SINGAPORE - There were 43 recorded cases of windows falling from Housing Board flats and private homes in the first 11 months of the year, equal to the total number last year but fewer than in the years before, according to a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) statement on Friday.
Said BCA chief executive officer John Keung: "One fallen window is one too many. It can pose a safety risk to the public and potentially be fatal."
"Because lives may be at stake, we urge homeowners to be responsible in checking and cleaning their windows twice a year, and if need be, change them," he added.
To highlight the importance of window safety, all of Singapore's 1.2 million households were sent a brochure on window maintenance tips along with their regular utility bills in November. The BCA also held 18 exhibitions on window safety this year in various neighbourhoods.
The casement windows which fell this year were found to have corroded aluminium rivets. These rivets secure the window's friction stays, which are flat hinges that hold open windows steady.
Homeowners should ensure that all casement window rivets are made of stainless steel instead, and check that fasteners are not rusty or loose, said the BCA. Windows must also be cleaned regularly and their joints or movable parts lubricated.
Those who fail to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel rivets may be fined up to $5,000, jailed for up to six months, or both.
In addition, if a window falls due to lack of maintenance, the homeowner could be fined up to $10,000, jailed for up to a year, or both.
As for sliding windows, those which fell did not have safety stoppers and angle strips which keep window panels in place on the track. The windows were also unable to slide smoothly along the tracks.
Homeowners should check that safety stoppers or angle strips are in place and not damaged, and should change any that are worn out. They should also clean the tracks and check that the window panels can slide smoothly.
The 43 cases of falling windows this year "could have been prevented if homeowners had retrofitted aluminium rivets of casement windows with stainless steel ones and maintained their windows regularly", said the BCA.