Two dozen Singapore buildings fail fire safety checks

Non-regulation cladding panels may affect buildings’ fire coverage, says insurers

Two dozen Singapore buildings fail fire safety checks

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A month after the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) announced that 41 buildings may not meet fire safety standards, tests have revealed that 24 buildings so far have been discovered with substandard external cladding.

The tests were made to determine whether the buildings are safe for occupancy. If a building’s cladding does not meet the highest category, Class 0, then these panels must be dismantled.

Guoco Tower, Singapore’s tallest building, was among three buildings that opted to remove their external cladding despite not being tested, reported the Straits Times.

Having substandard panels also has a bearing on a building’s fire insurance coverage. If a building promptly removes the affected panels, then they will be exempt from premium hikes or slashing of coverage, according to insurers.

“The immediate action taken by SCDF to work with building owners to rectify the situation within two months helps to ensure safe and secure homes and work environments in the longer terms,” a spokesman of the General Insurance Association of Singapore was quoted by ST.

Meanwhile, a representative of Aviva added that the insurance coverage of private homes that use non-regulation cladding could also be affected if they are not removed or replaced.

“If they know they are at risk and refuse to do anything about it, it's possible that an insurer can decline the claim because of lack of due diligence,” the spokesman said.

Chip Soon Aluminium, the company that distributed the faulty cladding panels, has removed the product from the market, but several building sub-contractors have reportedly demanded refunds or withheld payment for unsold panels.

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