“Onsen Spa” Unit Entrance Spotted in HDB Corridor; Netizens Debate Legality

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There have been some pretty weird things in HDB corridors, from a makeshift kitchen to an endless stack of century egg boxes.

An onsen spa or sauna might just take the cake though.

Onsen Spa Likely Entrance to HDB Unit

The photo, shared on the r/singapore subreddit, showed the 12th floor of an unknown HDB block. Everything seemed fairly normal except for the wooden Japanese-styled sauna, sitting on a raised platform and complete with a small staircase leading to it.

Image: Reddit

Redditors were quick to point out that it was outside an actual unit. As such it was likely not a real onsen, but rather a particularly unique entrance design.

Points for creativity for sure, even leading some netizens to wonder how the interior looked.

Another asked what they were to do if they had to change their sofa or some other bulky object, given the rather narrow door on the sauna entrance.

The raised platform the sauna rests on probably can be moved to open access to the door, but I doubt it’s light!

Unfortunately, doubts also flew about the legality of the structure. One netizen claimed it wasn’t as it encroached into the public space that was the HDB corridor and wasn’t easily movable like shoe racks. Unless it’s made of foam.

Another alleged that they had seen the product before, calling it an infrared sauna meant to replace your shower cubicle.

“It’s a great option if you really want a sauna in your home. This is flat-out brazenly illegal though hahaha.”

Image: Reddit

Structure Likely Breaks HDB Renovation Guidelines

HDB lists in their renovation guidelines several banned forms of renovation.

Unfortunately for our creative exterior designer, one of these disallowed types are those which are “Creating public nuisance, posing fire hazard or encroachment to public area.”

While public nuisance is debatable, this sauna could be the poster boy for “encroachment to public area”.

I’m also not betting on the structure being fireproof.

HDB can be quite strict about this, removing a popular fish tank at the entrance of a Tampines HDB unit despite support from residents and even Tampines MP Baey Yam Keng.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) also requires at least 1.2 metres of clear access in the corridor plus a clear staircase landing.

However, it’s impossible to tell from the photo itself if the onsen and its surrounding decorations break these HDB rules.

Furthermore, the SCDF infographic also says the “Placement of items other than shoe rack or clothes rack” in the HDB corridor is not permitted, which doesn’t bode too well for the onsen’s owner.

Image: SCDF

The SCDF should also look into getting higher-quality images for their infographics.

OP Jokingly Blamed For Future Takedown of Onsen

Several netizens on Reddit joked that once news agencies picked up on the Reddit post, complaints would likely start flying into HDB or the Town Council, forcing them to remove the onsen sauna. Once that happened, Redditors would then complain about the government’s heavy-handedness.

Sorry, buddy, nothing personal.

“If this gets taken down by [Town Council], the owner will know who to blame.” A netizen told the OP.

One particular comment summed up my take on the situation pretty well.

Image: Reddit

“I appreciate the execution but unfortunately looks like this is the end of it for sure.”

Over in TikTok, there’s a drama involving property agents that’s caused by us. Here’s what happened:

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