Falling windows: Number lowest in 5 years, says building authority

The number of windows falling from high-rise homes is the lowest in five years, says the Building and Construction Authority on Thursday.

Get the full story from The Straits Times.

Read the full statement from BCA here.

The number of fallen windows this year has dropped to the lowest in the past five years. According to statistics issued by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), there were 40 cases in the first 11 months this year compared to 67 cases in the same period last year. No one was injured out of the cases reported this year.

This year, about six in ten cases involved casement windows. Most casement windows dislodged and fell when corroded aluminium rivets failed to secure the window panels to the window frame.

Under the Building Control Order for the retrofitting of casement windows which came into effect in 2005, 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. If homeowners fail to do so, they 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, they could face up to a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or jail term of up to one year. To date, 256 people have been fined for fallen windows.

"Despite fewer fallen window incidents, homeowners should not take window safety for granted. All windows are subject to wear and tear and parts of the window can become loose or defective, causing windows to detach and fall. Hence, it is important that homeowners check and clean their windows regularly, and repair them if necessary," said Mr Lim Chong Yong, Director of Building Management Department, BCA.

To reinforce the importance of window safety, BCA doubled its community outreach efforts this year to conduct 20 window safety roving exhibitions in various neighbourhoods. 19 exhibitions have been conducted so far to educate homeowners on simple window maintenance tips and promote greater public awareness on window safety. Moving forward, BCA also plans to provide all homeowners with window maintenance tips through mail.

For casement windows, homeowners should ensure that all rivets are stainless steel ones. They should also check that the fasteners are not rusty or loose, and regularly clean and lubricate joints or movable parts. For sliding windows, homeowners should 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 and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly (refer to Annex A).

The checks and maintenance of windows should be conducted at least once every 6 months. Homeowners are also required to engage an approved window contractor to carry out any installation or repair works to their windows.