In the development of a property, the facade of the building is usually the most significant aspect from a layout perspective. It has the role of setting the tone for the entire development. From the engineering standpoint of a building or development, the facade also has a great importance because of the impact on energy level efficiency.

The government plans to introduce the stricter policy in terms of building facades that require building managers to handle a regular checkup on cladding, windows and other outer features.

Industry developers reported to The Strait Times that they preparing to embrace the latest legislative framework that needs a consistent meticulous full -scale physical evaluation as well as close monitoring of the facades.

Either Binoculars or aerial drones from distant position are the ones being used for visual inspection, while at close range inspection needs a qualified person ( QP) to overlook evaluation of facade problems or flaws.

The recommended policy was discussed during the conference of Glasstech Asia and Fenestration Asia 2017  at Marina Bay Sands and a track to accredit “facade inspectors” – a set of certified persons that are not yet given the chance for their capability in the industry. The course was held around Building and Construction Authority Academy.

At present, there has no government policy that existed for building managers to check the defects, flaws and inefficiency of their buildings. This is the scenario where various defective facades critically need a prompt repair and replace.  Just for this month, there have been cases of the property where external features or cladding malfunctioned or drop off buildings.

When spoken with BCA it confirmed that they are reevaluating the regulatory framework that are bases for the inspection of building facades that will promote both general and property safety. It also revealed that in July, the course that use to raise information and well-functioning facade inspection will be started.

While waiting for the newest policy has yet to be disseminated, quite a number of building managers told that they are open to stricter rules and regulation. They stressed that because of various owners or managers opted for shortcuts due to the policies which made the owners accountable only during unexpected events such as the falling of panels on the passerby.

He further added that more building managers or property owners are disappointed and instead took the risk because it entails huge amount to check and solve facade problems.

Mr Mathieu Meur, the technical director of DP Architects sponsored the latest course for BCA facade inspection and favoured existing practices gives more impact: “The public’s attitude is to wait until undesirable happened before taking action to check and solve some issues. The new policy aims to change that scenario by doing a regular inspection and follow up of the facade as a strict compliance.”

The majority are warned but inspections alone is not the silver bullet as a facade remedy.

For instance, in a situation of fire capacity of a particular external cladding material, the effective strategy to evaluate them is via test samples from each building. ST knows that using panels of aluminium composite are presently being investigated by the Singapore Civil Defence Force in line with the incident which took one life at Toh Guan Road earlier month of 2017. The fire reportedly spread all throughout different floor levels through an external cladding of the building.

Conclusively, the industry experts claimed that more people need to be informed that the facade of a building is not as powerful as the building itself.

Gary Lee, the development manager of  Singapore’s Safety Glass issues with aid, ” Facility managers are not aware that there is an  existing issue in those facades built because they did not bother to examine and if ever they did, they don’t have the expertise to  identify the standard facade and the issues right in front of them. Buildings are intended to last for the longest time, like 99 years but facade facilities live only for about a decade or on manufacturer’s guarantee.

 

THE RECORDED PUBLIC SAFETY INCIDENTS INVOLVING FACADES

2011: Lawsuit on Seaview Condominium

The property’s management corporation on behalf of the residents, indicted the property developer for problems in the communal areas, the foul-smelling odour, the cracked swimming pool tiles and falling of debris. An example of which is the falling of a metal trellis structure of the roof which hit the swimming pool area, the resident testified.

2016: Falling off Cladding board right at Circuit Road HDB

A cladding board which have the component of calcium silicate fell down at Block 51, Circuit Road. The investigation led by Marie Parade Town Council discovered later that there was a loose connection in the screws in some claddings of the property.

2016: Dropping off of plaster at Hougang HDB

A slab made of plastic dislodged and hit the ground at Hougang Avenue 10, block 449. The council of Ang Mo Kio Town discovered that the slab loosened because of exposure to the different kinds of weather.

2016: Dislodged heavy sunshade over Tampines HDB

A solid part of level four of Block 201E, Tampines Street 23 was dislodged and hit on another sunshade under it. The investigation came that there was the absence of reinforcement bars on one side, good thing, no one was injured.

2016: Cradels Condominium “Waterfall.”

A blocked drain in one of the Balestier’s condominium infinity pool yields to a build-up of water, thus breaking few of the glass panels over pool’s facade. This lead to a sudden outpouring of water to the carpark area.

2017: Aluminum panels fall off at Indus Road HDB

A set of aluminium panels fell off the outer of the Block 77, Indus Road. The whole block was cordon so do with the two neighbouring blocks with same panels. There was no injury reported.

2017: Defect or due to lightning?

A piece of debris fell down from the skyscraper Trivelis Condominium, a Design, Build and Sell Scheme development around Clementi, hit the playground. Good to know, no one was injured. But developers charge it to nature, saying that it was caused by lightning but it opposed by the Town Council of Holland- Bukit Panjang.

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