Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Home Sweet Home: Final Part

About one and a half months ago, renovation started at my new home. I have blogged about the designing and planning stage which I also promised to tell the final story when the renovation is completed. This will include reviews of the designer firm which I have engaged and the workmanship.

When the renovation started, hacking was very quick which was completed in just 2 days. However when tiling works start, the nightmare began. It took forever to complete as only one guy was working. Sometimes, no work has been done for a week. The usual excuse given was wrong shipment of tiles and need to wait for a new shipment; where in fact on my few days of visit, the tiles were already delivered but left on the ground floor public area without anyone coming to collect and start work. It became very stressful as days passed on and seeing no progress at all. I have planned my leave, delivery and moving dates according to the given works schedule. But with delays, it will disrupt all my plans as I will waste my leave while having to move house when I need to work.

Coming to the middle point of works schedule, it has already been delayed for 2 weeks. At this point, I gave my ultimatum that no matter how is the progress, I will move in on the last day. That sent a sense of urgency to the designer to speed things up. At one point, there were more than 10 people working till late for few days to catch up on the schedule. However, on the date of my moving, they could not complete. It was so inconvenient to move things in when it's like a war zone inside, cramped and dusts everywhere. Eventually, we had to do all the cleaning by ourselves till late night. For the following week, the workers came back everyday to fix all the minor leftovers which was inconvenient for us to be at home at all times.

When the dusts settled 2 weeks after we moved in, we finally have some peace and enjoy the new home. We are happy that we designed and created the house to the exact of what we wanted. Like I said in the earlier post, I recommend that you go for a designer firm instead of contractor if you plan to renovate your first house. Our house came out almost identical to how we designed and drew it in the 3D drawings. Overall, the workmanship for the carpentry works is almost top notch. For tiling works, I'd give a thumbs down for the delays and also mediocre jobs on the workmanship. Some tile gaps were not filled up properly and the tiler threw all his cement waste into the drainage hole causing massive drainage blockage. Plumbing and electrical works are to standard as I was there most of the time to instruct the workers of my intended layout and locations. Finally the review on the designer firm: For the price of their quotation and the end result, I think it is very reasonably priced. After some initial first week problem of drainage blockages, we had been staying in a trouble free house so far. My friends were quite impressed with the design, layout and quality too. So I'd have to say workmanship is very good except for the tiling. The only area this designer firm could do better is time and people management. They wasted few weeks without anyone doing any work and on the last minute, they gathered so many people to work at the same time. If they spread out the work evenly and monitor their workers more closely, I'm sure it will be less stressful for both the house owners and also the workers.

There are some other useful information which I would like to share here after my experience with house renovation. I was very lucky that the nature of my job allows me a lot of free time. I would also recommend you to spare some time if possible during certain periods of important schedules so you can be there. During the whole renovation period, I was there almost daily to inspect on the progress. I picked up many hidden surprises which couldn't be possibly shown in the drawings. Things like drainage pipes, beam and column locations. Because of all these, I quickly made on-site changes to suit the conditions. If I wasn't there and the workers make according to drawing, it would turn out to be a disaster as some places would be totally out of place. I also picked up errors in the renovation works early so I highlighted and had them rectified early before too late. For important schedules like electrical and plumbing works, I think it is important for every house owners to be there. This is because you will decide where to place your electrical points and toiletry wares; how to run the wiring, and how many/which type of electrical points you want to place. With everything planned out, I'm staying in such a stress free home now because I have everything within reach wherever I am.

Furnishings can cost a bomb up to tens of thousands. Again I was very lucky as I got some of my furniture from expo at a cheaper price. Almost every month, there are electrical and home furnishing exhibitions held at the various expo centers in Singapore. Do check out all these expos so you can see more choices and buy cheaper instead of going to the shops. Certain mega stores like the Courts are also worth checking out because some items carry member promotional price. I got my mattress for $500 cheaper compared to retailers outside. For electrical like ceiling fans and aircons, it is worth checking the neighborhood shops in the HDB area. They normally carry these items cheaper.

That pretty much sums up my experience of house renovation. I hope my share of thoughts here can help you in your future dream house. And finally, I present to you some pictures of my humble home after the renovation.


Click on the image for picture gallery

Related link: Home Sweet Home: Part 1

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi your house looks so cool and impressed me a lot. I'm pretty much appreciate your house renovation journey coz I'm now looking for the ID for my new home ( resale 4 room) which will get key in December. And also, I'm interested in D Trenzo. Would u mind may I know the estimated cost for this id firm?
Thanks really.

Anonymous said...

My house went empty for 3 weeks while waiting for carpentry works & after install of carpentry works, it's like what you encounter a war zone! Guess its pretty common after I check with my friends whom renovate their house. But my whole Reno is close to 4 months for completion. How about yours?

hoongji said...

my reno duration was about 1.5 months

Anonymous said...

I understand most Reno takes up to 7 weeks. I think yours is quite reasonable. Usually cabinet etc takes time. Mine was 8yrs back, can share your ID name & contact? I've sold my house & collecting keys to my new place in late Dec. Hopefully I can get it done in 1.5mths so I can move in before CNY. How's the price like?

hoongji said...

the ID is D'Trenzo. the website is here: www.dtrenzo.com. for the price, it is the most reasonable among all the quotations that i have obtained.

Anonymous said...

I also engaged them too. The carpentry work is fine. But, the tiling workmanship is very bad. Tiles not level, inconsistent gaps, hollow tiles. Rectified 6 times yet still unsatisfactory.

Whole Reno. took 16 weeks to complete.

This is the first and last time engaging them.

hoongji said...

yea...i was not happy with their tiling works as well. as posted above, their workmanship was quite shoddy. they didn't bother to clean away the cement stains on the tiles leaving stains which are hard for me to remove few months later.

so others planning to engage them, just make sure you check on their tilings if you have the time during their work. or get rebates from your final quotation if you're not happy with the final work

Anonymous said...

Hi, Thanks for your info..
Would like to check with you,
What other ID's you had compared with this D Trenzo?
can post some more pictures of your house?

TIA

Gopal

Akula Home said...

Hi Hoongji,

Thank you for sharing. The information posted will definitely be helpful for people who are starting new their renovations.

I particularly liked your flooring in living area. Can you share with us what type o flooring is that?

TIA

AA

hoongji said...

it's marble flooring