New SCDF rec­om­men­da­tions on cladding to im­prove safety

The New Paper - - NEWS - DAVID SUN

New rules re­gard­ing cladding look set to be in­tro­duced next year.

Yes­ter­day, the Sin­ga­pore Civil De­fence Force (SCDF) re­leased four key rec­om­men­da­tions to im­prove the cur­rent us­age and ap­proval of com­pos­ite pan­els.

These in­clude tight­en­ing the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion re­quire­ments, re­quir­ing crit­i­cal in­for­ma­tion to be em­bossed on ev­ery panel, and amend­ing the Fire Safety Act to make it an of­fence to use non-com­pli­ant prod­ucts and ma­te­ri­als.

It was also rec­om­mended that stake­hold­ers un­der­stand the reg­u­la­tions bet­ter.

The rec­om­men­da­tions come af­ter a fire at an in­dus­trial build­ing at 30 Toh Guan Road last year in which a 54-year-old woman died.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions re­vealed noncompliant cladding was used, trig­ger­ing an ex­ten­sive re­view of build­ings is­land­wide.

SCDF iden­ti­fied a to­tal of 60 build­ings with non-com­pli­ant cladding, out of which 45 have since com­pletely re­moved the cladding.

The re­main­ing 15 build­ings are in the process of re­mov­ing the cladding, and all re­moval works are ex­pected to be com­pleted by Au­gust next year.

The 13-mem­ber Cladding Reg­u­la­tory Regime Re­view Ad­vi­sory Panel was con­vened in Fe­bru­ary, and con­cluded their work in Septem­ber, hav­ing re­viewed the lat­est rec­om­men­da­tions by the SCDF.

If im­ple­mented, only lo­cal­lyreg­is­tered com­pa­nies can sup­ply ap­proved cladding in Sin­ga­pore. This would en­able the SCDF to take ac­tion against those com­pa­nies who sup­ply non-com­pli­ant prod­ucts here.

Over­seas com­pa­nies will still be able to sup­ply fire safety prod­ucts to the Sin­ga­pore mar­ket, but will have to do so through a lo­cal dis­trib­u­tor.

Test­ing of sam­ples from ev­ery new project site will also be manda­tory, as site test­ing is a strong de­ter­rence against the use of non-com­pli­ant cladding.

Speak­ing to the me­dia yes­ter­day, Law and Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter K Shan­mugam said: “Check­ing the build­ings, chang­ing the pan­els is one as­pect, but let’s look at how it hap­pened. Look at our pro­cesses, re­view them, look at the fire safety reg­u­la­tions and the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process.”

He added: “That panel has made a num­ber of rec­om­men­da­tions. We will adopt them, we will put them through leg­is­la­tion by the first half of next year.”

david­sun@sph.com.sg

PHOTO: MARK CHEONG TNP

Mr K Shan­mugam said there is a need to en­sure only ap­proved cladding be used.

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