• Published Date: 15 Jul 2019

    Joint-Reply by BCA & HDB

     

    Check windows regularly to prevent them falling
    Date: 9 Jan 2019

     

    We refer to the letter, (Onus on HDB to resolve issue of fallen windows; Dec 22, 2018). 

    All windows have to be designed and installed according to specified standards and meet performance requirements under the Building Control Regulations. 

    HDB designs and installs windows according to prevailing industry standards. From 1987 to 1998, aluminium rivets were used for casement windows in HDB flats, as this was the accepted industry standard internationally. 

    As standards improved, HDB switched to stainless steel rivets for casement windows in 1998, ahead of the revised industry standards that were adopted in 2000. 

    To assist flat owners, HDB offered a one-off goodwill rivet replacement programme in 2004, for flats which had aluminium rivets for casement windows installed by HDB. 

    Under this programme, HDB co-paid 50 per cent of the cost of replacing the aluminium rivets with stainless steel rivets. 

    The number of falling window incidents across private and public housing has dropped from a peak of 125 in 2005 to an average of about 45 cases yearly in the last five years. 

    The majority of those that occurred in HDB flats involved windows that were installed by home owners during renovation. 

    As windows are subject to wear and tear, it is important that home owners check their windows regularly, and engage BCA-approved window contractors to repair or replace them if necessary. 

    For casement windows, home owners should check that the fasteners are not rusty or loose, and regularly clean and lubricate joints or movable parts. 

    For sliding windows, check that the safety stoppers and/or angle strips are in place and not damaged, and change any worn-out safety stoppers and angle strips. 

    They should also clean the tracks regularly and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly. For more window maintenance tips, visit: www.bca.gov.sg/window_safety or www.hdb.gov.sg/window_safety. 

    To raise awareness on the importance of such checks, we have designated June 6 (6/6) and Dec 12 (12/12) as Window Safety Days. We also organise exhibitions and heartland talks for home owners. 

    Michelle Ng (Ms) 
    Director (Housing Maintenance)
    Housing & Development Board 

    Lim Beng Kwee 
    Director (Enforcement and Structural Inspection)
    Building & Construction Authority

     

     

    Letter to The Straits Times

     

    Onus on HDB to resolve issue of fallen windows
    Date: 22 Dec 2018

    From: Paul Chan Poh Hoi 

      

    It is alarming that the number of fallen windows from HDB flats since 2005 to November this year has climbed to 753 cases (46 cases of fallen windows from Jan to Nov; Dec 13). 

    There were no casualties from the cases this year. However, we should not bet on luck because a casement window falling from a high floor is potentially a killing missile. The problems must be fixed before an accident happens. 

    Windows are integral parts of HDB flats. They are expected to last as long as the building. 

    I don't see why owners should be penalised for lack of maintenance of windows because they did not choose those "inferior" windows. 

    When stainless steel rivets became mandatory in 2004, it was obvious that the window installations failed to meet performance and safety standards in our humid climate. Hence innocent owners should not be blamed for corroded aluminium rivets in windows. 

    The Housing Board should act fast to resolve the fallen window problem with window makers to rectify any product defects. 

    There is no reason to get owners to engage professionals to add safety stoppers and angle strips on window tracks, which should be provided by window makers before installation. 

    By right, window manufacturers should guarantee that their products comply with international standards to meet quality, performance, safety and endurance tests under any climatic conditions. 

    Since HDB supplied the windows that were problematic, the onus is on it to resolve the issues with the manufacturers.