Building and Renovating in Singapore
Information on the planning permission needed, the process involved and matters of responsibility when planning to alter or renovate property in Singapore...
The information given here concerns strata-titled property (apartments in buildings) as that is the most common type of property for a non-Singaporean to own. Non-Singaporeans have to apply specially to the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) to buy land-titled property, for which the rules are different.
The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) website has details of both.
Planning Permission for Renovations of Strata-titled Property
Generally, internal renovation works within a strata-titled unit do not require planning permission. See the URA website for details
However, renovation works which affect the external facade of the building or result in an increase in Gross Floor Area will require approval from the URA.
It is important to keep any approvals for renovations, as they will be needed if the property is sold.
Applications that require URA approval
The application can be made by the individual or by a qualified professional on behalf of the individual. If renovation works requires approval by the Building & Construction Authority (BCA), it is advisable to engage a qualified professional (registered architect or engineer) to submit the application. The BCA's approval is required on matters concerning structural integrity, lighting and ventilation.
Applications that result in an increase in Gross Floor Area must be accompanied by a letter of authorisation from the Management Committee of the building.
The application can be submitted electronically through the internet using the Electronic Development Application.
There is an application fee for additions and alterations to strata-titled residential property, and this is subject to Goods & Services Tax (GST), payable by cheque to "Urban Redevelopment Authority".
The URA will look at every application based on the prevailing development control guidelines for strata-titled residential developments. A decision can be expected within four weeks from the date of the electronic submission.
- A Written Permission (WP) with a two-year validity period is issued if the application complies with all the parameters. Renovation works must be completed within the validity period, otherwise the WP must be renewed.
- A Provisional Permission (PP) with a six-month validity period is issued when there are certain conditions which must be met. A resubmission must be made within the six months to obtain a WP. Otherwise it will be necessary to apply to extend the PP.
Right of appeal
If the application is rejected a Refusal of Written Permission (RWP) giving the reasons for the refusal is issued.
The amount of development charge payable is determined by the additional gross floor area multiplied by the development charge rate (according to group sector type and sector development charge rates), as assessed by the URA.
Development charge rates are reviewed half-yearly, usually in March and September. The review is undertaken by the Ministry of National Development, in consultation with the Chief Valuer.
Goods and Services Tax (GST) is payable on all applications for alterations to strata-titled residential property, and on applications to extend the WP or PP.
- For information see the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) website
Besides obtaining approval from URA, it is advisable to find out more about the other regulations from these relevant agencies:
- BCA (Building and Construction Authority) on matters concerning structural integrity, lighting, ventilation
- LTA (Land Transport Authority) on matters concerning repositioning of access and widening of roads
- MEWR Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources Land Transport Authority on matters concerning sewerage and drainage
- National Parks Board on the felling of trees if the property is within the Tree Conservation Area
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