'We could have died,' says mother of three after 100kg false ceiling crashes down onto beds

Madam Wendy Liu's master bedroom's false ceiling had detached and collapsed on June 8, 2022. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SINGAPORE - A woman who rushed home after the family's maid told her that the master bedroom's false ceiling had collapsed said she was traumatised after seeing the aftermath.

The structure - estimated to weigh more than 100kg - had detached from its holdings and collapsed onto a king-size bed and a single bed next to it, said Madam Wendy Liu, 40, who runs a fertility wellness centre.

"We could have died. Normally at this time in the evening, I would be playing with my three sons on the bed.

"I'm still haunted by the thought of my sons being crushed by the false ceiling."

Unlike most days, the family was at a playground near their four-room Housing Board flat at Dawson Road in Queenstown when the incident took place on Wednesday evening (June 8).

Speaking to The Straits Times on Thursday, Madam Liu said she and her husband, Mr Vincent Chang, had gone to the playground to take photographs of their sons, aged one, two and eight.

While there, she received a text message from her maid, who was at home, telling her that the false ceiling had collapsed and asking her to return home immediately.

Madam Liu said the structure that made up the false ceiling contained metal bars and lights.

It was larger than the king-size bed, on which she sleeps with her husband and their two younger sons, and the single bed next to it used by her eldest son.

The structure also narrowly missed the crib, in which she sometimes places the baby.

The family has been living in the flat for five years and renovated it in January this year. The false ceiling was installed at that time.

"I wanted a more cosy space so we could sleep together as a family. So we hacked down a wall to combine another room with the master bedroom," said Madam Liu.

Her husband, who is self-employed, inspected the collapsed structure and believes he has identified a likely cause of the incident.

She said: "The structure was very heavy, but was supported by only four small screws."

Madam Liu said that SR Tech Engineering, the contractor which carried out the renovation, has arranged to put up her family at a hotel for several days while it fixes the damage in the flat. It has also offered to pay $1,600 in compensation.

"The other part of the bedroom also has a false ceiling installed. For our safety, we will remove it so that this does not happen again," said Madam Liu.

She added that she expects it would take another week before the debris is cleared from the bedroom.

"We have a home but we can't go back to it," she said.

The flat in which the family has been living for five years was renovated in January, and the false ceiling was installed then. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

According to the HDB's guidelines, the installation of false ceilings during renovation does not require a permit.

On its website, HDB said home owners looking to carry out renovation works can search for a contractor from its Directory of Renovation Contractors using its e-Services link.

It added that engaging a listed contractor is a private arrangement between the home owner and the contractor which HDB is not privy to.

The contractor is fully responsible for the contractual obligations towards its client, including the quality of its works.

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