17 cases of windows falling from high-rise buildings since start of year

17 cases of windows falling from high-rise buildings since start of year

SINGAPORE - The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has recorded 17 cases of fallen windows in the first five months of 2015. This is fewer than the 27 cases recorded in the same period last year, but it is still too many, BCA said in a statement on Friday.

Under the Building Control (Retrofitting of Casement Window) Order 2004, homeowners are required to change the aluminium rivets of casement windows with stainless steel ones. This applies to windows in all residential units except those in landed properties and the ground floor of buildings.

They are also encouraged to check, clean and change (when necessary) their windows twice a year on Window Safety Days on June 6 and Dec 12.

In most instances of fallen casement windows, it was found that aluminium rivets used to secure the friction stays have not been replaced with stainless steel rivets. These aluminium rivets were found to be corroded. Most sliding windows that have fallen did not have safety stoppers and angle strips to secure the window panels, and the windows were not able to slide smoothly along the tracks.

Windows can still fall due to wear and tear and if they are not checked and maintained regularly. All cases of falling windows could have been avoided if windows were maintained regularly .

"Prevention is the key to window safety. Singapore is made up of mostly high-rise buildings with countless windows and a fallen window can give rise to grave consequences. Homeowners must take responsibility to check and clean their windows or change them when necessary to ensure the safety of the public and that of your loved ones." BCA's Group Director of Building Plan & Management, Mr Chin Chi Leong says.

For homemaker Ms Wong Kia Leng, Karen, maintaining her windows regularly gives her a greater peace of mind. "Knowing that I have checked my windows makes me feel that I have done my part to ensure that my windows will not fall and hit anyone." she says.

Homeowners who fail to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel rivets can be fined up to $5,000 and/or sentenced to up to six months in jail. In addition, they can face up to a maximum of $10,000 fine and/or jailed for up to one year if a window falls due to lack of maintenance.

Since 2006, 288 people have been fined for fallen windows.

candicec@sph.com.sg

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