HDB facade in Circuit Road falls off
HDB says block still structurally safe, inspections to be done at other blocks with similar design
She heard the loud crash, peered out her window and saw, to her horror, that a piece of her neighbouring block's building facade had fallen and crashed to the ground below.
"I was shocked to see a missing slab of wall on the block opposite. Luckily, it happened quite early in the morning and no one was hit.
"How can a slab of wall fall off just like that?" the resident, who wanted to be known as Madam Ng, 65, told The New Paper yesterday.
The incident happened at about 6am on Wednesday at Block 51, Circuit Road.
In response to TNP's queries, a Marine Parade Town Council (MPTC) spokesman said a calcium silicate cladding board had dislodged from the building facade.The precinct last went through repairs and redecoration works - which include block facade improvements and fresh coats of paint - two years ago.
What that section looks like on another block with a similar design. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
The MPTC spokesman said: "Together with the BCA (Building and Construction Authority), HDB and our appointed professional engineer, we are investigating the cause of the incident."
MPTC has since carried out joint inspections with the BCA and HDB to inspect the entire facade of the affected block, as well as other neighbouring blocks with similar designs.
As a precautionary measure, BCA has directed MPTC to cordon off the affected area under Block 51, Circuit Road, its spokesman said.
Adding that the block's structural integrity is unaffected, the BCA spokesman said: "The professional engineer will also be required to inspect other blocks within the precinct with similar features."
The Circuit Road incident comes less than a month after a concrete sunshade outside a fourth-storey Tampines flat fell off and landed on another sunshade on the third floor.
No one was hurt and the cause is being investigated. The affected four-storey building has been found to be structurally safe by HDB engineers.
Debris on the ground from the fallen piece of calcium silicate cladding board. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
But Circuit Road resident Gary Lim, 34, a sales manager, pointed out that the dislodged calcium silicate board could have hit someone. "This estate has many elderly residents. They may not be able to walk away fast enough to avoid any falling objects. It's dangerous," he said.
Engineer Chong Kee Sentold TNP that the board facade, which is not part of the building structure, could have fallen off due to its age.
"Like all materials, it could have aged with time," said the former president of the Institution of Engineers.
The board facade is made from calcium silicate, which is fireproof and moisture-proof.
This means that even when exposed to moisture, there is no permanent loss in strength of the material as long as the moisture dries out.
Another possible reason for the dislodged calcium silicate board could be the corrosion of the fasteners that hold the board to the metal frames, Mr Chong added.