50 cases of falling windows in 2017 - a five-year high

There have been 50 cases of windows falling this year, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board (HDB) reminding home owners to maintain their windows at least once every six months.
There have been 50 cases of windows falling this year, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board (HDB) reminding home owners to maintain their windows at least once every six months.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

There have been 50 cases of windows falling this year, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board reminding home owners to maintain their windows at least once every six months.

The figure is a five-year high, with the number of falling windows not surpassing 46 since 2012, when 71 cases were recorded.

From January to last month, 25 sliding windows and 24 casement windows fell. One other window that fell was not of these two types, said the BCA and HDB in a joint statement yesterday.

Most of the sliding windows fell because of the lack of proper safety stoppers and angle strips to ensure that the window panels were kept in the tracks.

The panels then detached and fell when home owners tried to open or close the windows.

As for casement windows, most of those that fell were found fitted with aluminium rivets that had corroded. The corrosion compromised the rivets' strength and functionality, such that they could not hold the window panels firmly in place.

Mr Lim Beng Kwee, a director in the BCA's special functions group, said falling windows pose a huge danger to the public.

"We should all do our part to eliminate this risk. All home owners and tenants should regularly maintain their windows at least once every six months," he said.

Since 2004, it has been a requirement for all aluminium rivets in casement windows to be replaced with stainless steel ones.

Home owners should also check that the window rivets and fasteners are not rusty or loose, and regularly clean and lubricate the joints or movable parts. Windows should be maintained regularly even if they have been installed with stainless steel rivets.

As for sliding windows, home owners should ensure that safety stoppers and/or angle strips are installed properly, and replace them when they wear out. They should also clean the tracks and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly.

Home owners who fail to replace all aluminium rivets in casements with stainless steel rivets can be jailed for up to six months and/or fined a maximum of $5,000.

If a window falls owing to a lack of maintenance, home owners can face up to a year's jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Since 2006, 326 people have been fined and 86 people have been prosecuted for fallen windows.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2017, with the headline '50 cases of falling windows in 2017 - a five-year high'. Print Edition | Subscribe