Building owners, home owners play a part in building safety

BCA takes a serious view of the safety of buildings and facades, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against parties that fail to carry out their duties.
BCA takes a serious view of the safety of buildings and facades, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against parties that fail to carry out their duties. ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

We thank Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan and Mr Paul Chan Poh Hoi for their feedback (Building owners must step up maintenance checks, April 13; and Pre-emptive measures urgently needed to curb falling objects, April 17; respectively).

Building owners and home owners have a duty to regularly inspect and maintain their building facades. For windows of residential units which are subject to wear and tear from opening and closing, it is the home owners' responsibility to check them regularly and repair them if necessary, to ensure that the windows are always safe and secure.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Housing Board have been running the window safety campaign in June and December every year to remind home owners to check and maintain their windows regularly, and to play their part in ensuring a safer living environment for all.

Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, building owners also have a duty to ensure that other exterior features of a building, such as claddings, curtain walls and brackets, are properly maintained so as to prevent them from falling off.

There are also regulations in place to ensure that buildings and their facades are designed by a qualified person and constructed by a builder in accordance with performance and safety requirements.

BCA takes a serious view of the safety of buildings and facades, and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against parties that fail to carry out their duties.

Mr Seow said that it is usually not the building's structural integrity that is of concern when there are incidents involving falling facades.

However, there may be public concerns over structural integrity when such incidents occur.

Therefore, besides requiring immediate measures to be taken, such as cordoning off the affected area and checking the building's other similar exterior features, BCA also assesses whether the structural integrity of the building may have contributed to the incident.

To enhance our building control framework, BCA is working to introduce a periodic facade-inspection regime that requires building owners to engage professionals to regularly inspect buildings' facades.

This will enable early detection of telltale signs of deteriorating facades or exterior features, and allow building owners to carry out necessary maintenance work and repairs to ensure the safety of their building facades.

Lim Beng Kwee

Director, Enforcement and Structural Inspection Department

Building and Construction Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 27, 2019, with the headline 'Building owners, home owners play a part in building safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe