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Is your BTO Optional Component Scheme really worth it?
February 22, 2017

If you are planning to purchase a Build-to-Order (BTO) flat under HDB, you’d probably have heard of the Optional Component Scheme (OCS). In short, it’s a scheme where HDB offers you basic home design installations, at an additional cost, for items like:

  • flooring,
  • internal doors and sanitary fittings and
  • kitchen partition wall.

But the question is, is OCS really worth getting?

To get a deeper understanding, let’s take a look at the OCS offered for Buangkok Woods, one of the new BTO projects introduced just last month. 

BTO, OCS, Optional Component Scheme, HDB, Nestr, Home Design, Interior Design, Polished Porcelain
Source: Housing Development Board

From the illustration above, you can see that it would cost you $5,120 to get polished porcelain tile flooring for the living, dining and three bedrooms of a 4-room flat.  But, is this a good or bad pricing?

OCS costs more than private renovation. Myth or fact?

You might have heard before that opting for OCS could cost you more than getting it done by a private renovator. Is this really true? Well, not entirely.

For instance, in the case above, polished porcelain tile flooring for a 4-room flat costs $5,120, if you buy it through OCS. Generally, in the market, such tiles cost between $2-$4 / sqft. Assuming the total area of the living, dining and bedrooms is 65 sqm (approximately 700 sqft), and you’re doing it with a private renovator charging labour at $3 / sqft, it could possibly cost you less than what you would have to pay through OCS:

  • OCS: $5,120
  • Private renovation: ($4 material cost/ sqft + $3 labour cost / sqft) * 700 sqft = $4,900.

Does this mean we should just opt for private renovation right away? Not so fast. There are more factors to consider!

Interior Designer: United Team Lifestyle

This cost saving is merely an estimation, based on a basic renovation. The pricing could vary depending on:

  • how good a “lobang” (deal) you get from your private contractor / interior designer,
  • the quality of the material and
  • when the actual renovation is scheduled for. With material prices constantly changing, inflation might already have offset your cost savings, by the time you do your renovation when your BTO is ready.

Given that materials offered under OCS are supposedly of stringent quality standards and payable through your CPF Funds, OCS might actually be a better deal (at least easier on your wallet, for now).

But, pricing aside, what else should you consider when deciding between OCS or private renovation?

Convenience vs Choice

Although OCS was introduced with the idea of letting homeowners “customise” what they want for their new home, there is a limit to how much variety HDB can offer to a mass market. That is why, most homeowners opting for OCS did it out of convenience. With more parts of the home completed, the less they would have to fuss over their subsequent renovation. And, of course, it helps that HDB offers a one-year Defects Liability Period to get your defective items rectified.

But if you’re looking for more choices, and you don’t mind spending a little more effort or cash to get what you really want, then private renovation would be a better deal for you.

BTO, OCS, Optional Component Scheme, HDB, Nestr, Home Design, Interior Design
Interior Designer: Voila Design

Alright, next comes the crux! Regardless of whether you have decided on OCS or not, the next point is probably the make or break factor. 

Getting the right fit

Every BTO has different quality and design offered for their respective OCS. If there’s one thing to worry about, it should be whether these components are going to fit into the overall design of your home. After all, you don’t want a $5,000 furnishing to destroy your $50,000 interior design, yea?

When considering the fit of a material, always think of:

  • aesthetic fit: e.g. basic sanitary fittings like basins and taps may not go well with a luxe home design right?
  • functional fit: e.g. polished porcelain tiles can get slippery when wet and may not be suitable for elderly in the house.

If you want to more ideas on how to blend OCS components into your beautiful new home, check out some of the designs in Nestr app!

BTO, OCS, Optional Component Scheme, HDB, Nestr, Home Design, Interior Design, Polished Porcelain
Interior Designer: Rezt & Relax

So, is OCS really worth it? The short answer is, yes.
If cashflow is important for you, go for OCS.
If all you want is a functional and neat looking set up, go for OCS.
Or, if you have a custom design where the OCS fittings can fit into nicely, go for OCS.
For all other cases, you know where to look for. *yes, Nestr app* 🙂

World class home designs at an affordable price. Sounds good?

You can have it, really soon.
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