Parliament: Condo MCST committees responsible for fire safety equipment, even after external audits

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling said that when fire safety equipment is found faulty, the Singapore Civil Defence Force will issue a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice, which serves as a warning. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

SINGAPORE - The managing committees of condominiums are responsible for ensuring that fire safety equipment is functional under the Fire Safety Act, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling on Monday (Feb 3).

Simply hiring a third party to inspect the equipment does not absolve such committees from liabilities, she added.

This means that Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) committees can be taken to task for faulty equipment, such as fire hose reels, even if the equipment had been certified to be in working order by an external auditor.

Ms Sun was responding to a parliamentary question by Ms Cheryl Chan (Fengshan), who had asked what liabilities the MCST committees bear, should fire hose reels not work during emergencies.

Ms Sun noted that for condominiums with higher fire safety risks, the MCST committees have to appoint professional engineers to conduct audits of fire safety measures in order to renew the building's fire certificate each year.

Such buildings are those with a habitable height of more than 24m, which require special fire protection systems as fire engines' equipment may not be able to access higher floors as easily.

But this does not absolve MCST committees from liability if the systems fail during an emergency, added Ms Sun.

In response, Ms Chan questioned the fairness of holding MCST committees responsible, since such committees are run by resident volunteers and are not professional estate managers.

To this, Ms Sun said that when such equipment is found faulty, the Singapore Civil Defence Force will issue a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice, which serves as a warning.

So in the event that the external audits are not accurate, MCST committees will have a chance to rectify the problems, she added.

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