Unearthing Lesser-Known House Construction Costs In Singapore

Unearthing Lesser-Known House Construction Costs In Singapore

Building a house in Singapore can be an exciting endeavour, but it’s crucial to be well-informed about the costs involved. While most people are aware of the major expenses, such as land acquisition, labour, and materials, there are several lesser-known construction costs that can catch homeowners by surprise. In this article, we’ll delve into these often-overlooked expenses to give you a comprehensive understanding of what to expect when building a house from scratch in the Lion City.


1. Preliminary costs

Before the actual construction begins, there are preliminary costs that can add up. These include:

  • – Soil investigation and Geotechnical surveys

Singapore’s diverse geology means that the foundation of your house needs to be carefully considered. Soil testing and geotechnical surveys are essential to ensure the stability and safety of your structure. These tests can cost several thousand dollars.

  • – Development application fees

You’ll need to submit development applications to the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and this comes with associated fees. The cost can vary depending on the complexity and total gross floor area of your project, but is an important initial expense.

  • – Site preparation

Clearing and preparing the site for construction can be more costly than expected, especially if existing house is found with asbestos or land has significant vegetation or other obstructions that need to be removed or relocated.


2. Utilities and Services Connection

Connecting your new house to essential utilities and services is often overlooked in the budgeting process.

  • – Water and electricity

You’ll need to factor in the cost of connecting your house to the municipal water and electricity supply. This includes trenching, wiring, and metre installations.

  • – Sewerage and gas

Similarly, if your house requires a connection to the sewage system or a gas supply, you’ll need to budget for these installations.  There are even more costly situations when diversions of sewer line is necessary due to the existing site constraints or compliance to the latest codes of practice.


3. Consultants’ fees

A team of consultants such as architect, structural engineer, mechanical & electrical engineer and a quantity surveyor play a pivotal role in the design and construction of your house, and their fees can be substantial. These fees are often a percentage of the overall project cost and can include concept design, detailed architectural drawings, structural engineering, and project management services.  It is essential to engage a good team of consultants to ensure your project is well managed and executed smoothly.


4. Permit and inspection costs

The process of obtaining permits and undergoing inspections is not just time-consuming but also costly.

  • – Building permit

You’ll need a building permit to start construction. The cost of this permit varies based on the size and scope of your project.

  • – Inspection fees

Under the Building Control Authority’s guidelines, regular inspections are required at various stages of construction to ensure compliance with building codes and regulations.  A Resident Technical Officer is required during the construction of structural works and their fees are usually charged monthly for the first 4 to 6 months until all the structural works are completed.

While it is optional to engage an inspector for architectural works, it is advisable to ensure all works on site are constructed in accordance to specifications and tested accordingly.  For fire safety works, a Registered Inspector is required before the works are deemed to be in order before application of Temporary Occupation Permit construction. Each of these inspections comes with a fee, and these costs can be substantial.


5. Contingency

Construction is a complicated process and very often there are unforeseen circumstances where additional costs are incurred due to site problems and compliance issues. It is wise to allow some contingency sum to overcome some of these surprises.



Building a house in Singapore is a significant financial commitment, and it’s essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the costs involved. While the major expenses like land acquisition, labour, and materials are well-known, it’s the lesser-known costs that can catch homeowners off guard. Aside from the above-mentioned factors, interior finishes, landscaping, and a contingency fund are all expenses that can add up during the construction process.

Being prepared and budgeting carefully for these often-overlooked costs will help ensure that your dream home is not only well-designed by your building developer but also financially sound. This is why engaging with an established architecture company in Singapore is necessary. Their years of experience can help you expect these hidden costs and navigate around them.