Tampines sunshade that dislodged had no reinforcement bars on one side; sunshades in surrounding blocks safe: BCA

HDB officers conducting a sunshade inspection at Tampines after a sunbreaker dislodged in September.
HDB officers conducting a sunshade inspection at Tampines after a sunbreaker dislodged in September.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A sunshade that partially dislodged from a Tampines Housing & Development block had no reinforcement bars (rebars) on the side that fell, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said on Sunday (Dec 4).

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

On Sept 25, the concrete sunshade on the fourth floor came off and landed on the sunshade below. The external structure, about 5m long, balanced on the sunshade on the third floor.

A piece from the sunshade on the third floor chipped off, but no one was hurt.

A professional engineer was engaged by the Tampines Town Council to carry out an investigation over the last few months.

The conclusion was that there were no rebars on the side that dislodged.

 
 

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

Checks were also conducted on the other sunshades at Block 201E and similar sunshades at the surrounding blocks.

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

The professional engineer, in the presence of BCA engineers, also carried out sampling checks by removing a strip of concrete cover to expose the rebars 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.

BCA said it has also conducted an independent assessment of the findings and concurs with the PE's conclusions.

Responding to media queries, HDB said the PE’s 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 that the building contractor, Hock Guan Thong Construction Pte Ltd, has ceased operations in 1993, and there is only one other existing HDB project by this contractor. "All the three blocks in this project do not have sunbreakers. Nonetheless, HDB has inspected these blocks and ascertained that they are structurally safe," said the HDB statement.

HDB and Tampines Town Council have also installed a new sunbreaker to replace the one that had dislodged. The installation work, which was done under the supervision of the PE, was completed on Nov 21, it added.