Views

Your views: Bad workmanship to blame for building incidents?

Your views

I am concerned by recent reports of cracks appearing in the walls of buildings, and of plaster cladding detaching and falling from heights ("Heed tell-tale signs of wall cracks", Dec 21; and "Plaster slab falls from HDB block in Hougang", Nov 29, The Straits Times).

While these incidents do not necessarily indicate loss of structural integrity, they suggest poor workmanship.

For instance, plaster applied to the side of a building uses an adhesive known as render - a mix of sand, cement and water - which, when properly applied and hardened, allows the plaster to become an integral part of the surface.

If contractors were to use a substandard mix, the resulting mixture would not convert to render but, as described by chartered building surveyor Peter Fall, will remain as "sand and cement failing to stick to the block".

If workers have not been conscientious in fashioning the facade of a structure, it is not a stretch to surmise that other parts of construction may have been compromised.

Erecting the structures that people live and work in is a task that demands professionalism and attention to detail.

Builders must adhere strictly to the building and construction codes, maintain a minimum standard of workmanship, and introduce quality-control measures.

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