Dispute over source of problem

At first, water leaked into the bathroom in the bedroom of their ninth-storey Eunos Mansion flat. They complained to the owner of the unit above, who made several attempts to get his bathroom repaired.

Then, the problem became worse, with water leaking from the ceiling of their bedroom and kitchen too.

After a dispute over the leakage, home owners Cheong Wan Kong and Cheong Yuet Leng turned to the Strata Titles Board (STB), which in November last year ordered 10th-floor unit owners Lim Sze Eng and Tan Lay Hoon to carry out rectification work.

In June last year, the Cheongs hired building surveyor Bruce James Loggie, who probed the cause and reported that the sanitary waste pipes serving the upper unit were not watertight, causing water seepage to the bathroom below.

He also found that the waterproofing system serving the upper unit's master bathroom had failed, and re-waterproofing work was needed.

 

But Mr Lim disputed the findings, based on his own contractor's report.

He produced a report by IGM Construction and suggested the leakage could have come from broken or cracked concealed pipes behind the master bedroom wall. These were common discharge pipes within the purview of the condominium's management corporation.

The STB tribunal, comprising Mr Seng Kwang Boon, Mr Edwin Choo and Mr Goh Thiam Lock, considered both reports and noted that IGM did not explain how it concluded that the concealed pipes were broken or cracked. No one from IGM gave evidence to support its claim.

The STB, in grounds issued last November, ruled that even if there were such broken pipes, the resulting water pooling was within the upper unit and the water seeped through because of failed waterproofing. It held the respondents liable for the leakage.

K.C. Vijayan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2017, with the headline 'Dispute over source of problem'. Print Edition | Subscribe