Condo fire safety is the responsibility of its management committee: Sun Xueling
Should a fire measure be found to be faulty, a fire hazard abatement notice will be served by SCDF.
The management committees of condominiums, also known as management corporation strata title (MCST), are responsible for maintaining the fire safety measures of their own residences, stated Sun Xueling in Parliament on Feb. 3, 2020.
Sun, the Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, said that as such, MCSTs are responsible for addressing any fire safety measure that is found to be “non-functional”.
Sun added, “Simply hiring a third party to inspect fire safety measures does not absolve the MCST from liabilities. ”
MCSTs must conduct an audit if their residence is above 24 metres
Sun’s was responding to a question by Member of Parliament (MP) Cheryl Chan about the frequency of SCDF audits on fire safety measures in condominiums.
Chan also asked about the extent of the liability that MCSTs bore, should they be found to be non-functional in emergencies.
Sun added that for condominiums with a habitable height of more than 24 metres, MCSTs are required to appoint professional engineers to conduct an audit of the fire safety measures, as part of the annual renewal of the building’s fire certificate.
Chan pointed out in a follow-up question that MCSTs might be unable to verify that the checks or audits were accurate as they were condominiums residents rather than professionals.
But Sun replied that a fire hazard abatement notice will be issued by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in the event a faulty fire safety measure is found.
Sun also noted that the SCDF also carries out inspections in response to feedback that they receive.
So what happens when a fire hazard abatement notice is served?
Sun explained that in this case, the notice allows for MCST to rectify the faulty measures in accordance with it.
An offence is considered to have taken place only if the faults that have been highlighted in the notice are not rectified.
“So even after they have done their checks, if they are found to have not done what they should’ve done, the SCDF check will actually give them a fire hazard abatement notice.
So they are able to rectify after the situation (of faulty measures) is found out.”
Fire at HDB block
Back in Nov. 2019, firefighters at Bukit Batok discovered that they could not use the hose reels at Block 120A Bukit Batok Street 21 during a fire, as they had been padlocked and lacked a water supply.
Jurong-Clementi Town Council investigated and found out that the contractor responsible for maintaining the hose reels did not ensure that a selector switch in the pump room had been put in the correct mode, according to CNA.
It also transpired that a property officer had locked the cabinets following “frequent vandalism”.
Top image screenshot from CNA