How to Choose: ID / Contractor

Related Posts
1 How to Choose ID
2 Protect Yourself Against Unscrupulous Contractors
3 Engaging an ID
4 Our Renovation Cost & ID
5 ID Contact
6 ID Update
7 Renovation headaches
8 ID Topic Revisited

I benefited from the sharing of other forumers on in renovating their apartment, particularly their experience -- good and bad -- with their ID / contractor, and wish to pass on what I've learned and / or gained from my own experience working with a specific design firm and the ID.

My primary motivation is to assist those seeking to renovate their beloved apartment for the first time, particularly as

several forumers have shared horror stories of their renovation work outcome. To them I can only empathize, and thanked them for their sharing because I too benefited from their (bad) experience.

So I will tell it all -- where praise is warranted I will say it like it is, but where problems were encountered, I will not spare criticism, because in any renovation work there will always be issues and problems. It is how the ID / owner resolved the issue / problem that will determine the renovation outcome.

I have informed the ID of my intentions, and has his permission to tell it all, warts and acclaim, if warranted. He was game enough to permit me carte-blanche.

My ID was [ edited out on 2nd thought to make this a general posting and not a recommendation of a specific ID or firm ]. Of the 5 contenders for my job, he was my last choice (excl.gif) and how I ended up with him is another story.

But to start off, I will jump right in, and share how I managed to save some money engaging an independent paint contractor instead of waiting for my ID to do the painting / plastering after LNY.

It was a gamble that paid off.


This post deals with the preliminaries / preparation and choosing an ID / Contractor to handle your renovation.

Read forum postings to get an overview
First, go through this forum to read through experiences shared by forumers with their ID / Contractor. Get a good sense of the problems faced by flat owners when dealing with their ID and the standard of workmanship available / expected from photos posted by forumers.

Be aware that some ID posed as owners to "entice" business from forumers seeking

IDs or contractors, giving generally unashamedly strong recommendation on this ID or that ID. When you read these postings you can generally guess whether the recommendation is genuine or not. Why? Well, no ID or contractor is ever as good as some forumers have made them out to be. Almost all renovation works will encounter mistakes or the owner generally will have some unhappiness with the ID, hence any posting that praises an ID to the skies is generally suspect, in my books.

In my case, I decided to get a quote from an ID from this forum last Nov / Dec (you can search for that post), although I had felt the post could possibly be a self-promotion attempt, either by the ID himself or by his friend / colleague posing as an ex-client. So why did I still decide to get a quote from him?

Well, simply because the popular IDs recommended in the forum were being "chased" by almost everyone else and it took too long for me to get a timely response to my request for quotations &/or discussions from these IDs.

So I gave the newbie ID a try. After all, every ID needs a start on this forum, and I could give him a chance as I had some prior experience dealing with contractors and IDs in my work.

Next, prepare checklist and questions you may have
You should also prepare a list of questions you may have that you want to ask the ID. Further, you should have an idea of what you want for your renovation. Could be as simple as "I want a total makeover" or "I want to hack this wall to enlarge the living space", etc. Have some preliminary idea of what you want done before you contact the ID for quotations.

When I ask for a quotation, my prepared checklist of work I want done follows the same format (as amended to suit my own needs) given by most contractors/IDs when they submit their quotes. This way it is easy to make comparisons as how much each ID quote for e.g. "hacking the wall" or "Supply & lay homogeneous tiles to Living Room", etc.

Third, shortlist 4-5 IDs to obtain quotes
Once you have a shortlist of 4-5, contact them for their quotation, either by email

or in person. I drop those IDs who don't respond within a week, depending on how much I want him to handle my job e.g. give longer time for one who was genuinely recommended by people you know. I also drop those IDs who don't seem to be "hungry" for my job. Or who came across as "busy", "loftiness" or "exclusivity", because the truly good IDs -- in my experience -- are usually humble and down-to-earth.

Depending on the rapport you establish with the IDs, you may also ask to take a look at his actual work done for other clients, whether on-going or completed. That would give me an idea of his competence. [Note: This step should never be left out once the ID has given you his quotation.]

Some IDs only give you a show-around of his projects after you have accepted his quote, although some (the more confident Ids) may be willing to do that before you sign on the dotted line.

Bottom-line: Always ask to see an ID's work, whether he has been highly recommended or not. See for yourself the standard of workmanship done. Ask to see not only one job site but a few, to guard against "passing-off".

Generally if the owner of the flat is around when you see the project, you could ask the owner for his/her opinion of the ID too.

Next post: How do you protect yourself against unscrupulous ID/Contractor?

Q&A from forum (my id is Bluefly on Renotalk)

post Feb 29 2008, 12:00 AM
Post #3

Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 22-February 08
Member No.: 8829

Hi Bluefly

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm also looking forward to renovating my new premium 4rm flat (just got keys last Dec).

This forum is a great resource and I'm still learning. So far I have approached 1 contractor and 4 IDs. Still waiting for quotes and also looking ard. I can only pray that my reno experience will work out well and not turn into nightmares that I have read so much here.

Hence the safer route I think is to go for those "tried and tested" ones. I would agree to drop if the ID is not hungry for my business or is not responsive. If now already bo chap me , I wonder how it will be like if I engaged their services. Maybe my 20k budget is really too small fry?!. Hmm.....

Please share with me your "checklist and format" for quotes that you have so that I can try to speak their language and the sort of questions I should be asking them.

If possible, can PM me your current ID too pls? All help is welcomed!

Great tips. I will look forward to your next post. Thanks!


Aiyo, Skyrren, I just saw yr post today 16-Mar-08 -- alamak excl.gif -- because I didn't check back on the thread. A thousand apologies excl.gif

PM sent on ID's contact.

Give me some time to share more thoughts / impressions on my renovation as I ran into problems recently,

- with the movers (had to use 3 different movers),

- was locked in for 6 hrs in my MBR and had to call police / civil defence for help (not a fault of the contractor but the lockset, more on that story later),

- waited for several weeks for the windows contractor to change the old iron windows in my toilet & bathroom, without which tilers and plumber could not complete their works.

I will put up my format, checklist, etc (and maybe this post) on my blog later, and to ensure I don't lose track of it!

Let me know if you need other assistance. yamseng.gif

Related Posts
1 How to Choose ID
2 Protect Yourself Against Unscrupulous Contractors
3 Engaging an ID
4 Our Renovation Cost & ID
5 ID Contact
6 ID Update
7 Renovation headaches
8 ID Topic Revisited


Post a Comment

Hi, thanks for your comments. While I will strive to answer all your queries please be patient as I am overwhelmed at work.

Thanks for your understanding,



Copyright © 2008-2011 bfcAsia - All photos and contents are copyrighted material of • All Rights Reserved