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Glass panels crashed in Whampoa Condominium (Source : Ms. Shuli Sudderudin/Straits Time)

Glass panels fall from fifth floor of condominium in Whampoa

Glass panels from the fifth floor of Cradels @ Whampoa, a condominium in Balestier Road crashed to the ground at 2.32 pm on July 8, fortunately no injuries were being reported.

Ms. Shuli Sudderudin, 31, who lives in a condominium beside the affected condominium, said that she heard a loud crash when she was at home. She went out from her house about half an hour later and heard a "small waterfall" noise which turned out to be water pouring out from the swimming pool at the fifth floor of the affected condominium.

"Water sprayed everywhere over the road in front. It was quite dramatic. I was standing there and people came rushing out and yelling and telling me not to stand there as another glass panel shattered," she said as cited by the Straits Time.

A Building Construction Authority (BCA) spokesman told ST: "Upon arriving at the site, BCA engineers found that a row of glass panels, that act as a safety barrier for a stretch of maintenance ledge on the outer edge of the swimming pool, had fallen off from the fifth floor.  The glass does not contain the water in the swimming pool.

"In the interest of public safety, BCA has directed the owner of the building to close the entire fifth storey and the affected area below the fallen glass panels.  The owner will be required to appoint a Professional Engineer to advise on the necessary precautionary measures to remove any danger, carry out a detailed investigation  assess the structural condition and recommend permanent rectification works.

"Under BCA’s building regulations, glass that is used as a safety barrier must be laminated glass and designed to withstand horizontal loading determined in accordance with prescribed standards. For infinity edge pools, the industry is required to incorporate reasonable safety measures in the infinity pool design to mitigate the risk of falling from height."

The Singapore Civil Defence Force said it was alerted to the incident at 2.32pm.

Defects in buildings are becoming quite a common occurrence in Singapore. In July 2015, residents of Centrale 8 in Tampines also reported about the numerous defects of the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) flat.  The DBSS's 708 three- to five-room flats were sold from $389,000 to $778,000.

The residents said in a statement that the problems were "systemic" and in need to reform in enforcement, penalties, and training. They urged for improvements in quality control and regulation standards. And for authorities to adopt more stringent enforcement measures, better training for construction and maintenance workers, as well as meting out harsher penalties for developers that deliver shoddy work.

"Businesses are profit driven, and unless there is a culture of ethical care and stewardship within society, penalties may be the only way to ensure such adherence until such culture becomes the norm," they said.