Building owners and homeowners play a part in ensuring building facade safety (Straits Times Forum)

Friday, 26 April 2019

We refer to the letters, "Building owners must step up maintenance checks" (April 13) and "Pre-emptive measures urgently needed to curb falling objects" (April 17).

Building owners and homeowners have a duty to regularly inspect and maintain their building facades.

For windows of residential units which are subject to wear and tear from opening and closing, it is the homeowners' responsibility to check them regularly and repair them if necessary, to ensure that the windows are always safe and secure. BCA and HDB have been running the yearly window safety campaign on 6 June and 12 December (6/6 and 12/12) to remind homeowners to check and maintain their windows regularly and to play their part in ensuring a safer living environment for all.

Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, building owners also have a duty to ensure that other exterior features of a building, such as claddings, curtain walls and brackets, are properly maintained so as to prevent them from falling off. There are also regulations in place to ensure that buildings and their facades are designed by a Qualified Person and constructed by a builder in accordance with performance and safety requirements. BCA takes a serious view on the safety of buildings and facades and will not hesitate to take enforcement actions against parties who have failed to carry out their duties.

Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan commented that it is usually not the building's structural integrity that is of concern when there are incidents involving falling facades. However, there may be public concerns over the structural integrity when such incidents occur. Therefore, besides requiring immediate measures to be taken, such as cordoning off the affected area and checking the building's other similar exterior features, BCA also assesses whether the structural integrity of the building may have contributed to the incident.

To enhance our building control framework, BCA is working to introduce a periodic facade inspection regime that requires building owners to engage professionals to regularly inspect the building facade. This will enable early detection of tell-tale signs of deteriorating facades or exterior features and allow building owners to carry out necessary maintenance and repairs to ensure safety of their building facades.

Er. Lim Beng Kwee
Director, Enforcement and Structural Inspection Department
Building and Construction Authority

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