The Ministry of National Development has 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. Speaking in Parliament today, Desmond Lee who serves as second minister for MND said:

“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 added 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.”

He also said that the HDB has worked with the Renovation Contractors and Materials Suppliers Association (RCMA) to compile a list of contractors who charge reasonable rates that residents can engage on a private basis. He added that those who face financial difficulty may approach local Community Development Councils (CDCs) or grassroots leaders as there are schemes available to provide further assistance.