Number of fallen windows has increased

The number of fallen windows has gone up. 

As of last month, 67 cases were reported, compared to 50, in 2010. 

Since 2010, there's been an average increase of 8 to 9 cases per year. There were 50 cases in 2010, 58 cases in 2011.

The spike in numbers is largely due to fallen casement windows - the result of corroded aluminium rivets. 

There were 37 cases reported between January and November - the highest number reported, over the past six years. 

Authorities recently inspected 100 units in Jurong and Jalan Rajah. 

They found that 12 units had not retrofitted their casement windows, with stainless steel rivets. 

The home owners were issued fines. 

The Building Construction Authority or BCA said it would continue to reinforce the importance of window safety through enforcement actions and window inspections at private and HDB estates, as well as educating homeowners on window maintenance tips through its roving exhibitions and the Windows Safety Campaign. 

BCA also advised that for casement windows, homeowners should ensure that all rivets are changed from aluminium to stainless steel, check that the fasteners are not rusty or loose, as well as regularly clean and lubricate joints or movable parts. 

For sliding windows, BCA said homeowners should check that the safety stoppers and angle strips are in place and not damaged, and change any worn-out safety stoppers and angle strips. They should also clean the tracks and ensure that the window panels can slide smoothly.

The penalty for not replacing the aluminium rivets is a term jail of up to six months and a fine of up to S$5,000 under the Retrofitting Order under the Building Control Act. If a window falls due to lack of maintenance, homeowners face up to a maximum fine of $10,000 and or a jail term of up to one year under the Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act. 

Senior Associate Engineer at Building and Construction Authority, Alan Ng, says such windows are dangerous, especially in highly populated Singapore. 

"As we are staying in a highly-dense built environment such that a window that falls from height is very dangerous to a passer-by underneath and cause injury or even fatality to the passer-by. Hence, window safety is very important to everybody. So in the past cases we've seen, some passers-by were injured by the splinters of fallen windows."