Cladding woes: Affected buildings to be rectified as soon as possible

At Singapore Polytechnic, where some blocks have non-compliant cladding, the contractor will be rectifying the issue, said a spokesman.
At Singapore Polytechnic, where some blocks have non-compliant cladding, the contractor will be rectifying the issue, said a spokesman.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Owners will remove non-compliant cladding; some say only small part of facade involved

Owners and developers of affected buildings said they will rectify the situation as soon as possible, with some adding that the non-compliant cladding constitutes only a small part of the facade.

Yesterday, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said all 14 projects found with such cladding remain safe for occupancy.

It added that building owners must work with their qualified persons to remove the affected cladding within two months.

Several of the affected buildings are new developments or have undergone renovation works in recent years.

One of these is the newly opened Our Tampines Hub, which was launched with much fanfare on Aug 6.

The People's Association (PA), which led the project, said the affected cladding panels comprise less than 5 per cent of the building's external facade and will be removed.

It added that SCDF has said evacuation would not be compromised in the event of a fire, as the cladding is not extensive nor located along escape routes.

"Nevertheless, we will continue to take fire safety precautions, such as conducting regular checks to ensure that all exit passageways are free from obstruction," said a PA spokesman.

"(We will also) ensure that the fire safety system and processes are in place."

Another affected building is 3, Pioneer Sector 3, an industrial building located within the Jurong Industrial Estate that is managed by ESR-Reit.

A spokesman said the aluminium composite panels had been installed in 2015 as part of an upgrading exercise. "The panels supplied were compliant with the fire safety guidelines at the point of installation, and a certificate of conformity was received," she said.

The panels, which do not comprise more than 3 per cent of the building's total external surface area, will be removed today.

JTC, which is in charge of CleanTech Two - part of the CleanTech Park that focuses on eco-business - said all the building's tenants have been informed.

Five other JTC buildings, all located at LaunchPad @ one-north, have been flagged by the SCDF as also possibly using non-compliant cladding. The building has not been tested by the SCDF.

Both JTC and Singapore Polytechnic - where some teaching blocks also have non-compliant cladding - said they would rectify the issue as soon as possible.

"The contractor who supplied and installed the cladding panels - which were supposed to be in compliance with the Fire Code - will be responsible for the rectification," said a spokesman for the polytechnic.

Residents and tenants of the affected buildings did not seem alarmed by the news.

Ms Flora He, who moved into The Peak @ Cairnhill I two years ago, did not seem worried, although she felt that the condominium's management should take action.

"I have not heard about this issue, but I hope the management will replace it (the cladding)," said the 28-year-old, who works in the travel industry.

Ms Lucy Comway, who lives in luxury condominium The Boutiq in Killiney Road, said she received a letter from the management informing residents of the situation on Wednesday night. "They said there were problems with the cladding and they would be replacing it, but that it was safe, so I'm not very worried," said the 26-year-old.

The managements of both condominiums were not available for comment.

At 30 Toh Guan Road, where a 54-year-old woman was killed in a fire in May, the non-compliant cladding had already been removed.

Said an office worker at the building, who wanted to be known only as Madam Fauziah: "The building management told us that the building is safe to use. Since all the panels are gone, I don't have an issue."

• Additional reporting by Ng Jun Sen

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2017, with the headline 'Affected buildings to be rectified as soon as possible'. Print Edition | Subscribe