Home Affairs Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Sun Xueling, affirmed that Management Corporation Strata Titles (MCST) were responsible to ensure that all fire safety measures, including fire hose reels in condominiums are fully functional to handle emergencies, noting that this is stated under the Fire Safety Act 1993.
Ms Sun was responding to Ms Cheryl Chan Wei Ling, MP for Fengshan, during the parliamentary question time on Monday (3 Feb).
Miss Chan has posed two questions regarding fire safety measures. She raised issues with the functionality of fire hose points in condominiums as well as the inspection and testing done by third parties and the liabilities of MCST in the event of non-functionality of emergency systems.
Ms Sun said MCST is required to appoint professional engineers to audit the fire safety measures as part of the annual renewal of the building’s fire certificate.
This is a crucial step as condominiums pose fire safety risks, especially those with more than 24 meters of habitable height. Such condominiums need to install fire protection systems that conform to requirements as set out in the act.
Though audits are done by professionals, the MCST are still held accountable for and safety feature which is found to be non-functional.
The Minister elaborated further that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will also conduct safety inspection in response to feedback that is received.
Last year, during a fire at the Block 120A Bukit Batok Street 21, SCDF fire fighters were unable to use the hose reels. The hose reel boxes were padlocked and there was no water supply to the hose reel when the fire fighters managed to access it.
The Jurong-Clementi Town Council’s investigations revealed that the contractors were negligent in ensuring that a selector switch in the pump room was in the correct mode.
But the contracted company had however signed false statements to show that the hose reels were in working condition.
However, on the same issue in a supplementary question, Ms Chan asserted that the MCST are staffed by volunteers and they do not have professional expertise to know whether inspections are carried out thoroughly and accurately.
Answering on behalf of the Ministry, Ms Sun concluded that the SCDF will issue a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice to MCST if they are found to be in violation of fire safety measures. It is only an offence when MCST does not rectify faults outlined in the Fire Hazard Abatement Notice, she added.