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Large cracks in Jalan Besar shophouse pillars but engineers say building is safe

The condition of the facade of the building at 45, Syed Alwi Road, sparks concern among members of the public

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Singapore — Large cracks are visible across 10 pillars at an old shophouse in the Jalan Besar area but at least two engineers say it is safe.

The condition of the facade of the building at 45, Syed Alwi Road, has sparked concern among members of the public, according to a report in the Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Wanbao on Thursday (Dec 10). It noted that parts of the building appear to have shifted at 4 of the 10 affected columns.

A Wanbao reader who wished to remain anonymous said he had contacted the police on two occasions about the cracks out of concern for the safety of the public. The building has a convenience store, a restaurant and a dormitory.

The police had informed the reader that they had contacted the relevant authorities after  initial inspections.

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In a straitstimes.com report on Dec 10, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) gave the assurance that the cracks or shifting do not compromise the overall safety of the building. They had advised the building owner to consult a professional engineer (PE) last month.

The PE confirmed that the cracks do not affect the structural integrity of the building. Another engineer was also sent by BCA to inspect the building and had the same findings.

“The defects are likely to be caused by differential settlement between the building and the five-foot-way which are supported on different foundation systems. The building owner will be carrying out rectification works as recommended by his PE,” said the BCA engineer in a tnp.sg report on Friday (Dec 11).

Meanwhile, an employee of the convenience store has said that the cracks appeared about two years ago and that a small piece of cement appeared to have fallen from a pillar last month. “Fortunately, no one was hit,” said the employee.

The owner of the J Bistro restaurant, Mr John Chong, presumes the repeated road work in the area may have caused the underneath soil to move, thus creating cracks in the pillars. Mr Chong’s family owns the building. /TISG

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