Monday, 24 October 2011

HDB window retrofitting

Sers flats not exempted from window retrofitting: HDB
Letter from Heng-Ng Mien Joo Deputy Director (Projects & Development), Estate Administration & Property Department, Housing & Development Board
TODAY, Oct 24, 2011

We refer to Ms Goh Jen Loong's letter "More flexibility in retrofitting windows, please" (Oct 13), which asked about the need to retrofit the windows at her parents' flat after it was identified for the Selective En bloc Redevelopment Scheme.

Under the window retrofitting order issued on Oct 1, 2004, all home owners were required to retrofit casement windows with aluminium rivets by Sept 30, 2005. Hence, all residents, including those whose flats are announced for Sers, should have already done so.

Failure to comply is an offence, with a maximum penalty of a S$5,000 fine and/or a six-month imprisonment.

Sers flats are vacated progressively. Some windows of vacated flats may need to be opened occasionally while some residents are still living there. Hence, in the interest of public safety, we seek Ms Goh's understanding on the need to retrofit the windows.

It involves the replacement of aluminium rivets with stainless steel rivets. There is no need to replace the whole window.

More flexibility in retrofitting windows, please
Letter from Goh Jen Loong
TODAY, Oct 13, 2011

Some elderly homeowners may not have been aware of the Building Control (Retrofitting of Casement Windows) Order 2004 when it was passed that year.

My parents, whose flat is involved in the Selective En-bloc Redevelopment Scheme, now have to retrofit their casement windows after being notified of a joint inspection. In a phone query to the Housing and Development Board (HDB), we were told again to duly comply.

But the person we spoke to stumbled when asked what purpose it would serve to replace aluminium rivets holding the casement windows in place, if the building is going to be demolished or redeveloped.

It just means that a handful of owners would pay around S$150 for work that will go to waste in a few months' time when the building is barricaded.

However, the HDB has held back a sum of money owed, indirectly forcing such homeowners to retrofit the casement windows before the balance payment is released.

Fines of up to S$5,000 may be imposed on owners who fail to comply with the regulations before the joint inspection date.

We understand the importance of such retrofitting as a safety precaution against windows falling from height. But it is a waste of money and effort to retrofit a window that is going to be torn down.

I hope the HDB could clarify why there is a need for retrofitting in such scenarios. I believe there should be flexibility in such cases.

* I find it incredulous the reader feels no guilt or remorse for failing to retrofit the windows required by law all these years and placed the lives of innocent people at risk. Shouldn't he or the actual owners be slapped with a fine?

Not all SERS flats are demolished, they could be used as rental flats in the interim before the area is re-developed.

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