20160925 Singapore: Falling down, broken, breakdown, falling to pieces

I refer to The Independent’s “External structure collapses at HDB block in Tampines” (photo below). It has become increasingly dangerous to live in our first world country.

This is an older block constructed about 3 decades ago by more reliable and skilled labour. What is to be expected of the newer flats which are mostly rushed jobs and constructed using questionable skilled labour?

There have been recent incidents such as one in July last year where a plaster slab measuring 1.5 m by 0.6 m fell from a height of 18 storeys. It came off the facade of a 17-year old HDB block in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4.

ST article

In December last year, a concrete slab measuring 3 m by 1.8 m fell from a pedestrian bridge. Fortunately, no one was injured. The ST article reporting the incident was all BCA and LTA wayang: there was no mention of accountability. Overhead bridges are assets belonging to LTA and the government is also indirectly the largest employer of foreign construction workers.

Although the supply of skilled construction workers is inelastic, PAP has somehow managed to find sufficient manpower from third world countries. What is worrying – many of them could have been only general workers sent for an expedited course for certification and recruited by private construction companies. If IDA could employ Nisha with a fake master’s degree, couldn’t LTA/HDB contractors have hired unqualified workers?

Besides building structures coming off, trees have also fallen down in record numbers.

Sinkholes which started to make their appearance a few years back were unheard of previously.

.

As Singapore ages, things have started to fall to pieces. Our broken CPF scheme (or maybe broke GIC?), an MRT system that’s constantly breaking down, to name a few.

Will our roads or even elevated expressways collapse? Will an entire building collapse one day? That a patched-up sink hole had collapsed is certainly no assurance there will not be bigger screw ups.

Built on a cheaperer = betterer foundation, Singapore is now a major disaster waiting to happen.

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8 Responses to 20160925 Singapore: Falling down, broken, breakdown, falling to pieces

  1. Confused says:

    From your pictures, the precast concrete sunshade could have a weight of easily close to 1000kg, and it was fixed on through steel bracket either by bolts and nuts or through site welding.

    The potential cause could be due to inferior treatment to the steel bracket and bolts and nuts against rusting which has rotten and gave way.

    Poor Welding workmanship by incompetent welders could be the other.

    Of course lack of proper supervision by the BCA legislated COW who maybe on the take cannot be ruled out.

    Nowadays, architects who are being very artistic will design buildings with a lot of fanciful features and engineers will design the detailing to complement the design requirements. However, as we are all aware, the Devils are all in the details when the builders are to actually build it when supervision is lacking though negligence of engineering design is remote but not totally impossible.

    I do agree with BCA there is no structure integrity issue to the whole building but surely there is very serious life threatening issue.

  2. wongcheokwan says:

    Coming soon –(1) Aircon units falling

    –(2) People burn to death in buses because

    they can’t break open the 14 windows using

    the 3 mini hammers provided. Who’s responsible

    to ensure exits are unlatched or unlocked in emergency?

  3. Phillip Ang says:

    The elites don’t care unless an accident kills one of them. 😦 Worse we will be made to pay for their mistakes, eg lift modernisation.

  4. Confused says:

    Managed to have a cleaerer look and it appeared that the connection is through built-in dowel bars/starter bars (or planted onto the cast insitu beams for ease of construction, at times) instead of steel bracketing connection I mentioned yesterday.

    As the method employed would likely be consistent throughout the whole project except in cases of overlook which would also mean lack of supervision and checking on the part of contractor and the C.O.W.

    It is therefore likely that the rest of the sunshades could be subjected to the same fate unless BCA’s investigation or appointed Professional Engineer(PE) is able to reveal and certify that that this is a one-off issue and it is therefore not alarming. Otherwise, you may see domino effects taking place soon if the same connections/joints were constructed throughout that building.

    Until and unless certified by PE, it may well be in the public’s interest to cordon off those affected areas as a prudent move.

  5. MrTang Tang says:

    The scariest scenario is when everyone wakes up to find all their CPF funds wired away and gone completely and no one knows who or which group of people are managing the money.

  6. wongcheokwan says:

    See the collapsed sunshade photo on ST 26 Sept.

    The collapsed part was not supported by a column, or beam,or brackets or rivets.

    It was only glued (or cemented ) to the building.So flimsy, unstable,unreliable.

    BUILDING AUTHORITIES should inspect buildings for such dangerous structures.

  7. Phillip Ang says:

    Public projects have been outsourced to foreigners and if you have been observant, you would have noticed foreign workers are without supervision most of the time. Rest assured, more problems will surface sooner or later.
    Foreign construction workers are a hardworking lot but we also need to complement this with adequate supervision.

  8. Pingback: Daily Post SG

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