A resident living at Block 690A Choa Chu Kang Crescent saw that the floor tiles at the HDB block’s lift lobby had become dislodged from the ground and had cracked after he heard a loud “popping” sound and went to investigate.
The resident, Hilary, shared online that the incident happened last Wednesday (21 Feb) evening around 7pm. Revealing that he has noticed minor cracks on the floor tiles since January this year, before the tiles suffered extensive damage last week, he added:
“This is a safety hazard for residents in the neighbourhood. Why would this happen at a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat? Is this a case of the workmanship or was it a tremor?”
Following this, a spokesman for the Marsiling Yew-Tee Town Council explained to reporters:
“In buildings, tiles do pop up due to a change in temperature, causing tiles to contract and expand. It can also be attributed to the building movement caused by dead load, live load or wind load. To sum up, there is a multitude of varied factors on how it can affect a 17-year-old structure’s tiles.
“Upon being notified of the situation, the Town Council had immediately engaged the conservancy workers to remove the loose tiles and barricaded the affected area of Blk 690A CCK Crescent. Rectification works are currently ongoing and the area will be fully reinstated by 26 Feb 2018. The works will be supervised and a quality check will be carried out after completion.”
This is not the first time HDB block residents have spotted tiles dislodging at their lift lobbies. Last month, a Yishun resident spotted some floor tiles at the lift landing of his block popping up. When the resident, local lecturer Mr Rahmat, returned home in the evening he found that the entire area had been barricaded.
Mr Rahmat saw migrant workers re-tiling the floor the next morning. When he enquired what the caused the tiles to pop up, the worker allegedly told him that it is due to “air gaps” and poor workmanship.
In parliament earlier this month, second minister for the Ministry of National Development Desmond Lee pointed to the unusually cold weather in January as the likely cause of increased cases where homeowners reported tiles suddenly dislodging or “popping” in HDB flats:
“This was likely due to the unusually cold weather over a prolonged period and temperature fluctuations. The weather changes could have caused the tiles and the substrate to contract and expand at different rates, resulting in the loss of adhesion between the tiles and the substrate.”
The Minister also asserted that almost half the reported cases involve tiles installed by homeowners during their own renovations. HDB offers goodwill repairs for popped or cracked tiles originally provided by HDB for up to 15 years but homeowners have to replace the tiles themselves after the 15-year period.
Lee said that HDB may help to remove and dispose of affected tiles even after the goodwill period:
“Nonetheless, HDB will do its best to assist, for example by helping the owners with the removal and disposal of the affected tiles and if necessary, laying protective sheets over the affected area.”