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BCA-HDB joint news release: Number of fallen casement windows hits record high

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

- BCA urges homeowners to take window safety seriously and check and maintain their windows regularly so that wear and tear can be detected and rectified early

Singapore, 11 December 2012 - The number of fallen windows has risen since 2010, with an average increase of 8 to 9 cases per year. This is largely due to an increase in the number of fallen casement windows, where 37 casement windows fell from January to November this year, the highest number of incidents compared to the past six years. It was found that majority of casement windows fell as a result of corroded aluminium rivets.

These owners would have contravened the Retrofitting Order under the Building Control Act for failing to replace all aluminium rivets with stainless steel rivets. They can face a penalty of up to S$5,000 and/or 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, under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (BMSMA).

To date, 113 people have been fined and 35 people prosecuted for fallen casement windows and failing to comply with the Retrofitting Order. Another 70 people have been fined and 2 people prosecuted for fallen sliding windows as a result of failing to maintain the windows.

Window Inspections

BCA has been conducting blitz window inspections at HDB blocks and private estates that have previous cases of fallen casement windows. Out of 100 units that BCA had inspected in Jurong and Jalan Rajah recently, a total of 12 units have not retrofitted their casement windows with stainless steel rivets. The owners of these units were subsequently issued composition fines.

Window Safety Outreach

In addition, BCA has been conducting outreach activities to inform homeowners on how to maintain their windows. Since June 2011, 10 window safety roving exhibitions have been held at various community and grassroots events, with more than 2,300 residents visiting the booth. At the most recent roving exhibition at Bedok South, Mr Lim Swee Say, MP for East Coast GRC and Adviser to East Coast GRC GROs encouraged residents to take the initiative and play a bigger role to ensure window safety.

BCA would like to remind homeowners to take window safety seriously, as this is especially crucial in our highly built-up high-rise environment, to prevent our windows from falling from height. Every individual is responsible for checking and maintaining their windows regularly so that wear and tear can be detected and rectified early. “BCA will continue to reinforce the importance of window safety through enforcement actions and window inspections at private and HDB estates, as well as educating homeowners on window maintenance tips through our roving exhibitions and the biannual Window Safety Campaign on 6 June and 12 December”, said Mr Lim Chong Yong, Director of Building Management Department, BCA.

Homeowners need to follow three simple steps to maintain their windows. For casement windows, they should ensure that all rivets are changed from aluminium to stainless steel. Homeowners 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. Homeowners should also clean the tracks and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly Annex A (1.3MB .pdf)).

A list of BCA-approved window contractors and window maintenance tips can be found at https://www1.bca.gov.sg/public/homeowners/window-safety/approved-window-contractorhttps://www1.bca.gov.sg/public/homeowners/window-safety/window-maintenance and http://www.hdb.gov.sg/windows_ safety.

Footnote

Annex A - Window Safety Poster (1.3MB .pdf)

Portable document format version of the media release is also available (1.3MB .pdf).

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