Joint Release by BCA-HDB: More cases of fallen windows this year
According to statistics by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Housing & Development Board (HDB), there were 41 cases of fallen windows in the first 11 months of this year compared to 30 cases in the same period last year. Most of these cases are casement windows which had dislodged and fallen due to corroded aluminium rivets.
Number of fallen windows
2 Since 2005, homeowners have been required to change the aluminium rivets of casement windows to stainless steel ones. This mandatory requirement applies to windows in all residential units, except those in landed properties and the ground floor of buildings. If homeowners fail to do so, they are committing an offence under the Building Control Act and can be fined up to S$5,000 and/or face a jail term of up to six months. In addition, if a window falls due to lack of maintenance, it is an offence under the Building Maintenance And Strata Management Act, and homeowners can face up to a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or jail term of up to one year.
3 To date, 78 people have been prosecuted and fined in Court for failing to retrofit casement windows with stainless steel rivets. 303 people have also had their offences compounded and have had to pay composition amounts for fallen windows.
4 For casement windows, homeowners must ensure that all rivets are made of stainless steel. They should also check that the fasteners are not rusty or loose, and regularly clean and lubricate joints or movable parts. “It is important to use a mirror to check the rivets on the underside and top of the window panel, to ensure they are not corroded or loosened,” said Er. Lim Beng Kwee, Director of BCA’s Special Functions Group.
5 For sliding windows, homeowners should check that the safety stoppers and/or angle strips are in place and are not damaged, and change any worn-out safety stoppers and angle strips. They should also clean the tracks and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly (refer to Annex A).
6 “Homeowners should not take window safety for granted. All windows are subject to wear and tear as residents open and close them every day and window parts can become loose or defective, causing them to detach and fall. Hence, it is important that homeowners check their windows at least once every six months, and engage an approved window contractor to repair them if necessary. By making a small effort to maintain our windows regularly, we can create a safer environment for all Singaporeans” said Er. Lim.
7 A list of BCA-approved window contractors and window maintenance tips can be found at http://www.bca.gov.sg/window_safety and http://www.hdb.gov.sg/window_safety.