Singapore

Water build-up led to cinema air duct collapse: BCA

The collapse of a ventilation duct in a Nex mall cinema in August was due to a "significant amount of water" accumulating in the insulation material surrounding the duct.

This was the finding of a probe following the Aug 30 incident at a Shaw Theatres cinema hall that left two moviegoers injured, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday.

The water accumulation was a result of "unforeseen excessive condensation over a sustained period", and its weight had overloaded the air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation (ACMV) dropper duct.

This overloaded the brackets supporting the ACMV duct, causing it to give way.

The acoustic material surrounding the duct typically serves to regulate the surface temperature around it to prevent water from forming due to condensation, and to insulate the noise caused by air travelling through it.

Checks on other cinemas' systems and ducts found no such excessive condensation, said BCA.

RECTIFICATIONS

A spokesman for Nex, which is owned and managed by Gold Ridge, said in a statement yesterday that it will "continue to support and work closely with (its) tenant, Shaw Theatres, throughout the course of rectifications for the planned reopening of their premises next year".

It did not say if checks on other ACMV ducts in the building will be conducted.

Shaw Theatres yesterday said it will work with Gold Ridge to carry out the necessary rectification works to ensure such an incident will not happen again.

Building owners are responsible by law to maintain their buildings, including interior fixtures.

Shaw Theatres said it is targeting to reopen its Nex cinema outlet next April. It had conducted inspections at its six cineplexes following the incident, and all were found to be safe.

BCA added that it will be issuing an advisory to building owners and the industry on the importance of regular maintenance and to share good practices for the design and installation of ACMV systems. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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