SINGAPORE — There were 35 cases of fallen windows from buildings in the first 11 months of this year and more than half of these, or 19 cases, involved casement windows.
The remaining 15 cases were of sliding windows, with one case being louvre windows.
There were no reported injuries in any of these incidents, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB) said in a joint press release on Tuesday (Dec 12).
This is an increase from the 33 cases reported in 2022. In 2022, there were 17 cases of falling windows involving casement windows, with 15 cases of sliding windows and one case with a louvre window, said a BCA spokesperson.
Casement windows swing out to the side and usually pivot from side hinges. Louvre windows have one or more glass panels lying on top of each other, which can be fixed or opened as pivoted slats.
BCA’s investigations of the reported cases showed that the main causes of the fallen casement windows from buildings were the corrosion and weakening of aluminium rivets, preventing casement windows from holding glass panels firmly in place.
Since 2004, BCA has mandated that owners replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel ones.
For sliding windows, it found that there was a lack of proper safety stoppers and angle strips, which ensure that window panels are kept within the tracks, to prevent dislodgements.
Without these safety features in place, the windows could become detached and fall when users apply excessive outward force while opening or closing them.
Owners are advised to check and ensure that these safety features are in place and replace any worn-out ones promptly.
BCA said that owners and occupiers can do their part by checking and maintaining their windows at least once every six months.
For owners with casement windows, they should check that:
Fasteners are not rusty or looseClean oil joints or moving partsChange all aluminium rivets to stainless steel ones by engaging an approved window contractor
In the case of sliding windows, they should check the following:
Safety stoppers and angle strips are in their proper placesClean the tracks to ensure window panels can slide smoothlyChange worn-out safety stoppers and angle strips by engaging an approved window contractor
Owners can be fined up to S$5,000 or be jailed up to six months, or both, for failing to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel rivets.
In addition, if a window falls from height due to a lack of maintenance, owners can be fined up to S$10,000 or be jailed for up to one year, or both.
Since 2006, 406 people have been fined and 94 people have been prosecuted for fallen windows.
Mr Thanabal Kaliannan, group director for building resilience and commissioner of building control engineer at BCA, said: “Fallen windows are safety hazards as Singapore not only has a dense built environment but also many high-rise buildings.
“Glass shards, falling from height, can cause serious injuries and lead to other serious consequences.
“To mitigate these risks, we encourage homeowners and occupiers to play their part by checking and maintaining their windows regularly. Together, we can keep our community and living environment safe.”