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Windows

Windows in your flat are subject to constant rain and wind exposure. Hence, you would need to maintain them as they will deteriorate over time due to fair wear and tear. Regular maintenance of windows is essential for safety.

When to check your windows

As a flat owner or occupant, you are responsible for the upkeep of the windows in your flat. Otherwise, a window could fall and cause serious injury or worse to those below.

You should check your windows at least once every 6 months. Refer to our guide below on how to check your windows. Alternatively, you can watch our video.

Immediate action is crucial for window safety. The moment you find that your windows are in danger of falling, you should take precautionary measures to secure them. Subsequently, engage a Building and Construction Authority (BCA)-approved window contractor listed with HDB to replace/ repair the windows.

Types of windows

There are generally 3 types of windows:

  • Casement window: A window, or part of a window, that opens on hinges, pivots, or friction stays

casement window 1

casement window 2

 

  • Sliding window: A window that slides horizontally along the bottom member of a frame

sliding window 1

sliding window 2

 

  • Louvred window: A window with fixed or adjustable glass panes. Fixed louvred windows have the glass panes fixed onto the window frame at an angle. Adjustable louvred windows can be opened using a lever at the pivot joint

louvred window 1

louvred window 2

What to look out for when checking your windows

Aluminium casement windows

You may experience difficulty in closing your aluminium casement windows or find cracked glass panes, or loosened rubber gasket from the window. These could be due to wear and tear. or. Learn about what to look out for when you check your windows, as well as some maintenance tips to keep them in good condition..Note that all casement windows must be fitted with stainless steel rivets/ screws as fasteners.

Checking casement windows

Check casement windows to ensure that:

  • Rivets are not broken or corroded
  • Screws are not loose or rusty
  • Friction stays are not bent or loose

maintenance guide - windows - casement windows

Use a small mirror to check the stainless steel screws/ rivets on the top and underside of the window panel. There should be at least 3 such screws/ rivets.

Common problems

Difficulty in closing

casement window moving parts

  • Why this happens:
    • Friction stay may become stiff
    • Sliding track may be stuck due to dirt and other obstructions
  • Solutions:
    • Clean and remove dirt, debris and any obstruction from the hinge or friction stay (A), sliding shoe (C) and hinge track (B)
    • Lubricate or grease the sliding shoe (C), hinge track (B) and pivoting point (D)
    • Ensure friction stays are properly fixed to the aluminium parts
    • Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB if any of the fixtures are missing or become loose

Cracked glass

casement window cracked glass

Loose rubber gasket

casement window rubber gasket

  • Why this happens:
    • The rubber gasket was fixed tightly to the window frame. Over time, with exposure to weather and repeated opening and closing of the windows, the gasket may become weak and loose
  • Solutions:
    • Push the rubber gasket tightly into the groove
    • Replace any brittle/broken gasket with new strip. Ensure that the new strip is fixed tightly into the inner frame of the glass

Maintenance tips for casement windows

  • As often as necessary, use a cloth or brush to clean all dirt from moving parts such as the hinge/ friction stay, hinge tracks, sliding shoes, and pivot points

maintenance guide windows tips 1

  • Lubricate moving parts such as the hinge tracks, sliding shoe, pivot points, and screws at least once every 6 months 

maintenance guide windows tips 2

  • Check all your glass panes for cracks and ensure that they are not loose. Replace any cracked glass panes
  • Check the screws and rivets. Tighten any that are loose. If missing or corroded, the screw/ rivet should be replaced immediately. Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to replace the stainless steel screws/ rivets

maintenance guide windows tips 3

maintenance guide windows tips 4

friction stay sliding shoe screw for adjustment

Adjust the sliding shoe screw. This screw controls how easily the window opens and shuts. It should be tightened to prevent a window from suddenly slamming shut, which may cause breakage.

Check and replace any brittle/ broken gasket with a new strip. Ensure that the new strip is fixed tightly on to the inner frame so that there will not be any glass movement after installation. Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to carry out repair and replacement works.

Wooden casement windows

You may encounter sagged windows, decayed window parts, loose and/ or rusty butt hinges, or detached louvres. Learn how to solve these problems.

wooden casement window

  • Why these happen:
    • Over time, the window parts could decay when exposed to weather and repeated closing and opening of the windows
    • The butt hinges become rusty and loose over time due to repeated closing and opening of the windows
  • Maintenance tips for wooden windows:
    • Replace any part if it is decayed or detached
    • Check the screws of butt hinges and use a screwdriver to tighten any that are loose
    • Replace any rusty or missing screw(s)
    • Replace the butt hinge if it is detached
    • Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to replace the window.
    • Apply to us for approval to replace the wooden windows with aluminium ones if the decayed window parts cannot be repaired

Aluminium sliding windows

Take a look at some common problems that you may encounter with your sliding windows learn some maintenance tips.

Checking sliding windows

Check sliding windows to ensure that:

  • Safety stopper and/ or angle strip(s) is/ are in place
  • Window panel slides smoothly on the track

maintenance guide windows sliding windows

Common problems

Window panel runs out of track

sliding window - safety stopper

  • Why this happens:
    • Damaged/ dislodged roller because of wear and tear
    • Loosened or missing safety stopper at the upper frame​
  • Solutions:
    • Use a screwdriver to tighten any loose track screws
    • Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to carry out the following works:
      • Fix or replace roller if damaged
      • Replace rusty or missing screws with stainless steel screws
      • Replace corroded or loose rivets with stainless steel screws

Loosened rubber gasket

sliding window rubber gasket

  • Why this happens:
    • The rubber gasket was tightly fixed to the window frame. Over time, the gasket can become weak and loose when exposed to the weather and by repeated opening and closing of the windows
  • Solutions:
    • Push the rubber gasket tightly into the groove
    • Replace any brittle/ broken gasket. Ensure that the new strip is fixed tightly into the inner frame and there is no glass movement after installation
    • Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to carry out repair and replacement works

​​Cracked glass

sliding window cracked glass

Window panel cannot slide smoothly

sliding window - track

  • Why this happens:
    • Sliding track is stuck because of dirt or other obstructions
  • Solution:
    • Clean the track and remove dirt, debris, and other obstructions along the entire track with a piece of cloth

Maintenance tips for sliding windows

  • Use a piece of cloth to clean and remove dirt, debris, or other obstructions along the entire track
  • Fix or replace roller if it is damaged
  • Use a screwdriver to tighten any loose track screws
  • Replace rusty or missing screws with stainless steel ones
  • Replace corroded or loose rivets with stainless steel ones
  • Replace any brittle/ broken gasket with a new strip and ensure that the new strip is fixed tightly into the inner frame. There should not be any glass movement after installation
  • Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to carry out repair and replacement works

Adjustable louvred windows

They are commonly found in toilets or kitchen. Learn some of the common problem which you may encounter and maintenance tips.

Checking adjustable louvred windows

Check the windows to ensure that:

  • The lever lock works properly
  • Glass panes are secure and not cracked

maintenance guide windows adjustable aluminium louvred window

Common problems

Learn how to fix a lever lock that is too tight.

louvred windows

  • Why this happens:
    • The louvred window may have remained in the same position over a prolonged period, causing the pivot joint to become stiff
  • Solution:
    • Apply lubricant to the pivot joints

Maintenance tips for adjustable louvred windows

louvred window components

  • Avoid hanging heavy objects on the lever lock
  • Check and ensure that:
    • The lever lock works smoothly
    • Glass panes are secured firmly by the glass clamps and are not cracked

Fixed louvred windows

Another type of louvred window is the fixed type. You can also find them in toilets. Learn some of the common problem which you may encounter and maintenance tips for it.

Checking timber louvred windows

Check the windows to ensure that:

  • The timber frame is in good condition. Paint the timber frame when the paint work starts to peel
  • The frame and shielding plate are in good condition
  • Glass panes are secure and not cracked

Engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to carry out repair and replacement works.

maintenance guide windows timber louvred windows

Common problems

Decayed window frame or broken glass panes

louvred window inside view Inside view

louvred window outside view Outside view

  • Why these happen:
    • Exposure to weather
    • Glass broken because of object hitting it
  • Solutions:

Windows safety

The law has regulated the designs and installation of windows methods. In addition, it requires all aluminium casement windows fitted with aluminium rivets used  aluminium casement windows have to be replaced by stainless steel rivets. For details, check the renovation guidelines for window works and our video on window legislation.

Checking windows for retrofitting requirements

Check your home’s windows against the retrofitting requirements to ensure that it conforms to the window legislation. If you fail to retrofit your windows to stainless steel rivets, you could be fined up to $5,000 and/ or sentenced to a 6-month jail term.

Flats whose window features do not comply with regulations

Flats with existing aluminium casement windows fitted with aluminium rivets do not comply with regulations. What needs to be done:

  • Change the aluminium rivets to stainless steel rivets 
  • There needs to be a minimum of 4 stainless steel rivets for side hung aluminium casement windows and a minimum of 3 for top hung aluminium casement windows

Flats whose window features comply with regulations

  • Flats completed or upgraded after 2000
    • No retrofitting required. These are original casement windows provided by us and are already fitted with stainless steel rivets
  • Flats on lowest level
    • Windows at the lowest level are exempted from the window legislation
  • Flats with sliding, louvered or mild steel casement windows
    • No retrofitting required as these windows are not fitted with rivets. These include mild steel casement windows and wooden casement windows.

maintenance guide windows mild steel casement windows

maintenance guide windows mild steel casement windows hinge

Mild steel casement windows

 

maintenance guide windows timber windows 2

maintenance guide windows timber windows 1

Wooden casement windows

Please note that performance requirements of the Building Control Regulations (established as of 1 October 2004) have to be met regarding the installation of new windows.

Minimum safety requirements

To ensure that HDB flat windows are secure and maintained in good working condition at all times, all window checks, repairs, retrofittings, installations, and replacements must be conducted according to the Building Control Regulations. To ensure reliable work standards, we require you to engage only window contractors who are approved by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and registered with us for your repair and/ or maintenance needs. Check out the list of BCA-approved window contractors listed with HDB. Alternatively, visit your nearest HDB Branch to enquire about contractors you can engage.

Do check and ensure that minimum safety requirements are met for your existing windows. 

Retrofitting existing aluminium casement windows

Check out our illustration for reference.

The following table lists problems of aluminium casement windows that pose safety risks. Do check your existing windows and ensure that minimum safety requirements are met:

Parts Problems Requirements
Friction stay
  • Non-stainless steel
  • Sagged/ bent
  • Replace the existing friction stay with one made of stainless steel grade 304 or equivalent
  • Use stainless steel grade 304 or equivalent rivets with a minimum diameter of 4.8mm
  • 4 rivets on each side of the friction stay
Connection of friction stay to window frame
  • Material of the connection poses a safety risk
  • Aluminium rivets used
  • Replace the existing connection with rivets made of stainless steel grade 304 or equivalent
  • Rivets must have a minimum diameter of 4.8mm
  • 4 rivets on each side of friction stay
Corner brackets 
(if used) for corners of window leaf
Plastic material has deteriorated Replace with zinc-casted corner brackets
Glass panel Cracked or loose Replace glass panel and rubber gasket

Repair existing aluminium sliding windows

Check out our illustration for reference.

The following table lists problems of aluminium sliding windows that pose safety risks. Do check your existing windows and ensure that minimum safety requirements are met. 

Parts Problems Requirements
Safety features 

Damaged or not provided

Replace or add 1 of the following safety features to prevent sliding panel from jumping track:  

  • Stoppers at top of window outer frame (minimum 1 stopper per sliding panel width. Repeat the same along the track. Stoppers have to be fastened with stainless steel steel grade 304 or equivalent rivets with a minimum diameter of 4mm        
  • Refer to our illustration for spacing of stoppers
  • Aluminium angle strip at bottom of window outer frame, fastened with rivets made of stainless steel grade 304 or equivalent and with a minimum diameter of 4mm. The stainless steel rivets are to be placed such that centre-to-centre spacing is 300mm or less.
Rollers

Rollers are jammed

Replace rollers
Glass panel

Cracked

Loose

Replace glass panel and rubber gasket

Repair existing aluminium adjustable louvre windows

Check out our illustration for reference.

The following table lists the problems of aluminium adjustable louvre windows that pose safety risks. Do check your existing windows and ensure that minimum safety requirements are met. 

Parts Problems Requirements
Glass panels

Cracked or loose

Replace glass panels
Adjustable lever

Lever is jammed

Replace lever mechanism

Installing/ replacing new windows 

To enhance the safety of new windows installed in HDB flats, we have put in place some guidelines for installation/ replacement of new windows.

To carry out installation/ replacement of new aluminium windows, you must engage only BCA-approved window contractors that are registered with us.

Charges for window works

Only BCA-approved window contractors that are registered with us are allowed to perform window repair or replacement work in HDB flats. You need to ensure that the workers exercise due care and diligence when carrying out the repair work. 

You can refer to our list of indicative charges for different types of window works.

The charges stated above are only a guide of what contractors might charge and are not meant to be exhaustive or a guarantee of the quality of work. You are advised to make necessary comparisons where possible. Any negotiation of the price and extent of work is on a private basis between yourself and the contractor, and we are not privy to this private engagement.

Appoint only BCA-approved window contractor

Please engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to carry out installation/ replacement of new aluminium windows or repair of existing aluminium windows in HDB flats.

You are also required to state the name(s) of BCA-approved window contractor and that of the trained installer on the window permit application submitted to us.

Your window contractor is responsible for the proper installation/ repair of the window/s. After the window work is completed, if you discover loose rivets any loose/ missing parts, immediately contact your contractor for rectification.

Submit retrofitting report

For flats that have their windows retrofitted, a report has to be submitted once the necessary works have been completed.

Your approved window contractor will provide you with a retrofitting report, duly signed by their installer. The report is part of the retrofitting process/ requirement. The contractor will provide it to you at no extra charge.

Once your casement windows fitted with aluminium rivets at the friction stays have been retrofitted with stainless steel rivets, please submit the hardcopy retrofitting report (Form B1) to HDB Branch. Alternatively, you can also submit Form B1 electronically through My HDBPage (under ‘My e-Services’ > ‘Others’).

For any replacement or modification work to your window/s, you are to ensure that your contractor submits a report (Form D) to the Building and Construction Authority when the window work is completed.

You are advised to keep a copy of the retrofitting reports for your own record purposes.

Advice and assistance

There are several precautions you can take before engaging a contractor to attend to your windows.

Avoiding misunderstandings with the contractor

Engaging a window contractor is a private arrangement between you and the contractor. To avoid problems or complaints related to overcharging or unnecessary work being carried out, do take note of the following before proceeding with any repairs/ maintenance:

  • Consult your contractor on:
    • The type and extent of work necessary
    • All chargeable costs
  • Compare rates and negotiate costs
  • Study the terms and conditions of engagement

Check out our list of indicative service costs as a guide for prevailing market rates when negotiating with your contractor.

What to do if rivets are not firmly secured

Your window contractor is responsible for the proper installation of the rivets. After the retrofitting is completed, check that the rivets are firmly secured onto the frames. If you discover loose rivets upon completion of works, immediately contact your contractor for rectification. If your contractor refuses to do so, please inform us or the Building and Construction Authority so that appropriate action can be taken.