Man nearly hit by concrete slab falling from Tampines HDB block

PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

A man was wheeling his bicycle home along Tampines St 12 on Sunday (July 12) afternoon when he suddenly heard a loud crash from behind him.

When he turned around, the 68-year-old was stunned by the sight of a concrete slab that had fallen onto the ground.

It shattered into several pieces from the impact, with the largest one measuring 5cm.

If the concrete had fallen seconds earlier, it would've hit him, the traumatised security guard recounted to Shin Min Daily News.

According to the Chinese daily, the concrete had fallen from the facade of the HDB block, exposing the steel bars within.

Another resident said that she was preparing lunch when she heard the crash. She looked out of the window and saw that a concrete slab had fallen.

"There's a carpark nearby, I believe the fragments may have hit some vehicles there," the 44-year-old administrative personnel told the paper.

The area where the concrete had landed is frequented by residents as they make their way home from the carpark, the resident said as she expressed her worries over the incident.

PHOTO: Google Maps

Spalling concrete is a common issue among ageing buildings such as this 11-storey HDB block, which was built in 1983.

In response to AsiaOne's queries, the Tampines Town Council said it is aware of the spalling concrete at Block 162, Tampines St 12.

"For the safety of the residents, we have cleaned up and cordoned off the area," a spokesman said.

The town council has also done a quick visual assessment of the facade and found that the fallen concrete was due to the corrosion of steel reinforcement bars, likely caused by moisture at a particular spot of the facade. The remaining facade was found to be in condition.

"Nevertheless, we are arranging for our building contractor to do a close-up inspection so that residents' safety is not compromised."

The town council added that it will carry out a thorough inspection of the entire block as it is due for Repair and Redecoration works soon.

In March, the Building Control law was amended to improve facade inspections on high-rise buildings in Singapore, and town councils are responsible for facade maintenance of HDB blocks.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) received nearly 30 reports of falling facade elements over the past three years.

"Most of these were related to the wear and tear of the facade materials or connections," said Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower.

Over 4,000 buildings will be inspected each year, BCA added.