Building owners, homeowners play part in building safety

Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, building owners have a duty to ensure that exterior features of a building, such as claddings, curtain walls and brackets, are properly maintained.
Under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act, building owners have a duty to ensure that exterior features of a building, such as claddings, curtain walls and brackets, are properly maintained.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

We thank the Forum writers for their feedback (Building owners must step up maintenance checks, April 13 and Pre-emptive measures urgently needed to curb falling objects, April 17.

Building owners and homeowners have a duty to regularly inspect and maintain their building façades.

For windows of residential units which are subject to wear and tear from opening and closing, it is the homeowners' responsibility to check them regularly and repair them if necessary, to ensure that the windows are always safe and secure.

BCA and HDB have been running the yearly window safety campaign in June and December to remind homeowners 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 façades 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 who fail to carry out their duties.

Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan commented 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 the 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 façade inspection regime that requires building owners to engage professionals to regularly inspect the building façade.

This will enable early detection of tell-tale signs of deteriorating façades or exterior features and allow building owners to carry out necessary maintenance and repairs to ensure safety of their building facades.

Lim Beng Kwee

Director, Enforcement and Structural Inspection Department

Building and Construction Authority