If you’re a homeowner and plan to renovate, chances are the work will be A&A, which stands for “additions and alterations”.
A works are classified by as minor renovation work. If you’re hacking a wall to combine two bedrooms and bringing in an interior designer to personalise your home, that’s simple A&A work as long as it does not affect the structure of the building or increase the floor area by 50 per cent.
Anything above 50 per ent is considered “substantial” by the HDB and URA and will be classified as “reconstruction” work.
Given the restrictions of apartments and HDB flats, reconstruction work is usually seen with landed property. Reconstruction work affects the structure of the building and results in an increase in floor area by more than 50 per cent.
The replacement or removal of external walls or structural elements such as columns and beams is also considered reconstruction if more than 50 per cent is affected.
Any increase to the storey height of a house or change in form – from a semi-detached house to a standalone bungalow, for example – is considered reconstruction work, whether or not the construction exceeds half of the existing building.
The distinction is crucial as the authorities – the URA regulates landed property – require more paperwork for reconstruction work.
Staying onside the URA if you own a house isn’t difficult, thanks to the URA itself.
The E-Advisor on their website is an interactive tool using two and three-dimensional drawings interlaced with explanations to help break-down exactly what how much work you can do and still have it classified as A&A work.
For instance, house owners with a flat roof can build a rooftop garden as long as it’s not covered. If there is an open trellis for shade, it cannot cover more than 50 per cent of the rooftop garden.
The E-Advisor also illustrates guidelines for bay windows, air-con ledges, planters, sun-shades, boundary walls, timber desks, pools and ponds.