Good interior design and renovation need not be expensive

Hack Them!

Don’t believe in any interior designers BS you – filing ‘paperwork approvals’ for hacking away walls ain’t no rocket science. The sticker shock, if you go through an ID, is $1000 at least. If you’re on tight budget like we are, it’s best to DIY. So here’s how you can do it with $449 or less.

Step 1: Get your floor plan
Cost: $49

If you live in a new HDB unit, you should be getting a pretty accurate floor plan from HDB. If it’s a resale or an old condo unit and you can’t get a floor plan from either your management or town council, then you should head to Building and Construction Authorities. Online application cost $20, payable by credit card. Note – their site only works on IE, not Safari or Chrome. If you are already the owner of your new apartment, you can provide a copy of your current property tax statement. If you just bought it and legal work is not fully completed, you can provide a copy of stamp duty cert as proof of ownership. Online application should be approved within two days or so (although they say it takes up to a week on their website). With that approval email, head down to BCA office at 5 Maxwell Road. Get there early (not any later than 10 am) on a weekday and you’ll see less queue. Show your approval email to the staff and they will bring out all your files – whether microfilms or digital records. Select the drawing you want to print and pay $25. Then walk to the printing room two steps away and wait for them to print them out. Each print cost $4. And voila – in less than 30 mins, you’ll have your floor plan!


Step 2: Mark out the walls you want to hack on your floor plan
Cost: $0

I did my markings in the most primitive way – using my toddler’s magic ink pens, I put a circle around the walls I want to hack.

Step 3: Find a PE to endorse your new floor plan
Cost: $400

It took me a while to find a professional engineer (PE). I tried the Professional Engineer Board website which listed all the certified PE in Singapore, made a few cold calls and most tell me that they don’t take on cheap work like what am asking for. In desperation, I Googled, and found a contact.

BR Case Consultants (ask for Vincent)
Tel: 67421822


Charges should range from $350 – $450. Victor charged me $400 and turned around in less than two days. They will ask you to email them a scan of your floor plan with the walls you want to hack clearly marked out. If they deem it safe, you will find a rubber stamp with a signature on your hardcopy floor plan, and you’re ready to collect it at their Sin Ming Lane office. Rule of thumb is, if it’s a thick black line on your drawing – you can’t hack it.

Step 4: Submit your endorsed floor plan to MCST
Cost: $0

With that rubber-stamped piece of new floor plan, bring it to your Management office and you’re ready to go hack ’em down!

Step 5: Contact your hackers and brief them
Cost: Depends on how many walls you want to hack

This part is not included in the paperwork cost as it’s dependent on how many and which wall you want to hack. My main contractor helped me get these guys and they’ve done a good and fast job, so I thought I’d recommend them to you as well:

Ministry of Hackers and Demolition and Removers (no website)
Mobile: 9336 8148

And that’s it!! Doing this yourself will save you a few hundreds of dollars which in turn can go into the reno fund – or you can buy me coffee if we meet on the streets!

6 comments on “Hack Them!

  1. Pingback: Bathroom Transformation | budgetreno

  2. tt
    August 6, 2014

    THANK YOU SO MUCH. I’ve been searching high and low on how to not get ripped for wall hackings! May god bless you!!!


    • budgetreno
      August 6, 2014

      Hi TT, all the best for your reno. It’s a wonderful journey to see an uncompleted or old apartment come to live. Let us know how your reno go – it’ll be great to share experience and exchange tips.


  3. carouselaffair
    October 31, 2015

    Hello !!! I am so glad to have found your website! Having such a big headache… could you share your main contractor contact??


    • budgetreno
      November 1, 2015

      Hi! My main contractor retired recently due to ill health. He said he is not taking up new projects anymore but only small repair works from his old customers. I have other contacts for electrical work, hacking, PE, etc if you need.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kase
        April 11, 2016

        Hi TT, if possible, may I have your contact for electrical, hacking, PE etc please. My unit would be TOP in May 2016. Thanks much. Kase


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This entry was posted on March 29, 2014 by in Budgets, Value for money and tagged , , , , .
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