Two more brands of cladding found to be a fire risk: SCDF

Vista Point at 548, Woodlands Drive 44 is one of the projects identified by the authorities for possibly using ACP cladding that do not meet the standard. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Two more brands of aluminium composite panel used as external cladding here are being used improperly, and could pose a fire risk. This follows an announcement earlier this year that Alubond-branded panels did not comply with the Fire Code, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in a statement on Friday (Dec 8).

In total, seven buildings and two building projects here could be affected in the latest case, said the SCDF.

The two brands, Bolliya and Bolli-Core FR, do not meet Singapore's most stringent standard - Class "0" - for combustible external cladding here, tests show. Class "0", a British standard adapted for use in Singapore, requires fire tests to be conducted on the core of the material.

This is similar to what happened with the Alubond-branded cladding found on 34 buildings so far. Half of the buildings have had their cladding panels removed. For the remaining 17, the process is ongoing.

Cladding is used to provide insulation and weather resistance to buildings and to improve their appearance. Aluminium composite panels, or ACP for short, are panels which have a plastic or mineral core sandwiched by two incombustible aluminium skins.

For cladding to be used on external facades in Singapore, they must first be fire-tested and certified by accredited certification bodies here.

Despite possessing Certificates of Conformity (CoCs) stating that they met this standard, "sample tests reveal that the panels may not be Class '0' on the core", said the SCDF.

Investigations are ongoing to determine how this came about.

In its statement, SCDF also identified two projects with unrestricted public access found to contain one or both brands of cladding material.

These buildings are JTC LaunchPad @ one-north - Blocks 73, 73B, 75, 77, 81 Ayer Rajah Crescent - and Vista Point at 548, Woodlands Drive 44. The latter building has not yet been tested.

The Straits Times understands that both panel models were made in China. They were certified by certification body Tuv Sud PSB.

Said the SCDF: "SCDF has engaged all affected building owners, and is working closely with them. They will be required to test or remove the cladding as the case may be, and to inform their tenants of the status of their cladding as conveyed to them by SCDF."

A JTC spokesman said it has been working with SCDF to replace any non-compliant panels. Tenants were informed and thereplacement works for LaunchPad @ one-north will commence this month.

"The safety of the occupants in our buildings is of utmost priority to JTC,"it said in a statement.

While they have been assessed to be safe for occupancy due to existing fire safety provisions, the building owners have 60 days to remove non-compliant cladding, as well as to enhance their fire safety practices by ensuring their fire safety systems are in good order, fire hazards are removed and their staff are vigilant against fire risks.

In addition, SCDF is also working with the certification bodies to further identify other instances of non-compliant cladding, and "expedite their annual market surveillance audit of all models of composite panel with CoCs that meet the Fire Code requirements for use as cladding".

This is to verify that the models that they certified are indeed compliant.

The authority will also direct all qualified persons, such as consultants and engineers of various building projects here, to submit information about their CoCs to SCDF.

In addition, it is reviewing the fire safety regulations and certification processes relating to cladding "with a view to further tightening them", with the outcome slated to come next year, said SCDF.

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