Fewer fallen windows from high-rise buildings

Fewer windows have fallen from high-rise buildings, the Building Construction Authority said on Sunday. Eighteen windows fell in the first five months this year, compared to 35 in the same period last year.

None of these cases resulted in an injury, the agency added.

Most windows that fell were casement windows, which open by pushing and not sliding. All casement windows that fell were found to have aluminium rivets which were used to secure the friction stays of the window. A friction stay is the mechanism which attaches the window to the frame and allows it to be opened and closed.

"These could have been prevented if homeowners had retrofitted aluminium rivets of casement windows with stainless steel ones," BCA said.

Some sliding windows also fell off their frames. Those that gave way lacked safety stoppers and angle strips to secure the panels, preventing windows from sliding smoothly along the tracks. Proper maintenance of windows such as checking window stoppers and cleaning window tracks would have prevented such cases, BCA added.

A recent survey conducted by the agency found that one in every two Singaporeans is aware of the importance of window safety and ways to maintain windows. However, approximately 30 per cent of those who are aware did not maintain their windows regularly.

BCA will conduct more window safety roving exhibitions at community events to promote greater awareness of window safety. It has already conducted seven roving exhibitions this year and at least ten more are in the pipeline for 2013. These workshops will teach simple window maintenance tips through sliding and casement window mock-ups.

Homeowners can face up to a $5,000 fine and six years jail for failing to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel rivets. If a window falls due to lack of maintenance, they could be fined $10,000 and jailed for one year. To find out more about window safety, go to http://www.bca.gov.sg/windows_safety/

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