Bukit Panjang hawker centre needs repairs - 10 months after opening

Plastic sheets are being used to cover the louvre panels (left) and the top of stalls (below) at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market to keep out rainwater.
Plastic sheets are being used to cover the louvre panels (above) and the top of stalls at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market to keep out rainwater.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

Work being carried out at Bukit Panjang building to prevent rainwater from splashing in and pooling

Less than 10 months after it opened for business, Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market is already in need of renovation.

The building was officially opened last month and is among 20 hawker centres the Government is building by 2027, boasting larger stalls and better ventilation than their predecessors.

But it has been affected by rainwater splashing in and collecting, and is now undergoing repairs.

On one side of the centre, a small section of the floor is being hacked and modified, so rainwater can be discharged more quickly.

Some louvre panels near the ceiling are covered with plastic sheets as a temporary measure to prevent rainwater from splashing in and wetting tables and chairs.

The centre was closed for two days for cleaning from Monday.


Plastic sheets are being used to cover the louvre panels and the top of stalls (above) at Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market to keep out rainwater. ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The modification of the floor also started on Monday and is expected to be completed soon.

PROBLEM WHEN IT RAINS

When it rains heavily, the water splashes in and chairs get wet. Business has not really been affected, people will just move farther inside, but it's good that the plastic sheets have been put up.

MS CAROLINA MAENGKOM, who works at a nasi padang stall in Bukit Panjang Hawker Centre and Market.

Stalls were open as usual when The Straits Times visited yesterday, though there was some drilling taking place.

Staff at a drink stall near the affected area said rainwater collects during periods of heavy rain.

Ms Carolina Maengkom, 53, who works at a nasi padang stall, said: "When it rains heavily, the water splashes in and chairs get wet. Business has not really been affected, people will just move farther inside, but it's good that the plastic sheets have been put up."

A spokesman for the National Environment Agency said the centre will undergo other modification works next month.

"Part of (these) includes installing a fixed panel behind the louvres to prevent rainwater from splashing into the centre, caused by the unexpected strong winds at the affected area," she said.

"Measures to minimise rain splashing at the perimeter of the hawker centre are considered at the design stage, while ensuring that the natural ventilation is not compromised as far as possible."

NTUC Foodfare, which manages the centre, told Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao that once the modification works are completed, likely by the end of next month, the plastic sheets will be removed.

The sheets may indirectly reduce the ventilation, though, since air cannot pass through the louvres when they are covered up.

Mr Lim Chin Tiong, 31, who works at a chicken rice stall, said: "It's a bit hotter if people sit at this area between two rows of stalls. I'm not sure if the plastic sheets worsen the issue, but it would be good if there were more fans."

Retired odd-job worker Neo Hock Chye, 65, who lives nearby and goes to the centre about three times a week, said he sits where there are more fans and the ventilation is better. And for now, the construction noise is also an issue.

"But the food is good and cheap, so I'll still come back."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Hawker centre needs repairs - 10 months after opening'. Print Edition | Subscribe