Building facade panels at Icon@IBP to be removed for not meeting fire safety standards: SCDF

The owner of Icon@IBP had in March last year conducted a burn test of the composite panels used as cladding on the building's facade to see if they conform to the fire safety rules. The panels failed the test. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - The panels on the facade of Icon @ International Business Park in Jurong East do not comply with fire safety rules and will be removed within 60 days, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said on Monday (Sept 30).

However, the building remains safe for occupancy based on its existing fire safety provisions such as fire protection systems, fire hose reels, sprinklers and fire alarms, it added.

The SCDF said that the owner of Icon @ IBP had in March last year conducted a burn test of the composite panels used as cladding on the building's facade to see if they conform to the fire safety rules. The panels failed the test.

A qualified person (QP) for the building was aware of the failed test results in April last year but did not inform the SCDF.

A QP is a registered architect or professional engineer who is specifically appointed to supervise fire safety works. They have a professional and legal responsibility to ensure fire safety.

It was only in July this year that the building owner told SCDF about the failed test.

"This prolonged duration between the burn test and the reporting of the test result is unacceptable," SCDF said. "The QP was not involved in follow-up discussions between the building owner and the main contractor about rectification actions, before the building owner informed SCDF of the non-compliant cladding."

SCDF said that under the Fire Safety Act, industry professionals are required to notify the SCDF Commissioner if the fire safety works that they have been appointed to oversee fail fire safety rules.

"The QP in this case had failed to do so," SCDF said.

SCDF has fined the QP for the prolonged delay in reporting the non-compliant cladding. It has also recommended to the Board of Architects to suspend the QP.

SCDF declined to disclose the amount of the fine.

Meanwhile, SCDF said that it has conducted a comprehensive fire safety assessment of the building and concluded that it remains fit and safe for occupancy, based on its existing fire safety provisions.

The SCDF said it has examined various factors, including the proximity of the cladding to possible ignition sources, the proportion of the external walls covered with the cladding, and the availability of fire protection systems such as fire hose reels, sprinklers and fire alarms.

It has also found that Icon @ IBP is the only building in Singapore that used the Alcompo brand of composite panels as cladding.

"The brand is no longer available on the market," SCDF noted.

The SCDF has directed the building owner to remove the non-compliant cladding within the next 60 days.

It has also asked the owner to take fire safety measures in the next two weeks such as conducting evacuation drills, checking the fire safety system regularly and removing fire hazards.

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