BankBazaar Singapore – 29 December 2017
SINGAPORE: According to the statistics presented in the joint press statement recently released by Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Housing & Development Board (HDB), 50 cases of fallen windows have been reported in Singapore till November 2017.
This number is the highest since 2012 where 71 cases of fallen windows were noted for the full year. This also marks a break from the trend seen over the last four years when the numbers stayed below 47 with 34 being the lowest, as reported for 2015. The average for the last five years, including this year, stands at 44.
Although a marked improvement has been seen since 2005 when 125 cases of fallen windows were reported, BCA continues to be alert as concerns remain. Most of the reported fallen window cases involve casement and sliding windows.
Even though lack of proper knowledge regarding window maintenance remains, BCA has said that it will continue with its outreach programs to fight the myths and eliminate the misconceptions. Er. Lim Beng Kwee, Director of BCA’s Special Functions Groups, on behalf of the organization has said that efforts will be made to improve general awareness through distribution of flyers and posters in housing estates across the city-state in addition to roving exhibitions. This will be intended to address the public safety concerns arising out of falling windows and to educate the public.
He has also exhorted homeowners and tenants to proactively get their windows checked once in every six months to ensure that the hinges and rivets are in working condition.
Even though there is a common misconception that sliding windows can’t fall, stats prove otherwise. Common reasons leading to accidents include damaged or faulty safety stoppers and/or angle strips. According to Mr Beng Kwee, homeowners should also clean the tracks or channels regularly and ensure that the window panels slide smoothly. They shouldn’t be sticking out.
If the stoppers or angles aren’t in place or are damaged, action should be taken immediately, which includes getting in touch with a consultant, if necessary.
For casement windows, lack of replacement of aluminium rivets with stainless steel ones, a mandate passed in 2004, has been identified as a major contributor to accidents. Other reasons include worn-out or rusty rivets and fasteners.
Mr Beng Kwee felt that many of the window falling incidents can be avoided if the owners continue to clean and lubricate movable parts and/or joints of the window. Even if a window has been newly installed, rivets and screws, including the ones on the underside and on top of the panels, should be checked for corrosion or wear and tear on a regular basis.
Fine up to S$5,000 and/or a jail sentence for a maximum of six months can be implemented if found guilty of not replacing the aluminium rivets of sliding windows with stainless steel ones. If lack of maintenance or proper care is the reason for the window falling, a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to one year can be imposed on the negligent homeowner.
As per maintained records, a total of 326 people have been fined and 86 have been prosecuted for negligence leading to cases of fallen windows.