Sunshade dislodged at Tampines block had no rebars

A sunshade that partially dislodged from a Tampines HDB block in September had no reinforcement bars (rebars) on the side that fell, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday.

However, investigations by a professional engineer have shown that the existing sunshades at Block 201E, Tampines Street 23, and surrounding HDB blocks are safe, BCA said.

On Sept 25, the concrete sunshade - about 5m long - on the fourth floor came off and landed on the sunshade below. A piece from the third-floor sunshade was chipped off, but no one was hurt.

The Tampines Town Council engaged a professional engineer to investigate the incident.

"The professional engineer concluded that the sunshade dislodged because of the way it was constructed and not due to structural design," the BCA said in its statement.

The engineer also checked the other sunshades at Block 201E and those at the surrounding blocks.

These include ultrasound scans, conducted by an independent accredited testing laboratory. The ultrasound checks showed reinforcement bars were detected in all existing sunshades there.

The professional engineer, in the presence of BCA engineers, also carried out sampling checks to establish the number and size of rebars.

"These checks confirmed that the existing sunshades are adequately supported on the columns and are safe," BCA added.

In response to media queries, the Housing Board said the report concluded that all the other 73 sunbreakers at Blocks 201A, 201B, 201D and 201E are adequately supported on columns and are safe.

It said the building contractor, Hock Guan Thong Construction, ceased operations in 1993, and there is only one other existing HDB project by this contractor that does not have sunbreakers.

"Nonetheless, HDB has inspected these blocks and ascertained that they are structurally safe," it said.

On Nov 21, HDB and Tampines Town Council also completed the installation of a new sunshade to replace the dislodged one.

Chew Hui Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline 'Sunshade dislodged at Tampines block had no rebars'. Print Edition | Subscribe