46 cases of fallen windows from Jan to Nov this year, higher than annual average in past 5 years

The authorities found that the key cause of fallen casement windows is corrosion to the aluminium rivets.
The authorities found that the key cause of fallen casement windows is corrosion to the aluminium rivets.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There were 46 cases of fallen windows in the first 11 months of this year, latest figures by the authorities released on Wednesday (Dec 12) show.

This is higher than the annual average of 45 cases in the past five years, said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board in a joint statement.

Of the 46 cases seen so far this year, 23 involved casement windows while 19 were sliding windows. The remaining four cases involved other window types, such as louvre windows.

There were no injuries reported in any of the cases.

In their statement, the BCA and HDB said that the windows in homes can deteriorate over time due to wear and tear.

And without regular maintenance, windows may potentially be dislodged or fall off, and pose a threat to public safety, they added.

BCA's director of enforcement and structural inspection department, Mr Lim Beng Kwee, said: "Each case is a danger to the community with potentially fatal consequences.

"Yet, falling windows are preventable when home owners know the risks, do their duties to check their windows once every six months, and take immediate actions to secure and repair them."

The authorities found that the key cause of fallen casement windows is corrosion to the aluminium rivets.

Corrosion compromises the strength of the rivets, which means that they are unable to hold the window panels firmly in place, they said.

Since 2004, home owners have been required to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel ones.

With regard to fallen sliding windows, most cases were due to the lack of proper safety stoppers and angle strips in place to ensure that the window panels are kept within the tracks.

Such window panels may detach and fall when home owners apply additional outward force when opening or closing the windows.

The authorities said home owners should ensure that safety stoppers and angle strips for sliding windows are in place.

They should also promptly replace parts that are worn out.

 

In the statement, the BCA and HDB urged home owners and occupants to make window safety a priority by following these three steps: Check, Clean, Change.

Those with casement windows should check that fasteners are not rusty or loose, clean and oil joints or moving parts, and change all rivets from aluminium to stainless steel by engaging an approved window contractor.

Those with sliding windows should check that safety stoppers and angle strips are in their proper place, clean the tracks and ensure window panels can slide smoothly, and change worn-out safety stoppers and angle strips by engaging an approved window contractor.

The public can visit the BCA website and HDB website for a list of BCA-approved window contractors as well as window maintenance tips.

A total of 342 people have been fined and 92 people prosecuted for fallen windows since 2006, the authorities said.

Home owners who fail to replace the aluminium rivets of their windows with stainless steel ones may face a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months.

If a fallen window was found to be caused by a lack of maintenance, home owners can face a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or jail term of up to a year.