Building projects must have highest fire safety standards

Our Tampines Hub opened only this month. Hence, I am surprised that it is one of the buildings that was found to have used combustible cladding.

The People's Association (PA) has said that the problematic cladding comprised less than 5 per cent of the building's external facade (Affected buildings to be rectified as soon as possible; Aug 25).

Regardless, the PA should not take the issue so lightly, as every life is precious. With the constant flow of visitors to the building, safety is a key issue.

It was reported that the supplier had placed two different models of cladding material together in its warehouse (Distributor placed two models of cladding in one stock; Aug 25).

Why did it do this, even though the materials have different fire ratings? Did the firm not exercise due diligence and inspection before delivering the materials to its customers?

What measures does it have in place to ensure such lapses are not repeated?

It is the duty of the fire safety consultant of building projects to ensure the highest standards of material certification during construction.

There can be significant loss of life if a fire breaks out in a large and crowded shopping mall.

Besides the cladding panels, cables and equipment have to be thoroughly examined as well, to ensure that they comply with fire standards.

There must be full protection against electrical malfunctions, open flames, sparks and hot surfaces, found in most hawker stalls and restaurants.

Unit managers must not introduce combustibles into malls, for instance, by extending sales displays beyond the front of the unit.

The Land Transport Authority should also conduct inspections of the cladding installed in tunnels such as the Marina Coastal Expressway.

Many lives would be at risk if a fire should break out in these tunnels.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2017, with the headline 'Building projects must have highest fire safety standards'. Print Edition | Subscribe