HDB to commission study to look into mould issues of Sengkang, Punggol flats

The study will look at why some blocks are more prone to mould and what can be done to fix the situation. PHOTOS: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Mould growth on Block 338D Anchorvale Crescent. ST PHOTO: RYAN CHIONG

SINGAPORE – The Housing Board will be commissioning an independent professional technical study to look into mould growth observed at Anchorvale Parkview in Sengkang and Matilda Court in Sumang Lane in Punggol.

The study, which is expected to take three to four months, will look at why some blocks are more prone to mould, what can be done to fix the situation and how to prevent a recurrence, said National Development Minister Desmond Lee in a written reply to parliamentary questions raised on Monday.

“Nonetheless, HDB has assessed that the mould growth observed in affected blocks does not affect structural components and poses no risks to the structural integrity of the building,” he added.

In January, Facebook users posted pictures online of mould-stained exteriors of flats in the area, even though the buildings were completed only between five and six years ago.

Sengkang resident “Jane Wendy” pointed out on Facebook that her flat had only recently hit its minimum occupation period of five years, but that the mould-streaked walls gave the blocks a “haunted house” appearance. The town council told her she would have to wait two years before the blocks get a fresh coat of paint.

Currently, newly completed HDB blocks that have been handed over to town councils for maintenance and management have a six-year warranty period for external painting to cover defects such as peeling paint, discolouration and mould.

The facades of all HDB developments are painted with one coat of water-based sealer and two coats of emulsion paint, which contains biocide that prohibits the growth of algae.

In response to Nominated MP Shahira Abdullah’s question about the health risk posed by the mould, Mr Lee said the mould on the facade would affect flat owners significantly less than if it were growing indoors.

“Nonetheless, the technical study mentioned will identify the species of mould found at Anchorvale Parkview and Matilda Court for further risk assessment,” he added.

Mould growth on Block 338D Anchorvale Crescent. ST PHOTO: RYAN CHIONG

Mr Lee said that the sealer and emulsion paint are commonly used in both private and public sector projects, and they comply with the Singapore Standards. Singapore Standards are nationally recognised specifications and procedures which cover the performance of materials and products, among other things.

The recommended schedule for town councils to carry out repair and redecoration works is seven years. However, Mr Lee said, town councils can start these works earlier or opt to defer them till a later time, depending on operational needs.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC) asked if the deterioration of HDB building facades could be attributed to changes in weather and climate conditions.

Mr Lee said that the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is conducting an impact study on how the changing climate and weather conditions affect the longevity and durability of the materials used for building facades. This will help the BCA pick better materials and develop best practices for building maintenance.

He added: “BCA will continue to review its requirements regularly to ensure that they are on a par with international standards and take into account the latest climate projections.”

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