Leaking water-pipe likely cause of ceiling collapse at Jem shopping centre: BCA
- POSTED: 19 Sep 2013 12:28
- UPDATED: 20 Sep 2013 00:04
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The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said a leaking water-pipe is the likely cause of the ceiling collapse at level one of the Jem shopping centre on Wednesday night.
SINGAPORE: A leaked water pipe was the likely cause of the ceiling collapse at the Jem Shopping Mall in Jurong East on Wednesday night.
This is according to engineers from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) who inspected the site on Thursday.
The mall has been closed till further notice.
Investigations found that water from a leaking pipe had collected on the false ceiling and its weight caused the ceiling to collapse. Three people suffered minor injuries.
Most of the water and debris had been cleaned up and a Jem spokesperon said repair works have begun.
Authorities said it might have been hard to spot the warning signs.
Teo Orh Hai, director of building plan and management group at BCA, said: "What we understand in this case, the false ceiling that was used was actually waterproof. Therefore, the water just accumulated above the ceiling without any tell-tale signs. When the water weight is heavy enough, the ceiling board will just give way."
BCA said the structural integrity of the building has not been compromised.
Located next to Jurong East MRT station, Jem is one of the newest shopping malls in the area and opened in June.
Authorities said the affected stretch on the mall's ground floor is 50 metres long and four metres wide.
Shoppers had mixed reactions about whether they would continue to shop at the mall.
The building management said comprehensive tests and checks are being carried out and that the mall will stay closed till it is satisfied the site is safe.
Some tenants have raised other concerns.
Store manager Dan Justin Peter said: "With the whole mall being closed, we're going to expect a lot of losses for all the companies. And furthermore, losses don't just mean how much of sales you've lost today, but lost in the long run. How many customers are going to be comfortable and trust the mall, the management, and come in to continue shopping because the fear for safety is still there."
Still, some tenants tried to make the best of the situation with some arriving early in the morning to move items that included perishables and even pets to other outlets.
Kaushalia Kathiravan, a retail assistant at Pet Lovers Centre, said: “We're actually changing them to other outlets nearby because they need to be fed everyday and taken care of."
Tenants said it is the first time since the mall opened in June this year that it has been shut fully following an incident.
Tenants said they don't mind the closure because ensuring that the mall is safe is most important to them to reassure customers about shopping here.
It is not the first time the mall has hit stumbling blocks. Two fires broke out at the mall just last month.