Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Residents upset as glass panels shatter


Two cases last week in condo, which has seen 5 other incidents since 2005

The Straits Times
January 29, 2013

TWO more cases of large glass windows spontaneously shattering have upset residents at Costa Del Sol condominium.

On two separate occasions last week, large full-length windows - each about 2m high and 4m wide - at the condo in East Coast shattered, showering glass fragments on the ground. No one was hurt in either incident.

The Straits Times understands that this is not the first time windows at the 10-year-old condo have spontaneously shattered. Since 2005, there have been five other similar incidents.

Residents were sufficiently concerned about the issue that a special general meeting was called on Sunday.

The management committee told residents that the previous incidents were mostly due to impurities known as critical nickel sulphide (NiS) inclusions in the glass.

NiS inclusions are manufacturing impurities in glass. These impurities expand over a period of years, causing increased stress which eventually leads to the panel shattering.

NiS inclusions can be weeded out during manufacturing by a process known as heat soaking. Glass panels are heated and then cooled to force the impurities to expand. Any contaminated panels will shatter and thus be weeded out.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) requires heat soaking for all tempered glass for at least eight hours, to keep failure rates at below one panel in every 130 tonnes of glass.

Residents at the meeting were informed by the management committee that all glass at the condo met BCA standards.

It was also claimed that the number of breakages at the 906-unit development was not significantly above the average.

Three possible solutions to the problem were suggested - glass inspection, installation of safety film and replacing the windows with new panels.

However, as the developer is not required in this case to offer a solution, residents will have to pay the cost. Depending on unit size and the solution chosen, this could come up to between $390 and $4,136 per apartment.

Not all residents were mollified. One resident, who declined to be named, said: "This was so shocking. I heard it mentioned before but I always thought it was a scare story to keep kids away from the windows.

"I've never heard of this happening elsewhere. Now, we're upset and concerned for our safety."

Other condos have had similar problems before. In July last year, developer Centurion began installing safety film at Kovan Residences, at no cost to owners, following a spate of spontaneous window shattering incidents.


Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
Email: marshe_inc@yahoo.com.sg
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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