offices. However, not all Singapore architecture firms are willing to let their teams work from home full time. Many are encouraging their architects and staff to return to the office as they believe it is critical for sharing ideas, team building and communication. Successful work from home arrangements would be a key concern for most architecture firms in Singapore, and it remains to be seen how they plan for a work-from-home dominated future.

How Work from Home Has Affected Design of Modern Singapore Homes

Work from home in Singapore has become more of a norm since the COVID-19 pandemic and it has hugely impacted people’s day-to-day lives. With less people commuting to work these days, Singapore is seeing a shift in how people are buying homes. It has become important for architects and developers to fulfill the growing demand for dedicated work spaces in homes. Homes now need to become places of work, as much as for living, playing and resting.

The 21st Century Home Offices

Real estate in Singapore comes at a premium. Homes have become smaller over the years as prices go up with market trends. Developers that purchase land at higher prices have developed apartments that have smaller in areas but higher prices. Landed houses have also increased tremendously in prices over the past 2 years since the pandemic started mainly due to the need for more space at home.

With the new requirement for work at home, the ideals that most office workers take for granted in a corporate office now needs to be brought to the home environment. These include the modern technology, equipment, convenience and environment that an office offers. So, how should the Singapore architects respond to the need for this work space outside of their offices?

How The WFH Culture has Changed Home Designs in Singapore?

Landed Homes

In Singapore, Architects reveal that they are now designing homes that include a designated room for a home office space. For multi-generational homes, this room can cater for both the adults as well as children who need to have home-based learning. These rooms are usually located on a common space at the second or intermediate floor, and usually separated from the bedrooms.

Good natural lighting is also desirable and these rooms are designed with large windows or with skylights. Room temperature is controlled by means of natural ventilation or mechanical ventilation, viz. with fans or air-conditioning. Technology requirements mean houses should have also the necessary networking and communication provisions.

Interior design plays a part to incorporate ergonomic furniture and carpentry storage solutions to these homes.

Hence, there is now a trend to see houses as much as for a show piece for entertainment as well as for comfortable study and work.

In fact, with the rising electrical costs incurred from working home, there has been a recent trend of requesting Architects to look into passive and sustainable design practices.

Apartments and Other Small Spaces

Those living in apartments do not have any extra rooms available to convert them into home offices, and thus, architects get creative with available space. Architects and interior designers now design what are called ‘cloffice,’ a closet that can be turned into an office. Creating such a space requires sacrificing some storage space, removing a door, and cramming in a desk and a few shelves to create a small but manageable office space. While ‘cloffice’ was made out of desperation, architects are taking these makeshift rooms and turning them into aspirational and beautiful spaces in the house.

Co-working / Co-living Spaces

Of course, there are people who live in homes that are not suitable for working. The reasons could range a lack of space or that the home is simply not conducive for work. People that need the peace and quiet now have to search for other options when it comes to a working space.

Co-working spaces provide the ideal alternative. These spaces have offices, shared tables and even lounges where people can use for work. There is therefore no need to purchase furniture at home. Wi-fi for connectivity and sound-proof telephone booths are some of the benefits that these spaces offer.  Co-living places have also sprung up around Singapore. These spaces offer living quarters with common areas for working. Likewise, they also offer wi-fi connectivity but may not have as much office-related conveniences compared to the co-working office.

The Future of Home Office

Irrespective of whether your home office is a separate room in a single-family home or is located in a closet or the lobby of your apartment building. The demand for home offices is only going to rise. More and more millennials may not even consider jobs that do not have an option of remote work or even flexible schedules. Architects and interior designers in Singapore are now called to respond by designing home offices in all types of spaces, including hybrid spaces of co-living and co-working spaces

Sustainable design has also come to the forefront as home-owners incur more costs as they work from home. This has seen renewed interest for the use of solar panels to generate electrical power for technology and appliances. Green spaces at home such as balconies, open terraces and roof gardens are valuable additions to the home environment since these spaces allow a respite from working at home. Healthy-living and well-being means multi-function spaces such as a gym, or space for meditation and relaxation will also be desirable.

Singapore architects will have a critical role to play in contributing to the built environment as the trend gains momentum. It will be interesting to see how the trend takes shape in the coming months.

What are Some Incentives for Singapore Building Owners to Go Green?

Singapore is committed to developing a sustainable city and is already known as the ‘City in a Garden.’ The Building and Construction Authority or BCA have created a master plan to accelerate Singapore’s aim to become a global leader in green buildings. This master plan includes incentives for smaller individuals and players to encourage greater adoption for energy efficiency and green initiatives.

Why Use of Incentives in Fostering Green Buildings Crucial?

The affordability of green construction is a significant challenge for a number of developers and building owners. Government incentives help drive green construction by making them more affordable. Incentives for green buildings are in the form of tax reduction, rebate systems, subsidies, low-cost loans, concession, cash incentives and more. Such incentives also encourage private sectors to join the development of green buildings by increasing demands and reducing their building costs. These incentives help reduce investment risks for developers and improve investment priority.

Incentive Schemes by Singaporean Government for Green Building Owners

The Singapore government has introduced many incentive schemes to encourage architects and developers to invest in green buildings. Some of them include –

  • Building Retrofit Energy Efficiency Financing or BREEF Scheme

According to this scheme, the participating financial institution pays the building owners the cost of the energy retrofits using an energy performance contract. It usually covers the cost of the equipment, their installation and the professional fees. The maximum loan limit is $4 million of 90% of the total cost, whichever is lower.

  • Green Buildings Innovation Cluster or GBIC & Building Energy Efficient Demonstrations or GBIC Demo Scheme

This scheme offers green building developers and owners who use new energy-saving innovations that are not widely used in their existing or upcoming buildings. The funding covers up to 70% of the total cost or $3 million per project, whichever is lower.

  • Skyrise Greenery Incentive Scheme or SGIS

The SGIS scheme allows building owners to create more greenery and a lush environment through intensive landscaping on the building. It covers 50% of the installation costs of rooftop and vertical greenery up to a certain limit.

  • Built Environment Accelerate to Market Programme or BEAMP

The BEAMP scheme was a collaboration of JTC, BCA and Enterprise Singapore to attract investors and companies to find innovative processes to help solve their real estate industry challenges. The programme grants up to 70% of the project cost for local SMEs and about 50% for all non-SMEs.

  • Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High Rise or LUSH

This program sponsored by URA encourages developers and building owners to provide designated communal green spaces at the ground and upper levels of the buildings like roof gardens or sky terraces. URA can also decide to grant additional exemptions for some selected spaces.


Building efficiency is crucial to Singapore’s sustainable growth and helps it achieve its 2030 Green Plan. While some developers can self-finance green building plans and enjoy savings right away, others need government incentives to help them move towards adopting more energy efficiency programs for their buildings. Singapore government can play a key role in motivating more green buildings but also promote post-construction monitoring that those buildings are locking the energy savings in the long term. If you are looking to go green and looking for ways to potentially save on building costs, get in touch with us at ADX Architects.

What is sustainable architecture?

Sustainable architecture is a term used to define buildings that are designed to limit the negative impact on the environment. Sustainable architecture considers the condition and the surrounding resources and incorporates them into the design wherever possible.

It also means using materials that minimize environmental footprints, such as long transport distances or energy-intensive manufacturing processes. Sustainable architecture also puts waste systems in place that harnesses and reuse them in the most efficient manner. In Singapore, you can find a large number of successful sustainable architecture projects where the local community and workforce are the core of these projects.

Characteristics of Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable designs require architects to think differently and away from the traditional and popular methods out there. They need to have an eye for what is naturally available in Singapore and to use them in a manner that avoids environmental and ecological disruption. It also means using smart design and advanced technologies to ensure the structures have minimal harmful effects on the communities and the ecosystems.

The key characteristics of sustainable architecture are –
• Reducing the overall human impact on the environment.
• Minimise power energy consumption by engaging in sustainable design techniques such as site orientation, natural lighting and cross ventilation and
• Use of renewable energy sources like solar power and wind power
• The building produces at least as much energy they use for a net-zero effect on the environment.
• Using water conservation systems like recycling gray water or rainwater harvesting.
• Complete integration into the surrounding context and landscape.
• Maximum use of renewable materials wherever possible.
• Use of upcycled and recycled materials.
• Biophilic design to enhance well-being and increase occupant connectivity to nature
• Incorporation of nature via tree-covered residential towers, living walls and green roofs to cool the buildings naturally and create a healthy environment for humans.
These are just a few of the factors that need to be considered when designing a sustainable project. There needs to be a delicate balance between the form of the building, function and its interactors with its surroundings for it to be considered a sustainable development.

How Singapore is Leading in Green & Sustainable Architecture in Asia?

Singapore encourages the adoption of sustainable architectural design more rapidly than any other country in the world. In other Asia-Pacific regions where architects and developers have little to no incentive to invest in sustainability, Singapore has emerged as a model for green architect designs with a strong focus on sustainability. The government’s rating tool ‘Green Mark’ introduced in 2005 has encouraged more and more architects and developers in the country to invest in green building technologies. Sustainable architecture not only means lowering their environmental footprint but also creating more value for all the stakeholders involved. The most recent example of sustainable architecture design is the 5 storey Faci Asia Pacific Office designed by ADX Architects, which recently won the BCA Greenmark Gold Plus Award.


The rising awareness and newest market-driven gush in sustainable architecture have helped narrow the gap between building practices and sustainability in Singapore. Architectural sustainability is all about making human activity a non-damaging part of the ecological landscape. If you are looking to make your next building a sustainable forerunner, get in touch with the experts at ADX Architects. Active throughout Singapore, they deliver design and deliver responsive solutions that have a minimal impact on the environment.

How are Green Homes Relevant to Singapore’s Green Plan?

Green homes are designed, constructed, and operational to be environmentally sustainable. These focus on the efficient use of site resources, water conservation, energy efficiency, handling of waste, and optimum material usage for comfortable, healthy, and environmentally friendly homes.

Green homes do not address just one aspect of green living; it is a whole-house project approach. They form a system that works on a cause-and-effect relationship where everything works seamlessly. While the idea of green homes has been around for a long time in the world, it is only gaining traction in Asia in the last decade or so.

In Singapore, the emphasis on green-living and sustainable homes has exploded, gaining much traction with the government leading the charge on going green. Indeed, the country has emerged as a role-model for green homes in Asia, with the local authorities encouraging the adoption of innovative architectural design and energy-saving technologies.

Pushing for a More Sustainable & Livable Singapore

In the past decades, Singapore has made a huge mark in promoting more sustainable and livable homes. The BCA has launched a number of programs that advocate the construction of green homes for homeowners, such as the Quality Mark for Good Workmanship Scheme, BCA Green Mark Scheme, and Construction Quality Assessment System.

These programs are designed to help Singapore achieve their net zero emissions target that they plan to accomplish by 2030 through their Green Plan 2030. Green homes are going to play a major role in helping Singapore achieve this target. Since buildings and homes in Singapore account for about 20% of their emission, changing their energy consumption behavior will be crucial.

Impact of Green Homes

  • Economic Impact – According to past studies, it has been seen that prices of green homes rise by around 3% more on average when they attain Green Mark certifications. They also translate to more savings per month on maintenance and utility fees, apart from an increase in higher resale value. At a global level, Singapore could save billions on energy spending.
  • Environmental Impact – Green homes reduce or even eliminate negative impacts on the environment by using less natural resources such as water and energy. They have a more positive impact on the environment by generating their own energy. Green homes significantly contribute towards the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and limit support towards global temperature rises.
  • Social Impact – Green homes go beyond economic and environmental benefits. They have made powerful social impacts too. These benefits are towards the well-being of people who live in these green homes. Living in green homes allows homeowners to live healthier, happier, and more productive lives.

The Rise of Green-Minded Homeowners and Tenants

It is not just the Singapore architects and real estate developers who are embracing green and sustainable homes. A growing number of potential homeowners and tenants are also looking for green real estate. Homebuyers are looking for a better indoor environment and better energy-efficient spaces to lower their monthly budget. More and more people are looking for apartments only in buildings that are certified with Green Mark Award. The growing demand for green homes also makes intermediaries step up their games and offer self-sustaining homes to green-minded people.

Building for the Future

Homes that are not green or energy-efficient have started to become and will eventually become less attractive to homebuyers. As more and more green homes are built to the Green Mark standards, every additional green home in Singapore will increase the demand for homes that greatly exceed the conventional standards for energy efficiency, durability, environmental responsibility, and comfort in the long term.

What are energy efficient Singapore homes?

When searching for homes in Singapore, it could pay for you to look for energy-efficient homes. Newer homes in Singapore built after 2009 are designed to use 20% less energy than those built before 2009. It was when the federal government’s energy efficiency rating program came into existence. While energy-efficient homes might not sound as exciting, architects today are designing homes that are not only equipped with the latest technology but also improve health and reduce energy bills.

What Makes an Energy Efficient Singapore Home Different?

Energy-efficient homes in Singapore are quite interesting. For many people, the use of aesthetic elements is of high interest, such as the architecture, the interiors, and the smaller details that work together to give a sense of place. Then, there are others for whom the energy means more. Energy homes, for them, are a collection of different energy systems where light, heat, and even sound is used as fuel and electricity. All the different systems are interrelated and play a distinct role in the overall home’s energy efficiency.

Some of the top benefits of energy-efficient homes include –

  • Lower utility bills
  • Cheaper home insurance
  • Better air quality
  • Comfortable living environment
  • Lower environmental impact
  • Designed for enhanced control
  • Better resale value

Conventional Solutions – Energy Efficiency through Design

If you have been living in Singapore for a few years, you’ll probably notice that homebuyers had certain criteria when it came to houses. Before all the modern technology came into existence, builders in Singapore emphasized certain conventional solutions to make homes more energy-efficient. Some of them include –

  • Natural Cross Ventilation – Singapore homes used natural ventilation techniques to minimize excessive load on their energy consumption. These required more time and expenses during the initial building design process.
  • Orientation for House – For Singapore’s weather, north-south facing homes are the most ideal as they do not get direct sun throughout the day and keep the house cool, and are breezier.
  • Use of Specific Materials – Architects picked specific products to be used for insulation in building envelopes, such as extruded polystyrene for roofs and the use of double-glazing windows and doors.
  • Encourage Air Flow – Compared to aircon, fans are more energy-efficient and also less costly to operate. Thus, Singaporean homes had fans to minimize the use of aircon whenever necessary.
  • Use of Natural Lighting – A greater emphasis is put on reducing artificial lighting by taking advantage of natural lighting whenever possible. Architects used natural light as a design element and glazing windows to maximize radiosity.
  • Use of Skylight or Airwell – Skylights are not just an aesthetic addition; they also allow natural light and much-needed ventilation.
  • Energy Saving Appliances – The use of energy-efficient appliances often has a higher upfront cost but require less energy over their lifespan.

Modern Solutions - Energy Renewability through Technology - ADX Architects

Modern Solutions – Energy Renewability through Technology

In Singapore, there is a greater need for the reduction of energy use is important. Since it is a small country with limited space and resources, it is impossible to rely on solar energy alone. Instead, technology plays an important role in helping Singaporean homes to reduce their energy consumption. Here are some of the energy-saving technologies that have found their way into Singapore green home designs –

  • Motion-Sensor Lights – These lights automatically turn on lights when they detect motion and turn off a while later. They eliminate energy consumption by ensuring that the lights are not accidentally left on.
  • Auto-Irrigation Plants – Auto-irrigation plants give each plant the right amount of water at a set time. This helps minimize water consumption and can be used for potted plants, flower beds, and more.
  • Solar Panels – Singapore is only going to get hotter, and using solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity is a smart move for energy-efficient homes.
  • Energy Monitoring Systems – Intelligent systems are connected to your electrical panel or the meter to monitor the energy use of the house. They form a communication platform for homeowners, devices, appliances, and even the utility company.
  • Façade BIPVs Panels – Solar panels are blended beautifully with home architecture, offering an energy-efficient solution without the need to compromise on the looks.
  • Solar Powered Aircon Systems – Since air conditioners use more and more energy, solar-powered aircon systems offer great value to homeowners. They not only speed up the cooling process but also use less energy.

Passive Home Design – The Key to Meeting 2030 Green Building Targets for Singapore

As a tropical country, Singapore relies heavily on passive designs to solve its energy problem while meeting its 2030 green building targets. All of the different energy systems offer great opportunities for Singapore architects to combine them in new and interesting ways. From tighter building envelope that reduces the need for space cooling to smart lighting upgrades that reduce heat from lighting fixtures and energy monitoring systems, technology has made a big impact on home designs in Singapore. These green homes are not just less expensive to run but are also more comfortable to live in.

Farming in Urban Singapore – Is it even possible?

Urban farming is fast becoming a central focus for the local organizations and the Singaporean government. The need for food security during a crisis and lack of secure space to tend to farms is forcing states such as Singapore to shift to creating farms in cities to fill the gap. Since the state currently imports 90% of its food from abroad, the state aims to produce 30% of its total food by the year 2030. The plan is to have anyone who wishes to farm what they can, and the government offers grants to anyone who can yield higher amounts using technology.

Ways Singapore is Designing Urban Farms

The practice of urban farming is picking up in scale and sophistication as well in recent years. There are community gardens all around the city where the public can grow their own crops and sell them for an earning opportunity. Tech is also playing a crucial role in improving urban efficiency. There are regulations in place to enhance food safety by keeping track of the source of the food supplies.

The government is pushing for innovative approaches to urban farming like rooftop farming, vertical hydraulic farming and hydroponic farms on parking structures, and more. The Singapore Food Agency early this year launched seven urban farming sites on HDB multi-storey carparks. A public tender was issued for nine locations, and successful tenderers were already operational by the second quarter of 2021. Fresh produce from these farms is currently made available at nearby supermarkets. Farmer Nick from Nature’s International Commodity is one such urban farmer in Singapore.

Challenges of Urban Farming

Currently, only about 1% of Singapore’s land is used for conventional farming and is forcing people to grow more with less. But developing agriculture from scratch is not easy. Shortage of labor, competition from lower-cost economies, and scarcity of spaces are big obstacles that the state needs to overcome. With the global food demand projected to increase by more than half by the year 2050, the state needs to learn how to urge producers to grow more and much faster than before. Climate change is another threat for this island nation.

Benefits of Urban Farming in Singapore

Whether you call it Singapore’s solution to sustainable self-sufficiency or a social movement, but urban farming is sure to take the city to new heights. There are a number of benefits of having farms so close to home. Urban farmers ensure that their produces is pesticide-free. They also incorporate sustainable zero-waste and energy-saving practices that have a positive impact on the environment. In addition, growing food close to the heartland cuts down on the transport costs and cuts down carbon commission. In the broader sense, urban farming in Singapore helps develop the capability and capacity of the agri-food industry and mitigate the dependency on imports. It will also serve as a buffer during a supply disruption.

Is Urban Farming Possible in Your Landed Home?

Absolutely! With the increase in awareness and government grants available for urban farming, there has never been a better time to start farming. In fact, the landed house owners have embraced it with much enthusiasm -requesting for more areas dedicated for growing vegetables that they consume. This can be on the ground level or even on the attic open terrace.

If you live in a high-rise, it should not stop you from taking up urban farming in your own way. You can grow the crops you like as long as you have space, enough sunlight, and some perseverance. Whether it is the corridors, common areas, or on your balcony, you can easily set up a planting system with minimum fuss.

The National Parks of Singapore has also a yearly seed campaign that can get you started with planting some edibles at home.

Urban Farming – Future of Agriculture in Singapore

Even though urban farming still has a long way to go, there are plenty of opportunities for growth with sustained effort and development. Investing in urban farming can greatly enhance the community’s knowledge of agriculture. It will help educate and inform and get people involved in the local food systems and processes. Moreover, it is also enhances social cohesiveness and community as house owners and flat residents alike spend time at the urban farms – bonding with neighbours, sharing farming tips and their various harvests.

Solar Panels Installation – 5 questions people always ask

With the electricity prices in Singapore increasing due to overcapacity and rising fuel prices, more and more homeowners are looking for greener options. Those who reside in landed homes have the option of installing solar panels to generate electricity for their own use.

But, going solar should never be an impulse purchase. After a home and car, it will be one of the biggest purchases that most homeowners will make in their lifetime. It is important for homeowners considering installing the solar system in Singapore to take some time and effort if solar is the right decision.

Why Should I Go Solar?

Well, the answer depends on your needs. Most homeowners go solar for electricity bill savings. But what they do not realize is that going solar also allows them to increase their property value and control their power bills. Of course, there is a growing awareness of sustainability today and this could also motivate people to adopt solar. In Singapore, you can even sell the excess solar electricity produced by your solar grid back electricity provider. Other logical reasons are it reduces carbon footprint and help create a sustainable environment for future generations.

Is My Home Right for Solar Power?

The answer to this affects the cost and the savings of your solar system. While you may need professional help to determine if your house is right for solar power, here are some things you need to consider –

  • Amount of Sun Your House Receives – Your house should receive a considerable amount of sunlight during the day. If it is in the shade, it might not be a viable option.
  • Direction Your Roof Faces – In Singapore, south-east facing homes get good morning sun, which is best for solar power. Homes facing the south get little to no sun and might not be ideal.
  • Cost of Electricity in Your Area – The more the electricity price in your area, the more money you will be able to save by going solar.

If your house checks the above three boxes, solar is a wise investment for your home. However, speak to an expert before making the final decision.

Can Solar Installation be a DIY Process?

While you can install solar panels yourself, there are several drawbacks to doing it. Installing solar panels is not as simple as swapping the water purifier or mounting a light fixture. Improperly installed solar panels can increase your cost in the long run. There are several regulations that need to be followed to maximize functionality and savings. Thus, it is best to hire an expert with knowledge of the advanced wiring technique and who can ensure the integrity of your roof.

How Will the Generated Solar Energy Help Reduce My Energy Bills?

The solar panels will convert the sun’s energy into electricity that you can use to power your home. Even though the initial investment is a little higher, it pays off itself within a few years. Even when the electricity rates rise, your solar bills remain the same, helping you save thousands. In addition, you earn credits for any additional energy you produce that is not utilized by your solar system that further reduces your energy bills.

How Long Will My Solar PV System Last?

Solar panel technology has improved drastically in the past few years. Most manufacturers claim the solar panels can produce power efficiently for at least 25 years. But, with time, there might be a slight degradation of about 0.8-1.2 percent every year. This degradation is caused due to pollen, dirt, and other external factors, so it is critical to have the panels cleaned every few months. While the panels may become a little less efficient with time, the degradation won’t be significant for at least several decades.

Do I Need Permits or Approvals Before Installing Solar Panels?

If you are considering installing solar panels in your home in Singapore, you might want to know if you need a permit to install them. The short answer is yes. You will have to submit an application to Singapore Power through a Licensed Electrical Worker.


Doing your homework and being prepared is a big part of any major investment you make to your home. Installation of power panels is an expensive investment, but you should know your requirements and everything that is involved in its installation. Armed with the answers above and consulting with a registered Singapore Architect, you will be in a better position to make the leap to solar energy a great success.

What are Good Class Bungalows in Singapore?

In a country like Singapore, where real estate is pretty expensive, there is a class of property reserved only for the elite of the elite, i.e., Good Class Bungalows or GCB. These have long been a status symbol in Singapore and are a rare breed, with only about 2,700-2,800 of them. In total, there are only 39 designated GCB enclaves in Singapore. Due to their rarity, there is a certain level of mystique surrounding such properties. People believe the value of such properties does not fall, and every single of them is a gold mine. But what exactly are Good Class Bungalows – what makes them so coveted and unique? How much do they cost exactly and is it worthwhile purchase in land scarce in Singapore?

What Do You Mean by Good Class Bungalows or GCBs?

Good Class Bungalows, or GCBs as they are commonly known, are among the most exclusive and prestigious housing in Singapore.

GCBs are some super large and elite homes for the wealthy, and they are differentiated by two factors – the location and its size. Some of these bungalows have been around for decades, and it adds to their architectural charm. However, GCBs can also be newly built depending on the owners’ fancy. Recently, GCBs have been designed with an array of facilities. These include condominium-like amenities such as wine cellars, entertainment rooms, swimming pools, luxury car garages, and even tennis courts and bowling alleys.

In Which Areas are Good Class Bungalows Allowed to be Built in Singapore?

You cannot just buy a big plot of land in Singapore, build a big house on it and call it a Good Class Bungalow. There are certain criteria they need to meet for them to be called as Good Class Bungalows. To preserve the exclusivity of these GCBs, these can only be located in one of the 39 gazette areas around Singapore. They are the prime and the most popular locations in Singapore.

of Good Class Bungalow Areas (GCBAs) Source:




Road/Woollerton Park


Tong Park


















Albert Park


Hill Estate












Hoon Avenue


Tiong Ham Park




Astrid Park


















Neo Avenue


Club Road












House Park




What are Some of the Planning Restrictions for Good Class Bungalows?

A bungalow falling under Good Class Bungalows is subject to certain planning constraints to preserve such neighborhoods’ low-rise character and exclusivity. The minimum land plot size should be around 1,400 sq m and can only be two stories. The owners also cannot utilize more than 40% of the total plot size for their homes. They need to have enough greenery in between the plots. More information can be read from URA’s website (https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Guidelines/Development-Control/Residential/Bungalows/Locational-Criteria)

Who Can Buy Good Class Bungalows in Singapore?

There are strict rules about who can purchase Good Class Bungalows. Only Singapore citizens or Singapore entities can purchase GCB. Those permitted also include companies where the shareholders and directors are Singapore citizens, or trustees and beneficiaries are citizens of Singapore. However, a foreign entity is only allowed to rent GBCs but cannot own one.

Nevertheless, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Foreigners can get special approval by the SLA, but the decision will be based on two factors –

  • The foreigner should have held a Singapore PR for a minimum of 5 years
  • The foreigner should have made a significant contribution to Singapore’s economy.

How Much Do These Good Class Bungalows Cost?

Due to the strong status and scarcity of GCBs, they cost much more than an average bungalow in Singapore. If you are considering purchasing a Good Class Bungalow in Singapore, you need to be ready to pay a hefty price of anything around S$27 million to around S$50 million. But sometimes, even that won’t be enough as the most high-profile GCBs can go as high as S$230 million in the property market.


Even during the recession and with the COVID-19 pandemic, the sale of momentum of GCBs has continued. Given the scarcity of new build GCBs in prestigious locations, GCB buyers should look for older properties for redevelopment. TikTok CEO Chew ShouZi is in the early stage of purchasing an existing GCB on Queen Astrid Park for S$89 million and redevelop it. Two more bungalows on Cluny Road are also expected to be sold at around S$91 million.

In Singapore, real estate investment is highly sought after, and investing in something with a tag of prestige is surely a viable option for wealth preservation in the future.

How Covid-19 has affected the architecture industry in Singapore

Covid-19 has brought about a seismic change in our lives that has never been seen before. With the Singapore government imposing a number of lockdown measures to slow down the rate of infections, it has severely impacted a number of industries, including the architecture industry. It has been forced to bring about changes to its practices to survive during these tough times.

With the offices closed, this hands-on industry has been forced to work remotely. Working from home has become the norm. Many architecture firms in Singapore were ill-equipped initially to handle the new communication difficulties because of the sudden pandemic. But with time, the industry has adjusted and are again starting to get back on their feet. Most architecture companies are currently working at about 70% to 80% of the output level before the pandemic hit.

Project Delays, Cancellations & Uncertainty

During the initial stage of the pandemic, more than two-thirds of the architecture projects were badly hit. There were project cancellations, sites were closed down, and uncertainty about when things would get back to normal. A large group of architecture companies saw reduced cash flows, increased expenses and unrecoverable outlays. Now that the lockdown measures are slowly easing, the construction industry is finally recovering, and sites are beginning to open. It is a positive sign that the worst is over. However, architecture firms continue to feel the impact that could lead to job losses and project closures if the market is slow to rebound.

The negative impact of the pandemic was seen in certain areas of the industry, such as hospitality, office buildings, student accommodation, retail and shopping center projects. However, since the stock market and the bank interest rates are giving low returns, investors are turning to properties as better investments. Hopefully, this will benefit site appraisals, estate strategy services and the architecture industry immensely in the coming months.

How is the Architecture Industry Adapting to Survive?

One of the most perplexing questions for the architecture and the design fraternity in Singapore is: what does the future hold for us?

How will the business be like once the offices open? What are the prospects for new projects? Will projects move forward, in the same manner like before or do the processes needs to be evaluated?

While it is impossible to control the impact of the outbreak, the best course of action for the industry is to react positively to the situation and make changes accordingly. Those who are not flexible and unable to adapt to the new norms, demands and constraints of the market are the ones who will suffer in the end. There is a greater need for businesses in the architecture industry to recognize the need for change, ways of working, customer base and even the market they are targeting.

Is Innovation the Key?

Even once the coronavirus stabilizes, the world is unlikely to return to normal any time soon. People are fearful of returning to work, and cleanliness and hygiene will be on their priority list. It will thus be the responsibility of architects to design spaces that control the spread of illnesses and alleviate fears once people are ready to return to offices. Workplaces will undergo quite a makeover with wider walkways, hands-free elevators and sanitization stations will become a standard requirement in office designs.

For homes, greater emphasis will be put on adequate ventilation and access to fresh air. Connectivity for homes will be of utmost priority, with dedicated spaces for work desks. Even the senior living industry will have to reevaluate the space for the elderly. Changes will depend on the introduction of technologies for communication and compartmentalized communities.


There is little doubt that architecture firms will be bruised because of the coronavirus pandemic. Still, it also presents a number of opportunities that firms in the industry can capitalize on. During times of adversity, firms that are able to adopt and advocate new concepts and ideas will be able to thrive. Offices, homes, schools and workplaces that need to be re-designed to adapt to the pandemic will be possible projects to look out for! Indeed, there is no doubt that innovative designs will continue to emerge, showcasing the richness and diversity that the Singapore architecture industry has to offer in problem-solving and innovative thinking.

Can Architect Fees Be Capitalized in Singapore?

Architecture has been in a league of its own in every conceivable way when compared to the construction trades and the other allied professions. It is not just the mastery of the design and building that makes an architect stand out from the crowd, but the way they approach problems and implement designs that set them apart.

Indeed, architects are problem solvers by nature. They are in a position to understand what a client wants from a design and they are able to create a workable solution to the problem. So it is no surprise that they often charge more than their counterparts in the building industry. But can their fees be justified? More importantly, does this mean that architects charge exorbitant amounts of money for their unique service?

In this article we will address this question that is in every client’s mind. While the architectural profession comes with an element of prestige, it is also a highly creative one that involves a lot of hard work and sleepless nights. Therefore, how an architect set their fees often becomes a balancing act between what the client is willing to pay and what the architect feels is reasonable.

Understanding The Basics Difference Between Capitalized & Expensed Costs

If you have a new construction project in mind, understanding the basic differences between capitalized and expensed will be beneficial. It is very easy to make mistakes when trying to estimate the financial impact of a new construction project. Both of these terms can be used when talking about construction projects, but there are some key differences to consider.

Capitalized Costs

These are the costs of a construction project that have been formally recognized in the financial records. They are listed in the purchase orders, and the expenditures have been verified by other sources. These are recognized as materials used for construction and purchased assets.

It is recognized that costs can only be capitalized if it is perceived to increase the value of the building. Hence a tender is often called to get estimates from several different contractors to ensure that you have enough data points to make a well-informed decision.

Expensed Costs

These are the costs that have been incurred and does not add value or have an economic benefit to the asset. This can include necessary costs like the labor costs, inventory expenditure and permit costs. Expensed costs basically are seen as expenditure which the asset will not enjoy benefits through them.

Can Architect Fees Be Capitalised

Now that you have a better understanding of what capitalized and expensed mean, it is time to take a look at architect fees and decide if they are expensed or capitalized. As you can probably guess, the architect design fees are expensed. The architect fees for the building permit and the architectural plans are considered project costs that are directly associated with the building project. This is because the fees are not directly related to producing value, as the drawings and architectural plans are used in the development and construction of the project. The fees are therefore treated as part of the operational costs of the project.

Architect’s Fees vs Construction Costs

From the discussion above, the architect’s fees are seen as expenses in a construction project. For construction costs, i.e. the expenditure made for monthly interim payments and purchase orders are seen as costs that can be capitalized. This is because the materials used for the building can be seen to add value to the land and asset – there will an appreciation of value in time. The lay person may think that the contractor’s costs are better value for money, compared to a good architect.

While this may be true, it is wise not to forget – who is the person who came up with the design, and who is author and leader of the project. The originator of the design will always come from the pen of the architect. From the selection of materials used to the specification of unseen items such as water proofing and termite protection etc, – these are all decisions of the architect.

At the end of the project, a good architect does determine how the building will look upon completion. Clearly, when the building is completed and the valuation does show an increase in value for the asset – it is the joint effort of the architect and the workmanship of the contractor.


It is important to keep in mind to look at capitalization and expense rules with a macro view point. If you are unsure whether you should expense or capitalize a certain cost, you should consult a tax professional who is an expert in this area. But when thinking about engaging a Singapore architect for your project – be mindful to have a broader perspective beyond the calculation of capitalized costs and expenses.

Can Singapore Architects Also Do Interior Design?

Every building in Singapore tells a story, and these stories are made by architects and interior designers. But a lot of people are often confused as to whether they should hire an architect and interior designer separately or someone who does both. When putting together a team for your project in Singapore – you need to understand the services that the architects can provide you. Even though architects and interior designers may seem to do the same things, their qualifications and scope of work are entirely different. But it does not mean that an architect cannot do interior designing for you, given they have proper qualifications and experience. This article will help you understand how the skills of architects and interior designers vary, differ and overlap. Additionally, it will help you answer if you should hire an architect with experience in interior design or an exclusive interior designer for your space.

What Do Singapore Architects Do?

The scope of a Singapore Architect usually covers different aspects, including –

  • The main responsibility of an architect in Singapore is to design a building or structure based on the requirements of their clients and as per the local laws. The design will take care of several varying concerns such as the building form, façade treatment, orientation of the building according to the sun path, internal planning and more.
  • Once the design is finalized, they submit the all the relevant drawings to the local development authority and Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for permit approval.
  • Once the BCA approves the design, technical working drawings are released to the builders for construction. Some of the drawings include, floor plans, locations of all bathrooms, plumbing and sanitary provisions, position and size of the doors and windows, specifications of floor materials and layout, electrical layouts and others.
  • The best Singapore architects also coordinate with the builders and supervise the overall construction for smooth execution and completion of the project.

What Do Singapore Interior Designers Do?

Interior designs in Singapore bring their creative hats to the job along with technical knowledge. Their responsibilities include the following –

  • Once the construction of a building is completed, the interior designer will beautify the indoor space of all types of buildings like homes, offices, hotels, and others.
  • They create drawings of the interior designs that are aesthetic and functional for the interior space based on their clients’ lifestyles, preferences, and budgets. These drawings are then sent to the clients for approval.
  • Once the drawings are approved, these drawings are then handed over to the different carpenters or contractors to execute the specific tasks. The drawings provide details such as the materials and the finishes for different items of work like the cabinets, decorative wall paneling, ceiling features and others.
  • The interior designer also helps pick the furnishings, textiles, hardware, drapery, color combination, paint colors, wallpapers, and loose furniture to complete the look of the interiors.
  • The interior designer will coordinate with different contractors to ensure all work is up to specification and completed in a timely manner.

What is the Role of Interior Design within Architecture?

The majority of architects in Singapore tend not to be very deeply involved with the interiors of the buildings they design, even though there is always a dialogue between the architect and the interior designer. But in modern times and with more emphasis on interdisciplinary expertise, a number of successful Singapore architects like to have more control over every aspect of the building they are designing, including the furniture, fittings, and lighting. It allows them to create a higher quality and integrated living or working environment for their clients.

It is worth mentioning that the boundaries between the architecture and interior design discipline often overlap. In general, architects with interior design experience can be equipped to carry out interior design and decoration work. On the contrary, interior designers are not able to carry out the duties of architects because they probably do not have the experience, tertiary skills or qualifications. A lot interior designers like to call themselves interior architects, but it is important to understand their scope should be based mainly on interior works, not works that affect exteriors of a space or structure.

Should You Have Your Singapore Architect Do the Interior Design or Hire an Exclusive Interior Designer?

Singapore architects and interior designers both bring to the table certain skill sets that are critical to good design. So, who to hire will depend on the expertise of your Singapore architect and your particular project needs. If you already have a structure built and just need help with designing the interiors, an interior designer exclusively would be best.

But, if you are considering building a structure from scratch, then hiring a Singapore architect with knowledge of the interiors would be a smart and cost-effective solution. In cases of remodeling or rebuilding where the walls need to come down or the structure needs to be changed (in Singapore this is called addition and alteration works), it is desirable to hire a Singapore architect with interior designing experience to make the new structure aesthetically pleasing and functional. Look at your individual project to help you decide whose skills would be the best fit for your requirements.

Architects can be equipped with interior design expertise if you find the right one. Otherwise, it is always possible to engage a good architect and interior designer to work collaboratively. It is useful if they both know each other and are able to work together. After all, a building project is usually a fairly long-term commitment for success.

Many full-service Singapore architects, like ADX Architects have a strong architectural team and an in-house interior design team to manage their client’s projects. It allows them to focus on the big picture, and it can be a magnificent amalgamation of insights from both fields that can do wonders for your project.

Why Does It Cost So Much to Hire a Singapore Architect?

There was a time when an architect’s fees were based on a fixed percentage of the project and the construction cost. But, over the years, the fee structure has become much more complex. One of the major reasons for it is a wide array of specialized services offered by architects these days, which wasn’t the case earlier. But, even then, many people continue to question why Singapore architects charge exorbitantly.

“Why does it cost so much for a set of blueprints?”

It is one question most architects in Singapore have heard before. However, just like any other service-based profession, architecture involves a series of complex tasks throughout the project. Here are some of the things that factor into a Singapore architect’s fees –

Their Vast Experience

A good Singapore architect will have hundreds of completed projects under their belt. This experience is invaluable when it comes to investing in a sizeable real estate project. Hiring a qualified and licensed architect allows you to tap into their experience, making them well worth their fees. They have the expertise to translate your wish list of needs and wants into a beautiful yet functional built design. Years of experience provide them with the ability to see the bigger picture.

Their Willingness to Go Beyond Your Expectations

An architect sees much more than the intended design; they see the entire project as a whole. Every project is unique and has its own set of requirements and challenges. An architect’s knowledge covers everything from design, law, sociology, ergonomics, and other areas such as construction techniques and materials. They are capable of coordinating all aspects of the project to minimize any unforeseen problems and costly errors.

Ensuring Smooth Flow of Project

The construction of a house is a cumbersome process and is often messy and disruptive. Involving a Singapore architect throughout the designing and construction process ensures they monitor if what is drawn on paper is actually realized in the building stage. While most other contractors involved in the building process will come and go, an architect will be there till the end to ensure consistent and sustainable results.

Handling All Project Stakeholders’ Expectations

All stakeholders of a real estate project do not have the same objectives. Therefore, it is critical to establish qualities of the project that will help satisfy the needs and expectations of the clients and that of the end-users. An architect can identify the areas of convergence and those of differences between them and manage their expectations accordingly. An architect is well-versed with the technicalities of the design and construction process and understands that it needs to be simplified for the stakeholders and end-users to gain clarity.

To satiate the expectations of all the parties involved, the architect often uses a mix of traditional and modern forms of communication. It includes reports, briefs, feasibility studies, risk management surveys, health and safety reports, cost plans, construction progress reports, photography, models, certificates, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), 3D Printing, Building Information Modelling, project schedules, and more. Which of these measures are used by an architect depends on the scale, complexity, and economics of the project. The primary aim of these measures is to ensure the outcome of the project aligns with its objectives and owners/stakeholders’ vision.

Leading Design and Coordinating Other Consultants

Singapore’s design and construction process involve coordination with other consultants such as engineers, interior designers, painters, and others. An architect has prior experience working with local construction professionals, ensuring perfect coordination among them. It offloads the worries of the owner and takes care of the many cumbersome tasks on their behalf. Architects negotiate with the planners on planning permits, coordinate with the engineers, builders, and surveyors to keep schedules and budgets in check.

Meet Deadlines and Ensure Quality

The role of an architect goes beyond design and drawing. Their responsibility also includes project administration. In this capacity, they can keep tighter control over the project’s activities and cost. It is this area where the value of a good architect is demonstrated in monetary terms. They reduce the risk of the project not meeting its deadlines or getting substandard works. Some design decisions continue to be made till the last day of the project. An architect helps protect the project’s integrity and prevent things from going awry.

The services of a Singapore architect may seem expensive at first as it doesn’t involve buying something tangible for your project. However, you are hiring them for their skills and time that is hard to quantify. Hiring an architect for your project ensures you get the best out of your project, regardless of its scale and complexity. When considering their services, their fees should always be in conjunction with the value they bring to the project.

What Building 50 Different Projects Has Taught Me as a Singapore Architect

Architecture in Singapore is one of the most exhilarating and challenging careers one can take on. There are many obstacles to face when working in the industry. From crafting new designs to coordination with numerous consultants and contractors and management of client needs, one can face a lot of challenges.

Indeed, it takes a certain level of grit, determination as well as passion to survive in the profession of architecture. The satisfaction of seeing one of your creations come to life as a permanent built structure is immense. Furthermore, there is much happiness the occupant benefits and shows appreciation for all your hard work put in as an architect. It makes the blood, sweat and tears that went into the architectural design, development and construction all worthwhile.

A lot has changed in my career since I began as an intern back in 2003. I have learned a lot about the profession – the up and downs of the work, especially the architectural practice in Singapore. With that said, let’s take a peek into my journey as an architect and see what you can learn from my experience!

1. Communication Really Is Key

Communication is vital in every aspect of life. It is especially important for architects, whose job requires the communication of our ideas. We need to find ways to communicate to our clients; and this often involves many tools such as drawings, renderings and even 3D models. Today these tools has evolved to using virtual models, walk-throughs and videos to allow clients to visualize and understand our ideas. Effective communication is also required in the coordination of many parties – consultants, contractors and sub-contractors to create the final product.

Of course, a certain level of training is required for architects to be able to communicate well. At times there is a lot of frustration in the field when problems arise due to poor communication. It is serious if this leads to misunderstanding and works on site are not done right. Indeed, it can be difficult to navigate problems when you have so many people involved in the process of producing a building.

So there is a steep learning curve when one graduates and joins the architectural profession, It is important to stay positive and learn from your mistakes and experience. Engage with seniors to learn from their experiences too. Finally, read widely and make use of the company’s resources to pick up as much as possible whilst on the job. Nothing beats practical on-site experience. This will make for a better working environment and ultimately make your work more enjoyable!

2. Learn & Evolve with Your Clients. Different Strokes for Different Folks

When you’re creating spaces, you have to work with many people. And when designing a building, you have to work with so many more. What’s interesting is how your client can impact your design in so many ways. Sometimes it’s frustrating because they don’t understand what you want to accomplish. In turn, this means that you must work harder to understand and convince them of your ideas and proposals if you truly believe it benefits them.

Other times it’s a blast because clients are excited to be involved and ready to work with you to create something even better than they imagined. They may be all-ears to your suggestions and this means ideas can flow smoothly from start to implementation! In any case, understanding what your client wants is paramount.

3. Respect the Budget

Your creative vision should never be stifled, but it’s always good to have a backup plan. Sometimes the budget is a major factor that holds you back in the design. Oftentimes, clients are not familiar with the building costs involved- so you’re left with a unrealistic budget to accomplish everything you need to do.

This can be hard because you know that it’s not always possible to do what you want. What I’ve learned is that this is just something you have to work with. And this is also the main challenge to your creativity as an architect in Singapore. How can you create good architecture that satisfies the client needs and still work within their budget? You will learn this through experience and resourcefulness. In the end, it doesn’t mean expensive materials or construction will equate to good architecture.

4. Be Creative and Candid

What I’ve learned about architecture is that it requires a lot of creative thinking. Sometimes you come up with something out of the left field and then find it to be perfect for space. Other times, you have to be really candid about how and why something isn’t working. Sometimes, you have to defend your choices if they aren’t what your client wants. You can’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in. It’s important to know that not everyone understands aesthetics and architecture – and how it can affect function, ambience and livability, After all, architectural design is similar to art and it can be very subjective. Being creative will allow you to develop skills to understand and different solutions for different clients.

5. Deal with Criticism with Positive Attitude

It’s easy to take criticism personally, especially when you put a lot of effort into something. There will be a lot criticism from various parties – from your seniors and bosses to other consultants and your clients. While you may not agree with the criticism, it’s important to respond with a positive attitude.

Being polite and respectful will get you further than taking it the wrong way. If you don’t agree with the comments, it is important to prove your points effectively and respectfully. Of course, you should also approach all criticisms with humility and a willingness to learn. It is through this continued learning process, that you will grow as a matured and accomplished architect.

6. Keep learning, improving and evolving

No matter how long you’ve been in the industry as a Singapore Architect, there’s always something to learn. There’s always something new to explore and try out. Indeed, there is so much to learn in architecture. This includes the different building typologies – office, residential apartments, hotels etc and the varied aspects of architecture – design, construction detailing, project management etc.

As I continued to learn more about my craft, I realized just how much more there is to it. In fact, this is also the most enjoyable part of the job – learning new styles, methods of construction, types of materials and technology etc.

Related to learning and asking questions, you can check out our blog post about 5 questions that you always wanted to ask your Singapore Architect.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching your project come to life progressively with time. You can come up with something amazing and see it realized before your eyes. While being an architect in Singapore has its uphill battles, it can also come with excitement and feelings of great satisfaction!

A Client’s Role in a Singapore Architectural Project

As a Singaporean architect, one of the biggest hurdles you’ll face is coming up with the idea that will meet the client’s needs and ultimately makes the client happy. Your creative side must be bursting out of your ears with ideas, but you’ll have to contain it until you can meet with your client. Your client is the single most important person in the entire design process, responsible for all the decisions for project.

Of course, the Client has to be guided by you as the architect. Nonetheless, their input can dramatically affect the final outcome of the project. The following below enlisted are some critical contributions from the client that will have a big impact on the process and the result. By taking a closer look at the role that clients play in the design process, you’ll be able to better understand the journey of creating an architectural project that responds to the Client’s requirement.

1. Initial Project Ideation- Formulation of Design Brief

Your client is like your audience- who provides you with the context, requirements and guidelines for the project. It helps you to better understand what you need to bring to the table for the architectural project. Your client may have a fairly extensive brief that helps you to create a sound design. On the other hand, your client may not know exactly what they want, providing you with the freedom to come up with a unique design.

In either case, the project brief, once formulated, will guide you on how to design the project, including the strategies, technologies, and design solutions that can be used. This may be the rooms, areas and materials required for the various areas of the building. During this process, it is important to involve the client as much as possible. This will make them more invested in the project and help them better understand what is happening at every stage of the design process.

2. Appoint Architect and Other Consultants

Your client is the one who owns the project, and has the power to appoint the architect and other consultants (such as structural engineers, lighting designers, etc.) for the project. They may not have a specific individual in mind and would like to have an open competition or tender.

This is a good opportunity for you to try and convince them that you are the right person for the job. During this process, your client will have a lot of questions for you about your credentials, as well as your experience. You may be provided with opportunities to show your experience and portfolio, as well as to meet with the client in person. The meeting will be an opportunity for you to present yourself and your work in a convincing way to the Client – an opportunity to convince and impress. How would you convince the Client that you are the Singapore architect best suited for the job? Be aware that after these meetings, the client may still decide to appoint another architect based on a variety of reasons.

3. Work Closely with Architect on Architectural Design

The next stage is where you and your client can get to work on the project. Meetings with your client will be frequent and may occur very often. This is where your creative ideas have to be presented in a clear and understandable way. You have to demonstrate how your design will be able to address the client’s issues and solve the problems. Your client will make decisions that you may not agree with but must respect, as they have the final say. The main point to understand is that you and your client have a common goal, which is to create the best possible design. The more involved you are with the client and their ideas, the better the end result will be.

4. Award Main Contractor

Based on the brief and your design proposal, your client will have to decide on a contractor to award for the project. During the entire tender process, you as the architect will have a key role to play. Working closely with the client will mean the process of award will be smooth. At the end of the day, the client does rely on the architect’s recommendation on the builder to award for the entire project.

5. Make Decisions and Selections That Affect Cost and Time

As the project progresses, your client will start to make decisions that affect the cost and time. The simplest of decisions – such as what materials to use to for the floor or wall of a space can have an impact on the overall budget. During this stage, you will need to discuss and propose to your client on all these things so as to enable the client to make these decisions. These decisions will have to be made with consideration of overall costs, material durability and aesthetic considerations. Furthermore, the decisions have to be made in a timely fashion so as to allow the project to proceed smoothly and on schedule for completion.

6. Client Plays Many Crucial Roles from Conception to Implementation

In conclusion, it is important to remember that your client plays many crucial roles from conception to implementation. The best way to ensure that your client is happy with the end result is to create a strong relationship with them from the very beginning. The success of the project rests on you as the architect and your client. The more involved you are with the client throughout the process, the better the end result will be. You can either win over the client’s heart by listening to their problems and working closely with them or lose them by not being able to keep up with their demands and losing control of the project. When both of you are happy with the end result, that’s when it’s a job well done.

3 Reasons Why Good Aesthetics doesn’t always make better Living in a Home

Nowadays, when you walk around a landed housing neighbourhood, you’ll notice many residential houses with fascinating materials, daring features and bold forms in their designs. Indeed, the exteriors of these houses can be stunning and beautiful. Their interiors are also very well-decorated and attractive.

But do such wonderful designs always make for better living in a home? Well, in Singapore, pleasing aesthetics does not guarantee better living. Here are 3 reasons why good aesthetics does not always mean it is a home for better living:

1. Aesthetic Bias

Aesthetic bias is a scenario where people view aesthetically-pleasing homes to be more desirable – regardless of their practicality or functionality.

It can be noticed that some people have made the choice to live in a fancier or smaller house simply because they are appealing. The house may have odd curves or unrealistic spaces that do not meet their requirements or suit their lifestyle.

The living and dining areas may be too small, or the bedrooms may have awkward corners that does not allow furniture to fit easily.

It is strange that this demand for aesthetically-pleasing architecture has continued despite inherent problems that can impede better living in a home. Perhaps these house-owners have been misled by mass media or smooth-talking designers that give them the impression that sexy designs equate to better living.

In fact, a discerning house-owner should request for designs that go beyond mere aesthetics. It is more important for a home to fit your daily needs, than for it to be simply beautiful in looks and aesthetics.

2. Compromise on Practicality

Practicality in Singapore homes refers to a host of factors. These include the following:

a. Function – The house should suit the occupant(s), in terms of the his/her/their lifestyle, habits and needs. Different families have different needs. For example, a multi-generational family with 3 generations will have very different needs from a young couple with many pets. Hence, the architect who designs the house will need to understand this and cater for the needs of these occupants.

b. Maintainability – The materials used should be easily maintained, especially in our tropical weather in Singapore. Natural materials are always welcomed in a home – but this should be balanced with whether it can “grow old gracefully”. This means if it can be easily well-maintained.

c. Usability – The spaces within the house should meet the needs of the user. This refers to the common areas of living/dining rooms as well as the private areas of the bedrooms and bathrooms that are catered for the respective user. For example, for a bathroom – an elderly person will require a more spacious bathroom with grab bars.

3. Forms Follow Function

Finally, there is a famous saying – “Form follows function”. This was coined by the famous architect Louis H.Sullivan. It basically means the form of the building should follow the intended function of the building – to the extent that the function of a building actually more important than the appearance of the building!

Some Singapore architects may strive to achieve good aesthetics and it so doing, neglect the real reason for architecture in the first place – which is to build for its user.

Conclusion: Factors to Consider alongside aesthetics when choosing your new home

So here are 3 essential factors you can consider alongside aesthetics when working with your architect to design your dream home in Singapore:

1. Functionality
When designing a home, a Singapore architect should always have the end-user in mind. The architect should understand the intricate lifestyle, uses and requirements for all the spaces within the house. From the living spaces, to the bedrooms, bathrooms and storage spaces, they should be designed to fit the unique requirements of the house owner. Take time to understand these things and then more. A skillful architect will then be able to come up with a design is both aesthetically-pleasing and meets all these necessary functions. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The best home will be one that can achieve a good balance. They consider things like the location of the house, number of occupants, and lifestyle of an occupant to make the home functional

2. Flexibility
A well-designed house will allow for longevity. This refers to whether the house can be designed to allow for future expansion or lifestyle changes. For example, recently the COVID pandemic has made working from home a norm. Does the house cater for space for occupants to work or study from home? Is the house energy-efficient and ventilation conducive for daily working or does air-conditioning needs to be turned on for the full day?
Is the insulation of the house sufficient in terms of heat insulation? Does the windows and doors provide sufficient sound insulation? These are all practical concerns for a home in Singapore.

3. Context
This refers to the site of the house – in terms of its location and site context. The orientation of the site, whether has an east-west orientation or north-south orientation does require different design treatments. For example, a house that faces west can utilise solar fins to shield the western sun heating up the internal spaces.
Another example -a house in a temperate climate such as Australia versus a house in a tropical climate such as Singapore does mean the house may be designed quite differently. This also means the mechanical and natural ventilation requirements will vary greatly due to the location of the house.

4. Sustainability
Sustainability refers to whether the house can be easily maintained for the long term. After-all, a house can be a home for many years. Most owners will wish for their home to stand the test of time.

Materials used for the house will have to be easily maintained. This will be different for different types of houses in different locations. Hence, in Singapore, more home owners have been choosing homogeneous tiles to natural stone due to its ease of maintenance.

Recently, sustainability concerns have also brought home owners to consider “green” or sustainable practices. In Singapore, most architects are well-versed with these practices. These practices could see the intelligent design of spaces to allow for cross-ventilation, use of solar panels to generate power and smart technology to save electricity or water in house-hold appliances such as air-conditioners, staircase lighting and irrigation mechanisms for landscaping.


While aesthetics is an essential factor when choosing a new home in Singapore, it does not necessarily guarantee better living. As you search for an architect to design your home- ensure you consider whether an architect can fully appreciate the above practical concerns. Or is the architect just good at designing aesthetically-pleasing houses that cost a lot to build and maintain?

From the above points and examples, it is evident that a better living home in Singapore does entail a well-trained and well-informed architect to create a home that is both beautiful, practical and functional.

5 questions that you always wanted to ask your Singapore Architect

It might sound prestigious but being a Singapore architect is not always a walk in a park.
We spoke to Casey Chua to find out more about this profession.

Q1. How did you first discover that there was a profession known as an architect and what made you consider it as a professional career?

I was always interested in art as a child. I entered many competitions as an inspiring young artist. In high school, I was in the Art Elective Program (AEP). The program exposed me to various disciplines in art, including sketching, painting, ceramics and design. Design was the subject that I was most inclined to – leading me eventually to pursue architecture in university.

During the course of my university education, I realized that architecture require a good balance of aesthetics and function. I enjoyed the fact that architecture was catered for the people – an important and practical role in society. This was probably what made me decide to pursue architecture as a career.

Q2. What are some differences between studying architecture and actually practicing architecture?

The main difference would be studying architecture was putting ideas on paper, and practicing architecture was putting these ideas to reality! In university, we could dream up buildings and create virtual structures. Our ideas could be very creative and experimental. When I started working, it was a big eye-opener and learning curve because the practical and functional aspects of architecture had to be given the priority.

Some practical considerations include:
How would the site conditions affect our architecture? These conditions would include the orientation, context and terrain of the site.
What is the intended occupant or user of our building?
What is the budget of the Client and how would it affect the design aspects of the building?
How would the building be built to allow it to be completed on schedule?

I realized that practicing architecture in the real world involved site conditions, client requirements, cost considerations and practical needs of the occupant. These important factors were definitely more realistic as we practiced architecture than when we were studying architecture.

Q3. What’s the best and worst part of being a professional architect?

The best part would be the power to create buildings that would be used by the people. These buildings are built structures that are permanent in nature. Therefore, there is a responsibility as a professional architect to design a building that would be well-suited and purposefully-designed for the intended user.

The worse part will have to be the long hours involved in our profession as an architect. The nature of the work is such that design is always evolving and developing and it required a certain of experience and skill to arrive at a good solution for a project.

Q4. What are some differences between a good architect and an excellent architect?

I believe the key difference between a good architect and an excellent one is how the architect creates the built environment to suit the intended user. Because the purpose of architecture is for our community- an architect will always have to think about the intended use of the building that he or she creates.
At ADX Architects, our mission is to create architecture for the people. At the same time, we also believe design can be a catalyst for change.
As a practicing architect for more than 15 years, I believe that excellent architecture can create a change in the way we live, work and play – a change that would be practical, purposeful and progressive.

Q5. Lives of individuals, organisations and communities can be shaped by your work as an Architect. How do you use this great power for the greater good?

I have mentioned the purpose of architecture was to cater for the community. It is important that an architect reflects on this responsibility. During the COVID pandemic, it seems architects have been placed in the spotlight – as agents of sustainability and climate change. Obviously, this is because architects, together with urban designers and town planners, have a huge hand in developing the cities we live in.

As an architect, we have great power and responsibility in how the buildings are designed. This in turn can contribute to the environment at large. In Singapore, we are nudged towards creating green buildings. These will have a broader impact on the environment. There are various strategies for this – including using design strategies, sustainable products, solar panels, and energy efficient building practices and technology.

What are the various services that a Singapore Architect provides?

While the architectural profession commands admiration and respect, many people wonder what an Architect does as a profession.

Does an Architect physically construct buildings? What is the difference between an Architect and a Builder? What does an Architect actually do? What type of services does an Architect provide?

Here are 4 main services that an Architect provides:

1. Space Planning

An architect is someone you would engage if you wish to have a professional plan a space for your use. Your space could be an office – where you wish to fit 100 people, including meeting rooms, cubicles and break out areas; or a restaurant – where you wish to seat 50 people, a bar counter and a kitchen; or a house – where you wish to plan the living and dining areas, kitchen and bedrooms – an Architect will be able to help!

The training of an architect means he or she is equipped with the necessary skills to plan any space that suits your purpose for the space.

In fact, architects are master space planners – trained to understand spatial relationships, workflows for different types of functions and acceptable sizes of various use-types. They are aware of micro and macro dimensions of spaces that will be ergonomic and practical.

So on a small scale; it could be a space for a small office or apartment. On a larger scale; it could be an entire building or even a city or township!

2. Design

Design can be a difficult skill to comprehend. Fundamentally, it can be explained as a skill of being able to propose creative solutions to problems. Design has recently been pushed to the main stream – including design thinking- that is important in not only design related fields but everything from academia to information technology.

An architect’s design skills are more pertaining to the built environment. More specifically, it is the design of built structures – office buildings, hotels, apartments, shopping centres, industrial buildings, amusement parks and entertainment complexes. It can also include other related fields such as interior design, façade design, furniture design and stage design.

They often work with other professionals in the construction industry, including structural engineers, electrical engineers, acoustic consultants, landscape designers, interior designers, lighting consultants, quantity surveyors and building contractors.

The architect usually takes the lead in projects, and their role is a lead designer or coordinator for the project. The reason is because they are knowledgeable in not only architectural design, but authority regulations and contracts.

3. Authority Submissions

Architects are experts in the built environment. In Singapore, a qualified architect has to go through the full scope of a project – from inception to completion, before they can be eligible to take qualification exam. Upon passing the exam, the architect will be called a “Qualified Person”. This means an architect will have to be knowledgeable on the rules and regulations pertaining to the built environment in Singapore. The scope is very extensive and it covers various boards of Authority:

  1. Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA)
  2. Building Construction Authority (BCA)
  3. Land Transport Authority (LTA)
  4. National Environment Authority (NEA)
  5. Fire Safety (SCDF)
  6. National Parks Board (Nparks)

If you need to obtain Authority clearances for a property that you own and you are unsure if it meets the regulations in any of the above government bodies, it is definitely a good idea to speak to an architect for their advice.

4. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility studies are typically conducted by owners of land. These owners are usually developers and wish to do a study to find out what is feasible to be built on their land. Architects have the skill set to be able to propose ideas for the land. Depending on their experience, they will be able to give much creative input.

The feasibility study will usually entail drawings such as plans, elevations and perspectives (3D drawings) that will give you a very good idea of what can be done on your land.

Hence, if you are a developer -one of the first consultants to speak to will be an architect.  An important tip is to find an architect that has the relevant experience for your intended purpose on the land. Certain architects have extensive experience on hotels, while others may be master designers of residential apartments and houses. So check out the architect’s body of work and portfolio to help you in deciding which architect to engage.

Why You Should Look More Than Price When Hiring a Singapore Architect

Excelling in the art and science of materializing a client’s vision, the architect is one of the key professionals involved in the process of envisioning, planning, and eventually actualizing a project. An architect has a role to play from the initial design of plans and façade, to the final completion of the building, and maybe even beyond.

Contemporary architecture is characterized by a multidisciplinary approach where the architects work closely with other professionals, like professional engineers, interior designers, landscape architects, and even lighting experts, to create the ultimate experience in an innovative, sustainable, functional, and aesthetically appealing solutions.

For a business or an individual wanting to create something valuable, something that will set you or your business apart from the competition, you need to make a decision on choosing an architect who can be involved in every aspect of your project. However, that decision should never be guided by cost alone.

Yes, the cost of an architect’s services is one of the primary considerations in the hiring process, but what is more important is the value he can bring to your project through his design. A good architect is not about the cost but about the value his work brings to your project.

Enlisted are six major aspects to consider while hiring your architect:

1. Design Expertise and Track Record

Experience is one of the key considerations in selecting and hiring any professional, more importantly, an architect. So charge a good architect with the experience and track record to match. Evaluate the portfolios of different candidates, shortlist a few and ask them some preliminary questions to assess their capabilities and suitability. It is note-worthy that most good architects value their expertise so they will not be giving any “free” design proposal without an official engagement. Even though most architects have experience in design, a good architect will also accommodate your requests for a specific style of architecture that you like and would work with you on the same.

2. Architect’s Role in a House Project

The architect plays a vital role in taking your project from the initial conceptualization to the completion. As a client, it is also important that you know about the exact role that the architects play. Your architect must work with various experts like contractors, plumber, electrician, bathroom and kitchen specialists, and other responsible parties involved in the project to ensure the project progress runs smoothly. He creates a construction strategy that makes the building process easier.

3. Selection and Specification of Materials

One of the key aspects of any construction project is selecting and specifying the right type of material. Materials used in a building project are affected by many factors and need expert advice. Before you can select the right materials, you need an architect’s advice. A good architect will guide you towards the best kinds of materials that’s well suited for your project and that you can use without giving second thoughts. Often material selection costs a lot of time and money; therefore, if the architect is familiar with the area and budget, they can help you make the right decisions for a perfect building.

4. Compliance to Necessary Authority Regulations

Architects are licensed to create buildings and have the correct qualifications, and are able to deal with necessary authority regulations. It is very important to work with a competent and qualified Singapore architect, as such is part of the architect’s responsibility to ensure proper building construction is carried out. Having years of experience and insight to the technical knowledge required to design a building is a very important value-added service from qualified architects.
They develop the building’s design and construction plans thoroughly and ensure that they correspond to applicable building codes, according to the building type. They are also aware of environment and site impact which will affect orientation of rooms, cross-ventilation and natural lighting benefits. So when looking for an architect for your home, check if they are licensed and registered for this profession.

5. Project Administration – Control Contractor’s Time and Cost

Focusing on project administration is another basic responsibility of an architect. In this capacity, they control the time and cost of the project and have complete authority over the assigned project. Modern architecture is changing very fast, and managing a better time to completion of the project is an important job for the architect. Apart from contracts stated in the schedule of work, the architect does the major supervision work related to the contract and keeps a tighter control over a project’s activities, cost, and time.

6. Professional Ethic and Conduct:
The most impressive architects are the one’s with outstanding ethics. They are willing to work with your requirements and help you achieve the project plans within the time and available budget. During the project, you can expect to be treated with courtesy, integrity and professionalism. So, select an architect based on their professional conduct and ethical behavior. They should possess the ability to work professionally and ethically with clients, contractors, and consultants, creating an atmosphere that is conducive for both parties.

There are countless differences between a good and a bad architect; therefore, to hire one, go through proper research, ask some questions, and look for the right answers. Also, remember the most important guideline while hiring a Singapore architect is to look at the architect’s track record while hiring them.

Debunking 5 Singapore Architect Myths

Singapore does not have the world’s tallest mountains or the world’s deepest gorges. Singapore does not have many places listed in Unesco’s list of world heritage sites. What Singapore has is a dynamic economy. It is the economic outlook of Singapore that is the primary driver of property prices here.

The opportunity to build a landed house in Singapore is exceptional. Whether it is a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) within one of Singapore’s most coveted areas or a brand new landed house, you want something beautiful, functional and long-lasting.

In your research and discussions with people, there are certain myths that you came across. You know how damaging these can be, that’s why you landed on this article.

Let’s tackle them.

1. “Hiring a Singapore Architects is expensive.”

In what may look like a case of sibling rivalry, this myth is usually perpetrated by people who engaged with contractors and eschewed an architect for their project.
The greatest thing that one has to look at when developing a Singapore architectural project is cost. These include material, licenses, labour and the skilled manpower who will get the job done.

Two of the most prominent of these, of course, is your Singapore architect and Contractor. It is the architect who will come up with the plans, and the contractor to implement them.

As a cost-saving measure, many people tend to eschew the important services of an architect on the misguided myth that they are expensive to hire. This is definitely not the case.

The architect will only cost anywhere from 5% to 10% of the entire cost of the project.

2. “My project is a simple one – I do not need an Architect. Just copy the neighbour’s house.”

Getting that Singapore landed property project off the ground can be one of the most fulfilling things you’ve ever done. As such, you might feel that it is in your best interests to get it done as quickly, and as cheap as possible.

Since your neighbour’s house looks amazing, you think well, the contractor can just replicate that and you’ll be good to go.

It doesn’t work like that.

Every site is different. From the size of the land to the orientation of the site. Copying a design does not benefit you at all.
In any case, why would you want to live in a copy of someone else’s work? Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to live in a home that was designed especially for you?

Afterall, your and your family’s lifestyle and habits may be very different from your neighbours.

A Singapore architect will help you design, plan and construct a house that will provide that satisfying feeling that you are unique.

3. “The builder can get an architect for you – the architect just signs the plans only.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a lot of Singapore building laws and codes that govern how your property should be built. Some builders are only concerned with having their construction drawings signed off by an architect.

This actually is a terrible idea to heed.

A qualified Singapore architect has the skills to turn your dream to a buildable reality. He or she will take your thoughts and ideas and then use their extensive knowledge to come up with designs that are not only functional but cost-effective and legally compliant to the regulations.

4. “I do not need an architect; I just need an engineer for my project.”

One thing you need to understand is the key differences between an architect and an engineer. The architect designs and creates the building; and the engineer develops the structure for the builder to construct it. Do note that both parties have a distinct role to play. This applies to authority submissions and cost controls too. Singapore architectural project overruns can be quite expensive, both in terms of time and money.

While the engineer will be happy to take more of your money, it is the architect’s job to ensure the design fits your budget and overruns don’t occur. This includes documentation of the design, and supervising the project during construction – ensuring the materials used are as per specified and the construction program is followed.

5. “The architect design is always more expensive to build…”

A good architect will always start the design basing on the owner’s requirement – and that includes the budget. The only thing you have to be looking out for with an architect’s design is that everything agreed to will be built. There is no room for shortcuts or substitutions.

Cutting corners with construction is never a good thing. Building defects and problems are not only expensive but also quite troubling and disruptive. The most common reason?

Skimping on quality materials and workmanship to save on costs.

A Singapore architect will ensure the construction standards are adhered to. This may seem a bit more costly at face value, but the peace of mind and protection from lawsuits and damages will be well worth it in the end.

What to Do When Issues Arise with Your Singapore Building Project?

Getting your building project in Singapore up and running has to be one of the most exciting prospects you are undertaking in some time. The progress has been nothing but wonderful, up to a point.

However, it is not uncommon for various teething issues to crop up. In fact, it would be a marvel if there are no issues for a project of any given scale, size and complexity. These issues could contractual issues with the parties involved.

So, what are some of these common issues, and how are you going to resolve them?

Issues with compliance to Singaporean Authorities (URA, BCA, FSB).

Construction is a complex process that involves many parties working together in collaboration. In order to realise your dream project, the construction process has to be subjected to the rules and regulations of various authorities. The regulations by the Singapore authorities ensures the process is conducted in a proper, responsible and regulated fashion.

However, it is very easy to find yourself on the wrong side of these authorities. In order to avoid falling short of the law, you should engage the services of a professional – a registered Architect.

In Singapore, a registered Architect is one who has been through the necessary education and training. Furthermore, he or she would have gained the required work experience to be able to be qualified. This architect will usually be found on the registry of architects.

Therefore, the professional is certainly not only a builder with track record of relevant works. It should also not be a designer of sorts, even with experience in relevant works.

It is important to add that the Singapore registered Architect is also governed by the code of conduct and ethics as stipulated by the Architects Act.

With the guidance of a professional Architect, you should be able to navigate through the codes and regulations for compliance in your project to achieve completion and satisfaction.

Contractual Issues.

From the start of any project, it is inherent that you would want to trust the person you engage for the overall construction. For a typical new house construction, this is a relationship that will last about 12 months or more. However, issues can and do arise during the process of construction.

Without a guiding agreement to help define procedures, things can easily turn messy with multiple misinterpretations and misunderstandings. This agreement between the Owner and Contractor has to be defined by a set of drawings and documentation.

A Singapore Architect will assist you by developing a set of contract documents and drawings. A typical format is by the Singapore Institute of Architects.

Before any project can commence, the contract documents should by signed by all parties. The documents include drawings made by the architect, material specifications and workmanship agreements that the contractor must adhere to.

Payment Issues.

In a typical project, a quantity surveyor is responsible for ensuring the materials bought and work done on site tally with the payments made out. Only after the quantity surveyor has approved of this will the Singapore architect issue a Certification of Payment to the contractor.

The quantity surveyor working with the architect, will help to ensure works and quantities are accurate as per constructed. This will reflect on the certification of payment to the contractor. It is vital also that this process is defined in the contract as elaborated earlier. If you wish to have a peace of mind when it comes to making monthly payment to the contractor, consider to engage an architect and a quantity surveyor on your side.

Delay in project construction.

In many cases, it is possible that a project will not be able to meet the timeline projection. Unforeseen issues will usually mean there will be a delay in a construction project. This could be due to weather conditions, material procurement delays or even unforeseen issues (Covid-19 in our current pandemic situation!).

A Singapore architect will know how to evaluate the requests by the contractor for more time and evaluate their application for an Extension of Time (EOT). Again, the processes for this is documented in the contract documents, and made known to all parties.

Hence it is clearly evident that an Architect will have the knowledge and expertise to administer a project – to guide you as the owner through all these conditions in a professional manner.

So do you wish to complete your project with minimal headache and hiccups? It is highly recommended that you engage the services of a Singapore registered architect as part of the project. Contact us if you would like to learn more about how an architect can be of service to you and your project.

The Long Arm of the Law: How a Singapore Architect Can Help Navigate You Through Compliance Issues

Suppose you work in Singapore’s construction business and are embarking on a building project – you will be subject to a comprehensive scope of rules and compliance demands in Singapore. In this case, you’ll need a more than competent Singapore architect who is well-versed in the compliance mine-field to ensure you can plow your way through any compliance challenges.

The Singapore architect has to go through a long period of study and training to be qualified. The formal education starts from a BOA approved university course of study that covers the large scope of knowledge, including building technology, architectural history and theory, design, professional practice and statutory law.

Besides education, the architect requires to have practiced in Singapore, gained the relevant experience and passed the qualification examinations administered by the Board of Architects. At the end of the day, only a Registered Architect who has in force a practising certificate can supply architectural services. In addition to competence, an Architect must be of good character. In Singapore, this is governed by the Architect’s Act (Professional Conduct and Ethics) Rules.

So, all this means architects not only need to have the skill set and responsibility to ensure they are qualified to provide the architectural service to satisfy their clients, they also have the additional responsibility to act with the highest ethical standards and safeguard the public’s interests as well. This means they also have to ensure any building compiles with Authority rules and requirements.

What is Compliance?

In relation to architecture, compliance is the scrutiny of a specific project that has to follow the spirit of your project and its objectives, with Singapore’s building codes’ legal requirements alongside the design requirements.

Building contractors are regularly faced with managing large and complex projects, which means they have to pay close attention to budgets, deadlines, collaborators, progress reports, as well as compliance requirements.

Common compliance regulations in the Singapore construction industry include:
• Contractual agreements between owners, contractors, and subcontractors.
• Building standards and codes.
• Accessibility and ambulant issues.
• Fire and safety regulations.
• Safety regulations.

The Role of the Singapore Architect

An Architect is a “qualified person is an agent of the Singapore government and has a statutory duty to protect the public interest”.

In fact the role of an Architect who is the lead consultant of a project – their role is not too dissimilar to that of the conductor of a symphony, as they have to know the part of every player in the orchestra, every single team member to ensure the architecture of the building comes together beautifully…

Architects must have the necessary education, training and relevant working knowledge of a large scope of expertise – from the laws and legislation to the contracts which affects them in the execution of their duties and the design and development of construction drawings and details for the implementation of the building project.

Furthermore, at the core of an architect’s responsibilities is an expected level of care that would be reasonably expected of them as a professional to ensure the project is executed in a responsible and professional manner.

What to Expect

At the end of the day, you as the developer or Owner will decide which architect to choose. Consider the architect as an essential professional in the project, and the first and foremost party to appoint before commencement. Study their background, qualifications and track record to ensure they have what you need to execute your project.

It is wise to discuss your needs in-depth with the architects you have shortlisted to understand which architect will be most suited. Understand what their methods and strategy to tackling your project in order to come up with the best solution.

Often times, the best architect will have designed for a range of Owners, and capable to accommodate many types of requirements and demands.

Ultimately, you should have a clear design brief – a map with clear vision, path, and direction. With the right architect appointed for the role, he or she will be able to guide you to turn the dream to a built reality.

5 ways to evaluate and select a Singapore Architect

If the infrastructure is the lifeblood of a nation, then architects are its heart and sinews. Experts at conceptualizing, designing, and tailoring buildings for functional use is their primary objective. Without them, there would be no hospitals, no schools, no entertainment venues, no residential landed houses in Singapore, and definitely no shopping malls.

An architect works on the problems of space, environment, and ideas. His work can either make or break down a millennia-old traditional culture. Although the important functions of architects can be found in other disciplines as well, in general, architects are considered to be at the pinnacle of all construction professionals. However, with countless architects at your disposal in Singapore, choosing the best one can be a daunting task.

To assist you in this difficult task, enlisted are some of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing your architect.

Singapore Architect – 5 Essential Questions

1. How Does the Design Process Work?

Buildings are made to accommodate people’s lifestyles. Designing a building is actually more like designing a lifestyle than designing a simple dwelling. Buildings are on a never-ending evolution process from their conception to the actual construction of the first project. This is given the nature of technology and the social influence that modern-day changes have on buildings. So when looking for a Singapore architect, first identify how the architect adapts to changing trends. Is he or she aware of new designs as they become available? Is he or she able to relate the trends and influences with the client’s preferences and wants? Most importantly, does the architect re-evaluate the design as construction practices, regulations and technology progresses over time?

2. Estimated Timeline: How Long Will It Take to Construct the Work?

As the process of constructing buildings is long and tedious, it is important for the architect to at least give you an estimated timeline. A defined timeline will enable you to allocate the budget more effectively since you will already know how expensive the project is going to be. However, change is an often-experienced concept in the field of architecture. Moreover, construction phases are dependent on a number of different factors making the process less concrete than one would expect. Architects do not control the time schedules of the constructor. Whereas most contractors are careful in adhering to the deadlines, unexpected problems can easily stall construction. Hence, it is prudent for a Singapore architect to give you an estimated timeline, but I would advise you to cross-check other references on how much it should take for your project to be completed.

3. Experience in the Market: Does the Singapore Architect Have the Relevant Qualifications?

If you are in the market for an architect, avoid just going on by looks or catchy advertisement campaigns but instead go for an architect with the relevant qualifications. We have all heard stories of people who can’t afford a fancy house but got a little bit interested in what the architect had to say. An architect’s education and qualification are a lengthy journey that includes 6 years of study and on-the-job training. The qualification process then takes at least 2 years that includes compiling a log book of relevant experience and taking the Singapore Board of Architects examination. Many architects take almost 10 years for qualification. Hence, it is important for you to find out whether the architect is fully qualified before deciding to work with him or her.

Be wary of an architect who claims to possess a high level of expertise but is devoid of any formal education, training or certification. In Singapore, it is illegal for anyone to use the word “architect” unless the person is registered (Refer to Board of Architects Singapore FAQ)

At the end of the day, a professional Architect has to adhere to strict standards of service and ethical practice as stipulated by the law.

4. Charge: How Much Does the Architect Plan to Charge for His Services?

Although some might call it impolite to discuss business immediately, money is usually on everyone’s mind when it comes to doing business. Because building is a major undertaking – be it a hotel, office building or a landed home, it is important to enquire how much money the architect will plan to charge for his services. Ask a number of questions regarding the what the cost covers and the schedule of payment. In general, there are three parts to the cost of the construction process- Architectural consultancy fees, Authority submission fees and Construction costs.

All of these three components are important to the Client – the last fee component – “construction” being the bulk of the cost for any project. The client can set the budget that will cover each of these parts independently, or the seek an architect for guidance and estimates. To avoid issues and misunderstandings, it is crucial that both the client and the architect agree on the scope of the project and costs involved for each part. This will help the Client work out an appropriate budget for the project.

5. Involvement: What is the Role of an Architect?

The key role of an Architect is the driver and supervisor of a building project. Before you agree to work with any Singapore Architect firm, check if they have the right experience for your type of job, and how they will be actively involved in the construction process. This includes not only design and submission to the relevant Authorities; it also involves project management during construction. Services will include organizing site and progress meetings, coordinating contractor and sub-consultants and issuance of relevant Certificates for progress and payment.
In all projects, architects are directly involved with the project from beginning to end. They constantly meet with clients, consultants and suppliers during the planning and design process. They will facilitate the tender selection process for the main contractor. Hence, it is clear that you want to engage an Architect that has a strong portfolio of experience and contacts in the industry.
Finally, experience of the architect and the level of involvement of the architect will have a considerable effect on the cost of the project. So, before signing any contract, make sure to discuss your involvement needs and your situation with your Singapore architect.


In a mature market, where architects ensure that owners are always satisfied, finding the right architect can be a difficult task. In such an environment, architects are competing with each other to try to impress the client with design, skills and competitive fees. Needless to say, it does not mean a smooth-talking designer with cheap fees has the relevant qualification to execute your building project, however minor or easy it may seem. As you may have observed in the earlier discussion, finding the right architect is as much about studying the architect as it is about studying the client.

If you are in the process of selecting a Singapore architect, you must consider searching the Board of Architects Singapore website to find out if your shortlisted Singapore Architect firm is competent and qualified. As a responsible customer, it’s your duty to find out if your Singapore architect meets the proper requirements and qualifications and have the relevant experience so that your building project will be completed to a level that will bring you satisfaction, delight and enjoyment.

A layman’s perspective: What are some differences between a builder and an architect

The Singapore Architect and the Singapore Builder are both professionals with unique and specialized roles in the completion of construction projects and they often must approach their tasks strategically to reach a common goal. One typically cannot function well without the other. A symbiotic relationship exists. If executed well, an awesome end-product will result, every time.

Architects and builders often work closely together but the nature of what they do is fundamen­tally different. Architects specialize in the abstract, in conceiving suitable configurations, shapes, and spaces. Builders are concerned with the con­crete details of materials and fasteners and with the physical work of construction. The architect is a big-picture person, responsible for envisioning the whole. It is the builder’s and the other tradesmen’s jobs to be concerned with the individual parts.

Who is an architect?

An architect is the one who transplants visions and ideas into blueprints, visualizing a client’s dream and setting the stage for its achievement. An architect focuses on the aesthetics of the structural work, as well as concentrate on the look, feel and functionality. He/she plans everything from the floor layout to the conceptualizing of the façade of the house. Also, the architect must ensure that the blueprints or aesthetics are put as per the correct standards for enhanced safety during the construction of the house.

In short, the architect seeds ideas, germinates them and sees to their fruition. The role is primarily a design role which has to have both imaginative and pragmatic elements. Foresight is a prerequisite as well. Key responsibilities of an architect encompass the following:

Design and Planning

Working with someone to envision your project before construction begins is invaluable. With a well-conceived design determined ahead of time, you can build a more efficient and economical project. As ideas evolve during design, it is easier to incorporate changes (and are far less expensive) than during the construction phase. Laying out your spaces optimally based on your needs and wants is important. Make sure spaces are appropriately sized and that they complement your needs. An ability to create multi-functional spaces where different activities can be performed in the same area is increasingly important to suit the modern lifestyle.

Future Flexibility

Many people are interested in creating age-in-place spaces so that they can enjoy spaces now and as they age. An ability to plan for and account for the changing needs of the users (clearances, mounting heights, etc) is crucial.

Creativity + Problem-Solving

A building project is often a mammoth undertaking. A creative problem solver not only elevates your design from just passable to something really out of this world, he/she can anticipate potential obstacles or challenges the project might face, keeping things a step ahead of the curve.

Aesthetic Style + Character

The design aesthetics of a project is probably the most obvious area in which a project can be made unique and appealing to suit various tastes and preferences. Working with someone who can bring that to the forefront is invaluable.

Building + Construction Know How

Construction of a building is an undertaking that requires knowledge of working with the building, planning, zoning and other government officials. Regulations and standards are often complex documents and are difficult for those outside of the building industry to comprehend. Working with someone able to navigate the regulatory maze is needless to say, very important. This can speed up the approvals process by many months, saving time and money for all concerned.

Materials + Finishes Selection

Keeping abreast of the latest construction materials and technologies means being able to better recommend materials and systems that fit your budget, tastes, are durable and saves you from frequent maintenance and replacement costs. An ability to discern product quality and value is a valuable asset.

Latest Techniques + Building Assemblies

Continual advances in technology portend for new building techniques and systems coming online with increasing frequency and meeting ever greater demands of society today, such as energy-efficiency requirements. These new products and techniques are rendering many traditional building practices obsolete. Working with someone who can take advantage of the best practices and improved techniques of today’s time will be imperative for the 21st Century.

Site Selection + Building Location

An analysis of the site of a building project is important. Undertaking a review of site features, topography, utility access, vehicular access and views helps you find the most ideal location for your structure on the site. Maximizing energy efficiency based on building orientation can further blend a building into the surrounding landscape yet enabling it to stand out from the rest.

Energy Efficiency

An ability to reduce utility bills, especially for a large house, will pay dividends for years to come. Constructing a building that responds to the site using passive heating and cooling strategies is smart. Successfully harnessing nature’s (free) energy resources also allows you to reduce your carbon footprint. In addition, an architect can suggest ways of conserving energy, water, and other resources altogether.

In Singapore, practising architects need to secure a registration with the Board of Architects (BOA).

some differences between singapore builder and singapore architect-2

Who is a builder?

Most home builders are essentially general contractors specializing in construction. A builder is a professional who can execute home construction from scratch to finish, following the blueprints provided by the architect. A builder concentrates on making sure the structure will be safe and habitable. is able to endure everyday and extreme conditions. The builder will analyze and evaluate the blueprints of the design from the architect and find ways to build it in the most efficient and practical way. This often utilises other professional’s advice that includes the structural and mechanical and electrical engineer. They will look at methods and techniques to turn the architect’s vision into reality.

The general responsibilities of a builder entail the planning and execution of all pertinent activities relating to the construction of a dwelling or building. The builder carries out his/her duties by supervising employees, planning how the project will be carried out and completing the project in a manner which abides by all laws, rules and regulations.

The builder would thus be responsible for providing all the material, labour, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools), services and obtaining the licences and permits necessary for the construction of the project. They would also often hire specialized subcontractors to perform all or portions of the construction work. When using subcontractors, the main contractor is responsible for the quality of all work performed by any and all of the hires.

Budget issues are another item which relate to responsibilities of a builder. The builder must establish a budget for the construction project and adhere to that budget as closely as possible. This will allow the builder to obtain supplies, hire workers and finish the construction in a cost-efficient manner. Instituting and following budgets is paramount which builders should be concerned with as they help ensure that the project does not incur cost overruns.

Throughout the construction process, the builder is also responsible for reviewing the progress and implementing any changes along the way. The builder needs to ensure that the building’s construction is going in accordance to plan. If need be, timely changes need to be made.

Last but not least, ensuring safety on the job site at all times is paramount.

In Singapore, licensed builders have to be registered with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

In conclusion, the architect and the builder play very distinct roles in a building project. It is crucial to engage both the right architect and builder for the project. It is helpful to note that the Singapore Architect will be able to recommend the appropriate builder for the respective building project-based on its design, typology and context.

5 Situations that make hiring a Singapore Architect the right thing to do

Look around you and it will be obvious that our built environment is all around us. The places where we work – our office and commercial buildings, live – our houses and apartments, and play– our entertainment and retail venues are the products brought to live by Architects.

So, what kind of situations make hiring a Singapore Architect the right thing to do? Here are 5 such situations seen from a local context in Singapore.

1. Change in Floor Area

This is an extremely common situation that involves any property owner – to maximise floor area. This is especially so in land-scarce in Singapore. Increasing floor area is often desirable because there is a direct correlation between a property’s floor area and value. The higher the area, the greater the value of the property. Typically, this is calculated on a per square meter (or per square foot) basis.

Do you wish to maximise the floor area of your property? A qualified Singapore Architect will be able to help you with this. They are able to check the relevant URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority) Masterplan parameters, perform relevant calculations and compute the optimum Gross Floor Area possible for your property.

2. Change in Building Configuration

A variation in area may lead to a change in the building configuration. These variations are often called ‘Additions and Alterations’. Whether you wish to vary the façade, add a lift or staircase or change the number of levels in your property (to maximise the area allowable), these will constitute ‘Addition and Alteration@ works.

In Singapore, there are regulations by various Authorities that govern how you can change the configuration or planning of a building. As a property owner who wishes to carry our such changes, it is essential to engage an Architect to advise them on how they can go about these changes.

For example, to carry our ‘Additions and Alterations’ to your house, you will need an Architect to submit these changes to URA. You can get an idea of these URA regulations here.

In certain cases – for example if you own a conservation shophouse – even minor changes will require a nod by the authorities. In fact, even changing the paint colour of the façade of the roof tiles will require the owner to comply to URA’s rules and regulations.
You can read more about URA’s guidelines on conservation buildings here.

Singapore Architect - Change in Building Design or Façade

3. Change in Building Design or Façade

Older buildings in Singapore tend to look aged over time, especially in the hot and tropical weather of Singapore. When there is a change of ownership, usually as a new owner you would like to change the façade design. This may mean larger windows, addition of balcony or simply change of wall paint of cladding materials. This is best done with the guidance of an Architect. While the change may seem easy and minor, an Architect will be able to give you the best advice. This relates to both design, material selection and Authority regulations.

Sometimes, owners may think it better to consult a builder. This is because a builder may be willing to give a price for the works. However, the price may not be accurate. The simple fact is that because there are no drawings for them to calculate the costs; hence there is no basis for their price. At best, this would be just an estimate.

4. Change of Building use

There are instances when a property owner wishes to change the usage of their property. If you would like to utilise your property, asset or land in a different way, you would have to submit a proposal to the authorities for a change of use.

For example, an owner of a commercial property may wish to change its 1st level to a F&B outlet. This will require a change of use. In addition, there may be other parameters that will affect this change. An Architect will be able to advise on whether the property can indeed be permissible to vary its 1st level usage, and the compliances that are required by other relevant Authorities.

The URA provides guidelines for the application for change of use here.

5. Development of land

If you own a plot of land and you are asking what you should do with it – a feasibility study can be done. This will study the pros and cons of each idea/concept. Will you do something typical of the neighbourhood or try something unique?

There are various factors to consider: building typology, authority regulations, area distribution and design expression. Within the Singapore context, you will need to calculate the areas and usage within URA’s guidelines.

A feasibility study can be undertaken by an Architect to help you make your decisions. He or she will be certainly be able to propose creative solutions, whilst still maximising the potential for your plot of land.

Therefore, it is clear from the above that hiring a Singaporean Architect will be the wise choice when it comes to your property in Singapore.

How architectural design elements can improve the quality of life in your Singapore house

Our Senses

Stepping into a house invigorates our senses instantly.
The sights, sounds and smells greet us openly. Our thoughts start to form. Our comfort levels and mood may oscillate between good and bad. Having an overall pleasant experience is paramount as not only is the home a place we spend many hours in, but it is also the place that is filled with intimate moments with family, the place for peaceful rest, rejuvenation and inspiration even. Architects strive to design homes that are not only functional but more importantly, serve as comfortable abodes for people to live happy, healthy and comfortable lives.

Studies have shown that people react negatively to simple, dull home designs. Even if functional at most levels, they do not provide that comfort and warmth expected of a cosy abode.
Instead, exciting and unique designs often elicit positive responses, resulting in overall positive well-being.


Colour is an important cog in the wheel of design. Visual stimuli contextualized by colours have an extraordinary ability to affect moods and behaviours. The impression of a colour and the message it conveys is of utmost importance in creating the psychological mood or ambience that complements the function of a space.  For example, it is well-known that blue has a calming effect, yellow is associated with cheerfulness, orange and red are striking while green is perceived as more relaxing and tranquil. Using different shades of colour add a further layer of dexterity in using the colour palette. Pastel shades exude nuanced undertones while solid colours portray strength and clarity.


Daylighting is another important factor in house design. Through intelligent positioning of windows, subtle openings, air wells and other reflective surfaces, sunlight (direct or indirect) can be captured to provide effective illumination. Done right, lighting has the effect of visually enhancing any given space or surface, bathing the house in a warm glow. Ample use of natural lighting also furthers the energy efficient cause. Researchers have found that a well daylighted space can also have a positive physiological impact on a person’s circadian rhythm.  Otherwise known as the “body clock,” the circadian rhythm is an internal cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep, wake up and eat and is primarily triggered by the body’s response to light and darkness. As demonstrated by filmmaker Bong Joon-ho in the Oscar winning movie, “Parasite”, light is an important element that is often perceived as instrumental to a better quality of life.


Another element that impacts our mood, behaviour and health is having access to greenery. Within the confines of a home setup, gardens, outdoor play areas or simply some potted plants can serve this purpose. Besides being aesthetically appealing, having greenery around the house compound helps bring the outdoors in, “softens” the glass, steel and cement environment commonly seen in most houses and can be helpful in lowering depression and anxiety levels leading to improved overall health.

Ergonomic considerations enable designers to design surroundings to be better suited to the human form as well as take into account the specific needs of the home occupants. For example, occupants on mobility-assisted devices such as wheelchairs, appreciate wider doorways and lowered kitchen countertops. In these instances, good design transcends ergonomics, to imbue safety consideration. Mobility, independence, safety are seamlessly married through good design.


Sustainability – mantra of the modern-day lexicon, is a key offshoot of good design. Incorporating sustainable design elements in a home not only aids the conservation cause through smarter usage of Earth’s precious resources but increases the health and comfort of the occupants, enhancing mental and physical wellbeing and optimising user experience in built environments.

Clearly, well-designed residential layouts provide flexibility and integrates the needs of its occupants to create well-functioning and responsive space solutions that enhance the quality of life of its dwellers, making for an overall better living experience. A thoughtful kitchen layout enables a good flow for daily chores. Completion of daily chores will be much easier and more efficient. Instead of for single-purpose use only, space can be intelligently designed for multiple uses, particularly so in the pandemic age where many have found the need to harmonise a newfound need for a work space within the home. Space designed for multi-function uses allows for flexibility and ease of transition as users’ expectations and demands change and evolve. Not only is efficiency of space maximized, it broadens appeal by catering to multiple users who may have differing needs at different times. This prolongs the usable lifespan of a dwelling and ensures its reuse by future owners.

Design, at its core, is an artistic expression. Yet it is powerful enough that married with smart ideas, it ultimately transforms a house for staying into a home for living.
Talk to us today to see how great ideas can make a difference.