Are you looking for the best interior design company in Singapore? If yes, you have come to the right place. You might have heard of horror stories of home owners who got scammed by interior designers and you definitely want to avoid this.
One of the tell-tale sign is that the designer will give you a deep discount and but wanted you to make full payment before any work is done. This is a no-no and you should always opt for a progressive payment. Here is an interview of a homeowner who shared some tips to avoid being scammed by interior designers.
Hopefully, the above video has given you some ideas to avoid unethical designers that is lurking around the corner. Below are 5 factors you need to consider in order to choose the best interior design company to renovate your home.
1. HDB License
Renovating a HDB flat requires the interior design company to be registered with HDB. This means that the company has undergone training and understand the rules when renovating your home in order to protect the structure and integrity of the flat.
While renovating private properties does not require any HDB license, it always good to check whether the ID company has demerit points as this could mean they might have unsatisfactory work done.
You want to ensure that there is “Nil” accumulated demerit points and no infringement history in the past 24 months. Another thing to take note is that the interior design company name should match the company name as shown in the renovation contractor’s details.
There are some ID company who actually “borrow” the HDB license from other company and carry out your renovation work. You will be fined if you are caught by HDB, it’s your own responsibility to ensure that the ID you hired has the HDB license to renovate your HDB flat. You can click here to check if the company has a HDB license.
2. accredited by CaseTrust
I have received some enquiries by home owners who were involved in renovation dispute with their interior design company due to renovation defects and low quality workmanship. Unfortunately, there is not much legal recourse you can seek other than lodging a claim with the small claims tribunals for up to $20,000 if the renovation was done less than a year ago.
However, if the company has planned to cheat you in the first place, this small claims tribunals will not help at all. A better approach will be to choose interior design companies that has been accredited by CaseTrust. While there’s no guarantee that the renovation process will be 100% “problem free”, but CaseTrust accredited ID companies does allow for reasonable dispute resolution. There’s a standard contract agreement used by CaseTrust companies which clearly define the obligation of the interior design company.
You can click here for a list of CaseTrust accredited interior design companies.
3. CaseTrust-RCMA Joint Accreditation
This is similar to point 2, except that the ID companies jointly accredited by CaseTrust-RCMA protects the customer’s deposit should the company unexpectedly went bust and ended up in liquidation or winding up. Such companies will need to purchase a deposit performance bond to help safe guard the customer’s deposit.
4. Consultation process
Most interior design companies will offer free consultation where you can visit the showroom to browse through their collection of completed projects.
It’s also quite important to interact with your designer in order to find out if your personalities match, to a certain extent, because the renovation project would involve a lot of coordination, collaboration and working together.
Ask your (short-listed) designer a lot of questions. That’s an effective way to know more about them. You need to understand their professional ethics, their experience, their approach to your project, etc. Here are some basic useful questions you could ask:
- Could you show me some samples of projects similar to mine that you’ve worked on before? Was it in a similar budget range? Were there instances where the project exceeded the budget? How did you fix that?
- What are your billing policies? Do you charge by the hour or do you charge a package fee? Are your rates inclusive of everything? Would I be paying anything extra?
- What happens if I change my mind about the theme or colours in the process? How do you handle changes?
- Would all sub-contractors you hire for my project be qualified, licensed and professionally insured?
- Are there contractors that you work with often and would you bring them on board my project if need be? Could you provide some references that I can contact?
- Are you able to provide enough time towards my project at the moment? Are you working on any other major projects right now? This is quite important because if they’re involved in other big projects, their time towards yours may be compromised.
- How would you deal with disagreements that could arise in the process? What happens if I don’t like a particular piece of furniture or if I’m not happy with the quality of the sub-contractor’s work?
- How do I get to track the progress of my project and the work flow?
- How would you communicate your design elements and ideas to me? Would you show me drawings, floor plans, samples, etc so I can make my decision? These questions should help you gain plenty of relevant information that will help you decide and choose the best designer for your project. More importantly, asking these questions will give you valuable insight into their professional profile like qualification, licenses and other certifications.
5. How much does interior design cost in Singapore?
This is perhaps one of the most important question in your mind. Generally speaking, the renovation of a resale HDB flat will cost at least 20% to 30% more than a new HDB home, especially if there’s a lot of hacking to be done. On average, most home homeowners will shortlist 4-5 interior designers and have in-depth discussions before receiving their proposals and quotations.
While it’s tempting to make decision based on the cheapest quotes, look out for other soft skills like whether you are able to communicate with the interior designer who will be working with you for the next several months on your home renovation. If possible, visit and even talk to homeowners based on past projects done by the interior designer themselves.
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