Plaster falls 12 storeys from HDB block in Hougang

Block 449 Hougang Avenue 10, where a slab of plaster fell down 12 storeys on Nov 27, 2016.
Block 449 Hougang Avenue 10, where a slab of plaster fell down 12 storeys on Nov 27, 2016. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

SINGAPORE - In the latest case of building parts falling from Housing Board buildings, a slab of plaster fell 12 storeys from the top of a block in Hougang on Sunday (Nov 27) morning.

No one was injured, but plaster fragments were seen atop some vehicles parked nearby.

Resident Andy Loh, 39, heard a loud noise on Sunday. "I went down to check and saw all the (plaster) scattered on the floor," he told The Straits Times.

The slab seemed to have hit a lorry which was parked nearby, and dented its roof, added Mr Loh, a sales manager who lives on the second floor.

The block, which dates back to 1991 and contains just 60 executive maisonette units, falls under the purview of Ang Mo Kio Town Council.

Residents expressed varying degrees of concern.

"What if it had fallen on someone's head? I hope the authorities can check buildings which are older than 20 years," said a 48-year-old housewife who wished to be known only as Madam Lee, in Mandarin.

Second-floor resident Tan Wee Kiat, 22, was less concerned. "If I drove, I'd be bothered, but I'm not that worried," said Mr Tan, who works in retail. "Nobody wants this kind of thing to happen, but how is anyone supposed to foresee it?"

When The Straits Times visited on Monday morning, the area had been cordoned off and a gondola was present.

Asked about the incident and what was being done, an HDB spokesman said only that the HDB was informed on Sunday that a piece of plaster had fallen from the external facade of the block.

"The plaster is part of the facade and is non-structural," she added. "HDB is in touch with Ang Mo Kio Town Council on the matter."

Earlier in October, a piece of wall facade fell more than 10 storeys from a 51-year-old block in Circuit Road. A sunshade in Tampines was also partially dislodged in September. No one was injured in any of the incidents.