Pre-emptive measures urgently needed to curb falling objects

It is important to understand that heavy falling objects from heights could be deadly because the impact of the force could be several times the weight of the objects.
It is important to understand that heavy falling objects from heights could be deadly because the impact of the force could be several times the weight of the objects. ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

It may be unrealistic to expect building owners to frequently check structural installations like windows, wall tiles, glass panels, concrete beams and metal cladding.

Perhaps the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) could curb those mishaps with compulsory periodic inspections (Building owners must step up maintenance checks, by Mr Andrew Seow Chwee Guan, April 13).

Singapore ranks as the third-most densely populated country in the world, with more than 8,000 completed high-rise buildings.

It is important to understand that heavy falling objects from heights could be deadly because the impact of the force could be several times the weight of the objects.

It seems that the BCA took no further action to prevent the annual average of 45 fallen windows over the last five years.

We should not bet that we will always be lucky that falling objects hurtling down from 40-storey buildings will not kill someone.

The BCA should take pre-emptive measures to stop these unwanted incidents immediately before they cause irreparable damage to property and life.

Facades or curtain walls are the skin of a building.

They are integral parts of the structure designed and are built to last with proper maintenance and services.

However, for safety and durability, they must comply with facade engineering code of practice with impeccable workmanship in fabrication and installation.

The incidents of falling objects are due to poor design or shoddy workmanship in fabrication and installation.

The elusive responses that the building was safe from building management, town council, the Housing Board and BCA failed to address the potential danger of serious damage to property and life.

The BCA should focus on investigating poor product designs, defects or shoddy workmanship.

As an immediate precautionary measure, perhaps it is necessary to have inspections to rectify defects for all reported cases and quickly implement the new regulation.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 17, 2019, with the headline 'Pre-emptive measures urgently needed to curb falling objects'. Print Edition | Subscribe