We refer to the letter, "Onus on HDB to resolve issue of fallen windows" (22 December).
All windows have to be designed and installed according to specified standards and meet performance requirements under the Building Control Regulations. HDB designs and installs windows according to prevailing industry standards. From 1987 to 1998, aluminium rivets were used for casement windows in HDB flats, as this was the accepted industry standard internationally. As standards improved, HDB switched to stainless steel rivets for casement windows in 1998, ahead of the revised industry standards that were adopted in 2000. To assist flat owners, HDB offered a one-off goodwill rivet replacement programme in 2004, for flats which had aluminium rivets for casement windows installed by HDB. Under this programme, HDB co-paid 50% of the cost of replacing the aluminium rivets with stainless steel rivets.
The number of falling window incidents across private and public housing has dropped from a peak of 125 in 2005 to an average of about 45 cases yearly in the last five years. The majority of those that occurred in HDB flats involved windows that were installed by home owners during renovation.
As windows are subject to wear and tear, it is important that home owners check their windows regularly, and engage BCA-approved window contractors to repair or replace them if necessary, to ensure that the windows remain safe and secure. For casement windows, home owners should check that the fasteners are not rusty or loose, and regularly clean and lubricate joints or movable parts. For sliding windows, 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 regularly and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly. More window maintenance tips can be found on BCA's (www1.bca.gov.sg/window_safety) or HDB's (www.hdb.gov.sg/window_safety) webpages.
To raise awareness on the importance of such checks, we have designated 6 Jun (6/6) and 12 Dec (12/12) as Window Safety Days. We also organise exhibitions and heartland talks for home owners.
Director (Housing Maintenance)
Housing & Development Board
Lim Beng Kwee
Director (Enforcement and Structural Inspection)
Building and Construction Authority