We thank Mr David Tan Kok Kheng for his letter (Re-examine process of approving fire safety-related materials, Aug 28).
The Fire Code has stringent fire safety requirements for building materials. Under it, composite panels used for different purposes are subject to different requirements.
There are five classes (Class 0 to 4) of certification to indicate the rate of flame spread.
Composite panels used on the external walls of buildings (as cladding) must be certified as Class 0. The alternative is to use non-combustible cladding made of materials such as aluminium.
Composite panels used for other purposes, such as roofing and internal walls, are subject to less stringent standards (that is, can be certified as Class 1) as fire tends to spread slower horizontally.
Police investigations are ongoing to determine how the sole local distributor of a particular brand of composite panels supplied non-Class 0 composite panels (meant for use on roofs and internal walls) as cladding on the affected buildings.
Action will be taken if there is evidence of criminal culpability.
In the meantime, based on various fire safety measures in place, SCDF has assessed that the buildings remain fit and safe for occupancy.
SCDF is working with stakeholders to review the fire safety regulations and processes for certification relating to the use of composite panels on buildings to ensure they remain robust.
Senior Assistant Director
(Public Affairs Department)
Singapore Civil Defence Force