Experts believe that some of the old buildings in Singapore may be in need of fire-safety upgrades, reported The Straits Times.
Chan Kok Way, founder of SD Architects & Associates, said these buildings may have design issues like inadequate fire compartmentation that prevents fire from spreading as well as outdated automatic fire sprinkler systems.
The Fire Code, which was created in 1974 after the fire at the Robinsons Department Store killed nine, do not cover buildings constructed before 1974. These buildings were required to have fire safety retrofitting only if they had major renovations.
Nonetheless, some older Housing Board blocks had upgrades like installing dry risers on every floor, said The Institution of Engineers, Singapore former president Chong Kee Sen.
Despite this, experts feel that the implementation of such features may not be up to date due to factors like technical and cost constraints.
With this, Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, last month, revealed plans to require pre-1974 buildings to make fire-safety upgrades even as no major upgrading works are done.
Although he did not provide any timeline, some pre-1974 buildings have already taken action.
A building management spokesman at People’s Park Centre revealed that from “day one” they had been retrofitting the property with fire protection systems such as wet risers, an automatic fire sprinkler, a fire alarm system and a firemen lift. A fire safety contractor has also been employed to ensure that the features are in satisfactory condition, while an engineer tests and inspects them every year.
“As a mixed development project which comprises residential apartments, retail spaces and offices, all these fire suppression and warning systems are important and necessary,” added the spokesman.
This article was edited by Denise Djong.