Large cracks at shophouse in Jalan Besar do not affect building safety, says BCA

According to the owner of the shophouse, cracks on the pillars started appearing after road construction works in 2014.
According to the owner of the shophouse, cracks on the pillars started appearing after road construction works in 2014.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Large cracks across 10 pillars at an old shophouse in Jalan Besar have caused passers-by to worry for their safety, compelling one person to make two police reports about the building.

Parts of the house at 45 Syed Alwi Road also appear to have shifted at four of these columns, Chinese evening newspaper Lianhe Wanbao reported on Thursday (Dec 10).

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a Building and Construction Authority (BCA) spokesman said on Thursday that the defects do not compromise the safety of the building.

They were likely caused by the "differential settlement between the building and the five-foot way, which are supported on different foundation systems", said the spokesman.

In November, BCA directed the building owner to engage a professional engineer (PE) to thoroughly inspect the building.

In their assessment, both the appointed PE and the BCA's engineer concluded that the cracks on the pillars did not affect the overall structural integrity of the building, said the authority.

BCA added that the building owner will also be carrying out rectification works as recommended by the PE.

A reader, who declined to be named, told Wanbao that he contacted the police twice because he was concerned about the safety of the shophouse, which has a convenience store and a restaurant on its ground floor as well as a hostel on the second floor.

He said that the police informed the relevant authorities after checking the place.

A 60-year-old convenience store assistant, who wanted to be known as Mr Luo, told Wanbao that he discovered the cracks around two years ago.

A customer also told him that she could see the shop house tilt from her flat, he added.

He said: "One month ago, I found a piece of limestone on the floor, which looked like it had broken off from the columns. Fortunately, it didn't land on anyone."


A BCA spokesman said the defects do not compromise the safety of the building. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

A female shop assistant added that she tries to leave quickly after work as she is unnerved by the cracks.

According to a male shopkeeper from a nearby store, the cracks appeared a few years ago. Renovation works were done to fix them. But, they reappeared shortly after, he said.

The 83-year-old owner of the house, who wanted to be known as Ms Lim, and her second son, Mr Zhang Jia Yuan, told Wanbao that the building was "as strong as rock" and had been examined by the authorities every five years.

According to Ms Lim, cracks on the pillars started appearing after road construction works in 2014, which led her to carry out repairs on the house three times.

One month ago, she contacted an engineer to check the house after being informed by the police that the public had reported the cracks.

Following a check by the professional engineer, Mr Zhang, 49, said he has submitted a repair plan for the house and is awaiting approval from the authorities.