News Summary: ‘Sun Breaker’ dangling dangerously from Tampines HDB unit

A portion of concrete from HDB block 201E called a “Sun Breaker” along Tampines Street 23 was removed because it became detached and was dangling dangerously from the main structure. Fortunately, there was no injury resulting from this incident. The Sun Breaker’s purpose was to act as a sun shield for a unit on the fourth storey of the HDB block.

Building & Construction Authority (BCA) to Investigate

The MP for Tampines GRC has stated that an engineer and a safety officer was called to assess the situation because the building owner of the HDB block, Tampines Town Council, was directed by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to engage a professional engineer whose purpose is to advise on the necessary measures to remove the Sun Breaker, execute a detailed investigation into the incident, and recommend permanent rectification works. Accordingly, the professional engineer reported that the structural integrity of the HDB block is unaffected by the incident.

Structural Integrity questioned

Notably, a Sun Breaker on the third floor was also damaged when the Sun Breaker on the fourth floor became detached but the MP said that the Sun Breaker will “unlikely” be removed because it’s structural integrity is still relatively acceptable and would be removed the following week.

In addition, the BCA has stated that as an added safety precaution, the professional engineer is required to inspect the other HDB blocks within the area with similar architectural facades.

The HDB also said that the Sun Breaker is “non-structural in nature and will not affect the building’s structural integrity”. Nevertheless, a HDB officer has been called to check the internal structure of the owner of the affected unit.

Opinion & Views about the Incident

An Unfortunate & Isolated Issue

It is relatively rare to come across similar cases where a portion of the concrete structure of a HDB block becomes detached. While there have been no follow-up news on the cause of the Sun Breaker being detached in the present case, this could be seen as an isolated issue and it was truly unfortunate that it occurred. This is a true testament to Murphy’s Law that any thing that can go wrong, could go wrong.

Quick Action by the Authorities

Moreover, the responsiveness and the actions undertaken by the relevant authorities shows that the likelihood of such incidents recurring is very low and their efforts are truly commendable. Given that the majority of Singaporeans live in HDB blocks, it is important that such actions are taken because it instills confidence and gives assurance to the masses that such incidents would not occur again and that in the event that it does, the authorities are equipped to deal with it.

Finally, it should be noted that it is sheer luck that there was neither any injuries or casualties incurred during the incident. This incident is a good reminder that we should not only be aware of our surroundings at ground level but we should also be aware of the surroundings above us because accidents always occur when we least expect it.