50 cases of falling windows this year in five-year high

There have been 50 cases of windows falling this year, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board (HDB) reminding home owners to maintain their windows at least once every six months.
There have been 50 cases of windows falling this year, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board (HDB) reminding home owners to maintain their windows at least once every six months. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - There have been 50 cases of windows falling this year, with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing Board (HDB) reminding home owners to maintain their windows at least once every six months.

The figure is a five-year high, with the number of falling windows not surpassing 46 since 2012, when there were 71 fallen windows recorded.

From January to November this year, 25 sliding windows and 24 casement windows fell. One other window was not of these two types, according to a joint statement on Tuesday (Dec 12) by BCA and HDB.

Most of the sliding windows that fell did so due to the lack of proper safety stoppers and angle strips in place to ensure that the window panels were kept within the tracks.

The panels then detached and fell when home owners tried to open or close the windows.

As for casement windows, most of those which fell were found fitted with aluminium rivets that had corroded. The corrosion compromised the rivets' strength and functionality, such that they could not hold window panels firmly in place.

Mr Lim Beng Kwee, a director under BCA's Special Functions Group, said falling windows pose a huge danger to the public.

"We should all do our part to eliminate this risk. All home owners and tenants should regularly maintain their windows at least once every six months," he said.

Since 2004, it has been a requirement for all aluminium rivets in casement windows to be replaced with stainless steel ones.

Home owners should also check that the window rivets and fasteners are not rusty or loose, and regularly clean and lubricate joints or movable parts. Windows should be maintained regularly even if they have been installed with stainless steel rivets.

As for sliding windows, home owners should ensure there are safety stoppers and/or angle strips installed properly, and replace these if they wear out. They should also clean the tracks and ensure the window panels can slide smoothly.

Home owners who fail to replace all aluminium rivets in casements with stainless steel rivets can be jailed for up to six months and/or fined up to $5,000.

If a window falls due to lack of maintenance, home owners can face up to a year's jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Since 2006, 326 people have been fined and 86 people have been prosecuted for fallen windows.