The Ultimate Defects Checking Guide - All You Ever Need to Know About HDB/Condo Defect Checking!

The Ultimate Defects Checking Guide - All You Ever Need to Know About HDB/Condo Defect Checking!

I have actually written quite a few posts on this subject for years since it is pretty important.

 However, for the benefit of first-time home owners and mainly to accede to the requests for a comprehensive defect checking checklist from my friends and colleagues, I have decided to recompile and improve on what I have covered in my previous posts in one single post today!

To recap, here are some of the posts which I have published in the past:
HDB defects checklist
HDB defect checking tips
HDB Defect Checking Revisited 

In this post, I shall cover on WHAT tools you should bring, HOW you  should go around with the defects check and WHO you should follow up on your defects list. Nevertheless, before I start, lemme share with you there are mainly 3 ways that you could complete these defects checking exercise.

1st Method:
Outsource your defects checking exercise to Vendors

Quite a few ex-BCA staffs have ventured on their own to setup companies which specialise in defects checking for their clients. The fees are not cheap and the fees range from a few hundred bucks to over a thousand or more, depending on the scope of work and the size of your unit.

However, if you are hard pressed for time or you know that the time spent on performing the defect checks on your own (which can take up to two days) could be better used for earning much, much more money, you are better off engaging these vendors to perform the checks on your behalf.

Nevertheless, do note that outsourcing to these vendors might not guarantee that they will perform a better job. This is because unless you are a subject matter expert or have taken the time to research on this subject, you probably would not have realised that they might have done a sloppy job.

If you have decided to outsource; here are some of the vendors you can turn to. Please note that these are the names companies which I know and I have NEVER engaged their services before. So please use them at your own risk! 
Absolute Inspection
Defects Checks
Check Home Defects
Side Note: I noticed that the price has gone down considerably ever since the first company has ventured into this market. Perhaps this was due to the stiff competition or that most homeowners have decided to DIY instead.

2nd Method:
In-outsource your defects checking to friends or family members who are experienced

If you are hard pressed for time and you know that you have trusted friends or family members who have gone through the defect checking exercise before, you should consider seeking their help! you are better off engaging these vendors to perform the checks. For me, I have tons of fun checking out the new flats or condos whenever my friends or family jio me to inspect their units.

3rd Method:
Do It Yourself la!

If you have plenty of time to spare, or have no money, friend or family to fall back on, fret not! Read on since this post is meant for you! :)

WHAT Should You Bring for the Defects Checking Exercise?

The list of tools and things that you could bring can be quite long; in fact, what you bring actually depends on how kiasui you are. Nevertheless, I shall breakdown the list down into Essentials,  Optional items and further sub-categorise the list into their purpose. This way, you can better appreciate why they are important and make an informed decision on what to bring. In addition, I shall cover the list in a checklist format so that you can either load this page on your smart phone or print and bring this list along.

Essential Items to include in your Survival Kit

#1. Tools to facilitate the defects checking process

a. Screw in Bulb and Torchlight
Screw in bulb is necessary to ensure that you can carry out checking the defects even when it is already late into the evening or even into the night. A torchlight is great for dark nooks. 

b. Stool or Ladder

Stool or ladder is a must when you are inspecting those high out of reach places. 

c. Water Pails
You need water pails in order to carry out the water ponding test.
Simple Hack: If you find carrying pails a hassle, you can bring big empty mineral bottles, which can be discarded right after use.

d. Marbles or Coins

Marbles or coins are used to check for hollow tiles or timber strips. Marbles give off a unique, distinct hollow sound when knocked against hollow tiles or timber strips.
Simple Hack: If you do not have marbles, coins can also do the trick.

 e. Spirit Level 
A spirit level is needed to check if the walls, doors, windows are straight. If they are slated, you will need to find out if there are any structural deviations. The doors and windows should be properly aligned and upright.
Simple Hack: The longer ones are more accurate and easier to check for unevenness. 


f. Plastic Gloves
These come in extremely handy when you need to reach dirty places such as pipes to unclog them.

g. Cleaning solutions and Equipment
Some defects do not show up unless the area is clean. Therefore, please clean up the apartment before you start the defects checking! I remembered that the floor tile gout actually came off entirely after the floor is mopped! In addition, this step is necessary to ensure that you do not introduce more defects (such as scratches to the parquet and tiles) when you step on the loose stones or sand. Thus, the cleaning equipment should include a vacuum cleaner or broom, mop and rugs.

h. Colored toilet cleaners such as Clorox
Clorox is my choice of tool when it comes to check for toilet bowls leak since it is hard to detect such leaks with clear water. Blue water will form around the toilet bowls if there is any leak.

i. Electrical Test Pen
Electrical Test Pen is used for 
test for Electricity Supply.

Simple Hack: If you have the handphone charger with you, use it to check if it charges your handphone. You only need to bring along a socket adapter. 

j. Mirror

A mirror helps you to check hard very those to reach areas. You should bring a big one to check the false ceilings and cabinets (for condos) and a small one too when you need to check out the small nooks or reach into the pipes for clogs.

k. Screwdrivers

In case you need to unscrew the metal covers of the pipes in the kitchen and bathrooms.

#2. Tools to Mark and Identify the defects

a. Artist Masking or Art Tapes 
I prefer the light colored artist masking or art tapes which I use for my art projects since they easy to remove without damaging the surface or leaving sticky residue behind. The matt surface makes it easier to write on too. 
Simple Hack: You an also use these tapes to mark out where your carpentry is located...and write down the dimension on them too for ease of follow up with your ID or contractor.

b. Permanent Markers in Two Colors

Permanent markers are needed for you to number the defects and scribble notes on the artist masking or art tapes. Get them in at least 2 colors; dark red for major defects and black for the minor ones. This helps the person in charge of the defects rectification prioritize and focus on the major ones first.

#3. Tools for documentation of defects

a. Camera
Make sure that the smartphone you are using allows you to take a high resolution photo of the defect. If you are very kiasu, you can consider using DSLR or SLR to take extreme closeups of the defects. Nevertheless, photos are meant as a visual documentation so that you can assess whether the rectification works have been carried out. Most importantly, they provide excellent evidence during disputes.

b. A few Copies of the Mechanical & Electrical Drawings

Mechanical & Electrical drawings will show the layout and installation of the mechanical and electrical systems and components. These drawings will make it easier for you to seek out the mechanical and electrical systems and components and mark the areas which you have checked. Having a few copies will ensure that different people can carry out the defects checking concurrently.

c. Defect Checklist

 There are many checklists compiled by the various bloggers. Here are the two which you can consider using. Again, make multiple copies of the defect checklist so that different people can work on the checklist concurrently.
No frills but detailed defect checklist  from my older blog post - perfect for guys.
Very colorful and pretty defect checklist which bridetomum has personally compiled - perfect for gals. :)

Optional Items That You Can Leave Out

a. Plastic Bags
For you to collect the nasty garbage which you might have fished from your pipes.

b. Foldable Table and Chairs
If you have tons of barangs barangs, I would recommend compact foldable picnic table and chairs. They are easy to carry and having a proper table makes it easier to work too.

c. Food and drinks
A hungry man is an angry man. :)

d. Laptop or Digital Tablet
For documenting down onsite the defects found.

e. Handphone or Laptop/Digital Tablet Chargers
To ensure that your electronic devices are still charged at the end of the day.

HOW Should You Check for the Defects?

There are actually quite a few free resources available online to assist you. Nonetheless, you should refer the homeowner's guide for defect inspection (which is released by BCA) first before referencing others. 

What to Check?

The areas which you have to cover are roughly falls into 2 main categories:

#1, Architectural Works
which include Walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, carpentry works (for Condo units) 

#2. Mechanical & Electrical Works
which includes electrical, plumbing and sanitary, data lines, aircon and white goods (for Condos) etc.

Here are 2 simple infographics from RenoNation that you should refer to.

Sequence Matters!

Always start from the ceiling, walls followed by the floor (the same sequence which you should follow when you do your renovation). 

Case in point?
During a defect checking session at a condo, a portion of the false ceiling actually fell and damaged a small section of the floor. By keeping to this sequence, you probably need not recheck the flooring when such a scenario happens.

Extra Tips!

#1. Water, Electricity and Gas

Remember to active these services prior the start of your defect inspection exercise!

#2. Get the defects rectified before your renovation commences! The Defects Liability Period (DLP) warranty does not cover rectification items that surface during or after your renovation works. The same applies for Condo developments too.

#3. Learn to let go!
If you are hard pressed for time, you should focus on getting the major defects completed first. For the minor defects, some of the IDs or Contractors might be able to rectify them for free.

#4. Finalise the scope of your renovation as much as possible prior the defect checks
This is because if you intend to tear down a wall, hack away a wardrobe or replace the floor tiles during your renovation, you should  skip the checks for these areas.

#5. Conduct defect checks during rainy days!
You can only check for damp walls, compromised parquet floorings or leaking windows during rainy days.

#6. Grout matters!
Remember to run water across all all your tiled floors. This is essential to check that all the grout have been properly done and sealed. This is because a homeowner had to get an ID or Contractor to redo the grouting for a fee since the grouts are entirely gone after the floor was washed. Trust me; I was there when it happened.

#7. Parquet matters too!
Check each and every the parquet strip for hollowness and ensure that the edges are properly sealed up and there are no gaps between the strips. Remember, hollow strips are popular nesting grounds for insects like ants, spiders and so on. Furthermore, if you need to sand the parquet to remove scratches in the future, the hollow tiles will get even thinner will fracture more easily from knocks and break apart under heavy weight.
Also, do keep a watch out for the parquet too! The developer for City View and The Peak seemed to use inappropriate material for the parquet flooring and results in the parquet turning dark with "moisture-like" stains.

#8. Water Leakage
Toilet bowls might leak if they are not installed properly and it is hard to detect such leaks with clear water. What you can do is to use those colored toilet cleaners such as Clorox. If there is any leak, you can see blue water forming around the toilet bowls. You can pour color toilet cleaners in sinks too, and check for the pipes for any color stain.

#9. Don't forget the White Goods, Heater, Cabinets and Wardrobes
For the Condo homeowners, do remember to check that the Aircon, washing machine, dryer, oven and heater is functioning. For storage heaters, remember to open up the false ceiling and check for any leaking pipes. For Cabinets and Wardrobes, check for any hollow or improperly constructed bases;  I have come across contractors who actually stuff newspapers at the base to support the cabinet or wardrobes.

#10. Hollow Tiles and Faulty Ceiling
Hollow tiles have to be replaced before carpentry works such as built in cabinets and wardrobes are erected. Water seepage and spalling in ceiling (very common in toilets for old projects) before the false ceilings are installed.

#11. Jeans or shorts with proper shoes
Girls, no skirts or high heels please! This is a day that you need to bend down on your knees and hands, climb up and about.  If you have long hair, do tie them up too! :)

#12. Parents or Helpful Friends

Disclaimer: This blogger is the one who lifted the a few paragraphs word for word from my older blog post and I am not the one who copied her work hor!

WHO Should You Report to After You Have Completed The Defects Checks?

HDB owners
The HDB flats are covered by a warranty within the 1-year Defects Liability Period (DLP), which is effective from the date of key collection. Do report the items that require rectification to your Building Service Centre (BSC)  through the HDB Defect Feedback Form. "If the BSC has ceased its operations, you can submit a maintenance request online. After the 1-year DLP You can engage a repair contractor to rectify issues after the 1-year DLP. If you require further assistance, you can also approach your HDB Branch."

Condo owners
I have covered this on the following post Common Condo Defects and Rectification steps.



Ok, there you have it! The Ultimate Defects Checking Guide! :)

<Updated on 13th April 2017>
I would like to appeal to you to
credit this blog (through a link) if you are reusing materials from this post for your blog or Facebook posts

This morning, I was shocked to discover that a fellow blogger has plagiarised my work by lifting paragraphs from my earlier works without giving due credit; the paragraphs are highlighted in Red. 

My original work: HDB Defect Checking Revisited was posted back in Oct 2014.
Her entry was posted in Dec 2015. I did a screencap since she might have updated her entry after I posted my concerns in her blog.

I am very dismayed as she should have been more responsible for her actions, especially since she is very active in social media. After seeing the number of followers she has gained in her Facebook, it seems that she might be an influencer too. What if one of her followers wrongly accuses me of copying her work?

I am just an unknown blogger who blogs to share knowledge, not to gain fame. However, I greatly appreciate if people respect the work I do by sharing my knowledge, not plagiarising my hard work.

This might sound trivial to some of you, but I have spent hours to compile, review and refine each and every blog post during my spare time

Furthermore, it is extremely perturbing to find out that instead of reciprocating and acknowledging the effort I have spent in distilling my knowledge to help readers like her, she has chosen to rip off my hard work and pass it off as her own, word for word.

"Please la, it’s called originality ya know, ya should really try it sometime!"


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