SINGAPORE: There were 49 cases of fallen windows across Singapore between January and November this year, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said in a joint media release with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Friday (Dec 11).
Thirty-two of these involved casement windows, or windows with a side that is hinged to a frame.
Sixteen cases were of fallen sliding windows, while the remaining incident involved louvre windows or those with horizontal panels.
No injuries were reported from these incidents, said the agencies.
The number of cases reported in the first 11 months of this year is not far from the 51 incidents in the whole of 2019.
“Over the past few years, the number of fallen window cases we see yearly remains at about 50 cases. While there has not been an increase in numbers, there has also not been any improvement," said BCA’s director of facade engineering and technology department Lee Chee Weye.
BCA said the key causes of fallen casement windows included corrosion in aluminium rivets in casement window fittings. "Corrosion compromises the strength of the rivets, rendering it unable to hold the casement window panels firmly in place," said the agency.
Since 2004, a retrofitting order issued by BCA requires home owners to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel ones.
In the case of fallen sliding windows, investigations showed that there was a lack of proper safety stoppers and angle strips to keep panels within the tracks.
"Sliding window panels without these safety features in place detached and fell when homeowners applied excessive outward force in opening or closing the windows," BCA added.
Home owners can face a penalty of up to S$5,000 and/or a jail term of up to six months for failing to replace all aluminium rivets in casement windows with stainless steel ones.
In cases of fallen windows due to lack of maintenance, home owners can face a fine of up to S$10,000 and/or a jail term of up to a year.
Since 2006, 378 people have been fined and 92 people prosecuted for fallen windows, noted the authorities.
"The risk of injury from falling windows is high and is not a trivial matter," the agencies said, adding that home owners and occupants should check and maintain their windows regularly.