Town councils act on fallen facade cases

Debris on the ground after a piece of calcium silicate cladding board fell from the top of the building facade of Block 51 Circuit Road on Oct 19, 2016.
Debris on the ground after a piece of calcium silicate cladding board fell from the top of the building facade of Block 51 Circuit Road on Oct 19, 2016. PHOTO: SHIN MIN

Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio town councils to remove panels after probes by engineers

Marine Parade Town Council will be removing calcium silicate cladding panels at 25 blocks in the precinct following an investigation by a professional engineer (PE) it had engaged.

In October, parts of a building facade fell from Block 51, Circuit Road. In a separate case last month, a plaster slab dislodged from Block 449, Hougang Avenue 10, and fell to the ground.

Following the two cases, affected town councils engaged engineers to investigate and submit reports to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), which yesterday released the findings.

BCA told The Straits Times that "wear and tear" had caused the cladding at Circuit Road to be dislodged.

It said after inspecting the affected block, and 24 others in the precinct, the engineer recommended the removal of similar calcium silicate panels at all 25 blocks. Panels in the service duct areas will be replaced with new aluminium panels.


Marine Parade Town Council said that during the inspection the engineer found that some boards at Block 51, Circuit Road, had "loose connection of screws to the claddings". These damaged boards have since been removed.

The engineer carried out visual inspections at the other 24 blocks.

Marine Parade Town Council told The Straits Times it is working with its engineer and a contractor to perform the necessary works and prevent a recurrence.

BCA said in the Hougang Avenue 10 case, the engineer engaged by Ang Mo Kio Town Council found all existing plaster surfaces at Block 449 "in satisfactory condition".

"Based on the PE's investigation report, the fallen plaster had dislodged as it had deteriorated due to exposure to weather over time.

"We understand that Ang Mo Kio Town Council will be repairing the affected area and stepping up checks on the surrounding blocks."

The investigations follow a string of incidents which saw non-structural facade parts fall off Housing Board blocks.

In September, a concrete sunshade dislodged from Block 201E, Tampines Street 23, and fell on another sunshade below it. After a probe, BCA said last week that the sunshade, about 5m long, had no reinforcement bars on the side that fell.

Checks showed that other sunshades at the block and in surrounding blocks were built with reinforcement bars. BCA said it is further investigating to "determine whether there were contraventions to the building regulations when the sunshades were built".

The building contractor, Hock Guan Thong Construction, ceased operations in 1993. An HDB spokesman said the contractor had only one other existing HDB project - in Clementi. She said the HDB has inspected the three blocks at this Clementi project and deemed them "structurally sound".

While nobody was hurt in any of the cases, BCA told The Straits Times last month that it is carrying out a review on building facade safety here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 12, 2016, with the headline 'Town councils act on fallen facade cases'. Print Edition | Subscribe