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Guide to Rebuilding Your Landed Property in Singapore

PropertyGuru Editorial Team
Guide to Rebuilding Your Landed Property in Singapore
If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re planning to renovate or rebuild your landed property but aren’t too familiar with the official guidelines and permits.
Whether you’re tearing down your home to rebuild a new one, or just planning to make some minor renovations, this article will take a look at the type of planning permissions that are required.
But before we get into that, there are three types of developments you can make on your landed property: rebuilding, reconstruction and additions and alterations (A&A).

Additions and Alterations (A&A)

Additions and alterations (A&A) refer to minor renovations that do not alter the home’s existing structure. These include adding mezzanine floors, replacing the flooring material, hacking walls, replacing walls, painting works, adding a partition wall, adding an attic, as well as other maintenance works.
According to the URA’s guidelines, A&A works must not increase the gross floor area (GFA) by more than 50%. This includes external walls, as well as structural changes such as replacing or constructing new columns/beams.

Reconstruction

Meanwhile, if the proposed works exceed 50% of the GFA (which include adding and replacing external walls, construction of new beams, etc.) then it’s considered reconstruction.
The URA also considers proposals such as adding an additional storey, roof replacement, and changes to housing form (e.g. from semi-detached to detached) as reconstruction, regardless of whether they exceed 50% of the GFA.
However, note that the number of storeys you can build is subject to the zoning restrictions of your area based on the URA’s Landed Housing Area Plan. Simply turn on the ‘Landed Housing Area’ filter and type your address into the map. You should be able to see the maximum storey you’re allowed to build.
ura-landed-housing-plan

Rebuilding

As the name implies, rebuilding means you’re tearing down an existing home and rebuilding it. While it can be quite expensive to demolish a home and rebuild it, rebuilding a home may make sense if the house is too old or uninhabitable to live in. It could also be that the house doesn’t maximise the full potential of the land, or if you bought a house at a budget-friendly price and want to tear it down to rebuild it to your taste. Do note that if you plan to rebuild a house, you will need to consult an architect for the building plan.

What Do You Need to Consider Before You Start Renovating Your Landed House?

1. Get Approval From The Authorities

Before you start renovation work, you may need to get approval from the URA or BCA prior.
A Qualified Person (i.e. architect or engineer) must certify and inspect the building plans before submitting them to the BCA for approval before any building work can commence. However, some A&A works that do not impact the structure of your home are exempted.
Depending on the type of renovation works that you plan to do, you may or may not planning permission from URA:
Inside your house
Enlarging the rooms
Planning permission not required
Relocating the rooms
Planning permission not required if they don’t change the primary residential use
Balconies
Planning permission required to ‘open up balconies’, but permission is not required to close up balconies with windows or glass panels
Car porch roof
Planning permission is not required if it meets the car porch requirements
Doors and windows
No planning permission required if they don’t increase the GFA, not reduction in setback, and change the window’s position
Roof
No planning permission required if there’s no increase in the roof’s height
Outside your house
Boundary wall
Planning permission not required if the wall is not higher than 1.8m
Earthworks (excavation, formation of new slopes, etc.)
Planning permission required
Enclosures (gates, walls, fences)
Not required if below 1.8m
Meter compartment
Not required
Pavillion
Planning permission required
Swimming pool
Not required if it doesn’t change the size of the pool or change the existing setbacks
As mentioned, you should seek advice from your architect or building contractor for advice and requirements needed. You may read further on URA’s planning permission guidelines here.

2. Check The Envelope Control Plan

If you’re looking to reconstruct or rebuild your home, you need to adhere to URA’s Envelope Control Guidelines. Under the guidelines, the maximum allowable height of two-storey and three-storey zones is 12m and 15m respectively, while the maximum height allowed for the attic is 3.5m.
According to the URA, this is ‘to preserve control over the maximum height of the property, while safeguarding the low-rise character of landed housing estates’.
However, you have the freedom to make alterations to the interior and exterior of your home, such as having floors of varying heights or higher ceilings for mezzanine floors, as long as your home is within the ‘envelope’ shape. You may read more on the guidelines on URA’s site here.
Another thing to note is that there should also be a buffer or setback control between your home (including the basement) and the road outside your house. This is to ensure that your home doesn’t encroach into the space reserved for the Road Line Plan (RLP). The RLP is a document that details road reserves and potential road widening in the future and knowing this will help to understand whether your home will be part of potential road widening and boundaries. You can purchase the RLP on LTA here.

3. Know The Development Control Restrictions

Aside from the Envelope Control Plan mentioned above, there are development control restrictions that you must comply with for each type of landed housing, according to the URA:
Detached (bungalow)
400
10
No control
50%
Front: 7.5

Side: 2

Rear: 2
Front patio: 2.4

Car porch: 2.4

Side/rear: 1
Good class bungalow (GCB)
1,400
18.5
30
40%
Front: 7.5

Side: 3

Rear: 3
Front patio: 5.1

Car porch: 2.4

Side/rear: 1.6
Semi-detached and corner terrace 1
200
8
No control
No control
Front: 7.5

Side: 2

Rear: 2
Front patio: 2.4

Car porch: 2.4

Side/rear: 1
Terrace 1 intermediate
150
6
No control
No control
Front: 7.5

Rear: 2
Front patio: 2.4

Car porch: 2.4

Rear: 1
Terrace 2 intermediate
80
6
No control
No control
Front: 1 (fixed)

Rear: 2
Front: nil

Rear: 1
Corner terrace 2
80
8
No control
No control
Front: 1 (fixed)

Side: 2

Rear: 2
Front: nil

Side/rear: 1
However, note that to be classified as GCB, it needs to be located in the 39 gazetted areas, in addition to the requirements above.

4. Other Technical Requirements

Household Shelter

Household shelters are mandatory under the Civil Defense Shelter Act and your architect must include it in the plans and submit to BCA for approval before commencement of any renovations.

Sewerage Works

Under the Sewerage and Drainage Act, the QP must also submit the building plans and related sewerage, drainage, and water works to PUB for approval, and purchase the Sewerage Information Plan (SIP) to ensure that the property has proper sanitation and doesn’t affect the public sewer and drainage system during construction works.

Other FAQs On Landed Property

Can PRs Buy Landed?

Aside from Sentosa Cove landed properties, Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR) are only allowed to buy landed properties under two conditions, according to the SLA: you must be a SPR for at least five years and must have made an ‘exceptional economic contribution to Singapore’.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Landed Property in Singapore?

Due to land constraints, landed properties are highly exclusive and expensive in Singapore. Expect to pay from $2 million for a terrace home up till $231 million and above for a GCB.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Landed Property in Singapore?

The ballpark figure to build a landed property is $350 psf and should be multiplied by the built-up area. Aside from construction, material, and manpower costs, there are also other fees involved such as stamp duties and permit fees to the BCA and URA, among others. These can add up to $1m or more.
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