Renovation & Remodelling 101: Obtaining Permits, Avoiding Fines & Other Helpful Tips for Homeowners

By: Agnetha Foong
7th Nov 2023
Home Improvement

Hey there, home renovators and remodellers! Ready to transform your crib into your dream pad without getting into any trouble? Well, buckle up, because we’ve got the lowdown on how to get your renovation groove on!

Step 1: Dream Big & Plan It Out

First things first, let those creative juices flowing! Dream big, imagine your ideal home, and jot down all the cool changes you want. Once you’ve got your wish list, it’s time to put on your planning hat. Sketch out your ideas, gather inspiration from Pinterest, and get your vision on paper.

Step 2: Check ‘Em Rules and Permits

Now, before you jump in with both feet, you’ve got to get the official stuff sorted. Building regulations and permits are administered by the local authorities in Malaysia. Each state and local council (Majlis Perbandaran) may have its own set of rules and procedures. Therefore, it’s important to check with your local authorities about the rules and permits you’ll need for your project.

Depending on the extent of the intended renovation work, some authorities may require a professional to draw up plans and make submissions, while simpler projects like kitchen extensions may only entail submission of a standard form or pre-approved plans.

Living in a strata property? You’ll need to check with your management corporation regarding the dos and don’ts of renovating your home.

Either way, it’s best to clarify and obtain written confirmation from the local authority or your management corporation for record purposes. After all – nobody wants a fine, right? Whether it’s building plans or earthworks, make sure you’re good to go.

Step 3: Get the Pros on Board

Sure, you might be a DIY whiz, but some things are best left to the experts. It’s highly advisable to bring in the pros like architects, engineers, and quantity surveyors for more complex, extensive projects. They’ll make sure your dream designs meet all safety and code standards and help prepare the detailed plans and documentation required for the building plan approval process.

Step 4: Get Your Paperwork Done

To apply for building plan approval, you’ll need to submit detailed architectural drawings, structural plans, and other necessary documents as required by the local authority. The submitted plans will be reviewed to ensure they meet safety standards and comply with local regulations.

The approval process can take some time, varying depending on the complexity of the project and the efficiency of the local authority. It’s essential to start the application process well in advance to avoid delays in your renovation schedule.

If you’re part of a strata community, you’ll instead need to get approval from your property management corporation. The management corporation may have some things to say about your crib makeover including how it looks, the extent of renovation works, and how it will affect the overall aesthetic of the building and its surrounding environment. There are usually limitations on things like constructing additional floors (split levels), relocating external doors or windows, shifting any plumbing and sewerage system, and more – so if you’re not sure about something, just check with them!

But what happens if you don’t apply for and obtain your permit? Well, you risk having your renovation removed or destroyed by the local authority – and they’ll even charge you for doing it! And if you live in a strata property, your management corporation can stick you with a hefty fine.

Step 5: Comply or Suffer the Consequences

Before you can move into your newly renovated home, you must obtain a Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC), which is basically proof that your renovations have been carried out according to the approved plans and regulations and is safe for habitation. An industry professional – known as the Principal Submitting Person (PSP) – will oversee this. The PSP must be a registered engineer, architect or building draughtsman.

Straying from the approved building plans will result in you failing to obtain the CCC and will also give you a headache when it comes time for you to sell as it is illegal to sell a property with unapproved renovations.

Step 6: Home Sweet Home

With a little research, patience, and help, you’ll find that renovating your home doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. Now all that’s left to do is enjoy your newly revamped crib!

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