Singapore

Buildings built before 1974 may need fire-safety upgrade

In light of a deadly tower fire in west London last month, the authorities here are reviewing legislative amendments to require some old buildings in Singapore to perform fire-safety upgrades.

These apply to buildings that were constructed before 1974 and have not had any upgrading works.

The amendments would require these buildings to meet fire-safety rules, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam in a written reply on Monday.

Last Friday, it was announced that 149 high-rise buildings in Britain failed fire-safety tests that were carried out after the June 14 fire in Grenfell Tower.

The failed tests related to the use of cladding - typically applied on external walls of buildings for weather protection or aesthetics.

Addressing MPs' concerns, Mr Shanmugam said with the Fire Code introduced in 1974, all buildings have been required to use cladding of only Class 0 standard. This means when ignited, the fire will not spread along the surface.

He added that old buildings built with non-compliant cladding, including Housing Board blocks built in the 1970s, would also have had to comply with the Fire Code once they carried out alteration and addition works.

Elaborating on current rules, Mr Shanmugam said all high-rise buildings here - above 24m in height and about eight to 10 storeys high - are required to have added fire-safety provisions such as fire lifts. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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