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
- Sliding window: A window that slides horizontally along the bottom member of a frame
- 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
What to look out for when checking your windows
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.
Mild steel casement windows
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:
|Connection of friction stay to window frame||
(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.
Damaged or not provided
Replace or add 1 of the following safety features to prevent sliding panel from jumping track:
Rollers are jammed
|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.
Cracked or loose
|Replace glass panels|
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.
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
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.