An HDB window has to be properly maintained to prevent it from falling. This could be potentially disastrous, especially if they fall from high floors. From January to November 2020, there were 49 cases of fallen windows!
Should your windows fall due to a lack of maintenance, you're potentially facing a jail term of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Before catastrophe occurs, HDB flat owners should do their due diligence and maintain their HDB windows.
In this guide, we look at ways to keep different HDB window types in good working condition.
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HDB Window Installation and Replacement
HDB window installations are no laughing matter. To ensure no one gets hurt from such HDB window installations, they need to be carried out safely in compliance with HDB’s safety requirements.
If you are installing or replacing new windows, make sure you engage a BCA-approved HDB window contractor listed on HDB’s directory. HDB also has a rather detailed list of requirements for works pertaining to different parts of the window.
For example, HDB requires only zinc casting corner brackets for the corners of a window leaf. For aluminium sliding windows, the sliding panel width should not exceed 1.2m.
You can head over to HDB’s website to view these detailed requirements.
Repairing and Maintaining an HDB Window
If you own or are living in an HDB flat, it is your responsibility to make sure your windows are well-maintained. Windows that are poorly maintained can risk falling off, seriously hurting passers-by below.
Three Common HDB Window Types
HDB flats typically have three types of windows:
Type of window
What is it
Windows, or part of a window, that open with the use of hinges, friction stays, or pivots
Windows that slide horizontally along a frame
Windows that come with fixed or adjustable panes
Aluminium Casement Windows
Replace cracked windows immediately
For casement windows, make sure that the rivets are not broken or rusty. Screws should also not be rusty or appear like they are about to fall off. A small mirror will come in handy to inspect the steel screws and rivets on the top and underside of the window panel. For friction stays, these should remain properly secured and unbent.
Here are some typical problems you may encounter with your casement windows:
Difficulty closing: This may happen because the friction stays are stiff. It’s also likely that the sliding track is obstructed due to dirt or other obstructions. Simply remove any dirt or debris, or apply lubricants to the sliding track and the window’s moving components. If you notice that any parts have become loose or appear to be missing, get a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to come down.
Cracked glass: Your window was probably hit by an object. Make sure you engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to replace the cracked panes.
Loose rubber gasket: The gasket may have loosened from prolonged exposure to the elements and repeated opening and shutting of the windows. To resolve this issue, simply push in the gasket so it remains tight in the window groove. If the gasket is broken or appears brittle, replace it and ensure it is fitted snugly into the inner frame of the glass.
Wooden Casement Windows
If the casement windows in your flat are wooden, you may have observed the following at one point or another:
The windows have started to sag
Certain parts have decayed
Hinges are loose and rusty
Louvres have detached
The above may occur due to wear and tear over time and exposure to weather elements. Make sure that you replace decaying or detached parts, tighten the screws for hinges, and replace any rusty or missing screws.
You can also engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to replace the entire window. Alternatively, you can seek HDB’s approval to replace the wooden casement window with aluminium casement windows if the window parts cannot be repaired.
Aluminium Sliding Windows
If you have aluminium sliding windows, always check to see if the entire window panel slides smoothly through the track. A problem commonly faced is that of the window panel running out of the track. This could be due to damaged or dislodged rollers caused by wear and tear. The safety stopper at the upper frame could also be loose or missing.
What you can do to remedy the situation is to tighten any loose track screws with a screwdriver. Alternatively, you can engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB to do the following:
Fix or replace the roller if it is damaged
Replace missing or rusty screws with new stainless steel screws
Replace loose or corroded rivets with new stainless steel screws
You may also encounter loosened rubber gaskets, cracked glass, or have window panels that can’t slide smoothly. These are also common problems faced with aluminium casement windows described earlier, and you can apply the same remedies.
Adjustable Louvred Windows
These windows are usually found in your flat’s toilets or kitchen. Check them to ensure that the locks for the levers work properly and that the glass panes are securely placed and uncracked. A common issue faced by flat owners is lock levers that are too tight.
This could arise because the window has remained in the same position for a long period of time. What you can do is simply apply some lubricant to the pivot joints.
Fixed Louvred Windows
Fixed louvred windows are usually found in your flat’s toilet. Check your timber louvred windows to make sure they are in good condition. If you notice that the paintwork for the timber frame has started to peel, apply a new coat of paint.
Also, make sure that the glass panes are secure and not cracked. If you need to replace the window or broken panes, engage a BCA-approved window contractor listed with HDB.
If you would like to know about HDB’s guidelines for works pertaining to windows and grilles, you can check out our article on HDB renovation permits. These guidelines cover things such as whether you require a permit to install Venetian blinds or to replace grilles at your service yard.
More FAQ on HDB Window Maintenance
Who Is Responsible for Maintaining Windows in HDB Dwellings?
Homeowners are responsible for maintaining your home's windows.
Can I Replace HDB Windows?
Yes but you have to get a renovation permit from HDB and ensure your replacement window falls within regulation. Make sure your contractor is BCA-approved.
How Thick is an HDB Window?
Casement windows ha.ve to be within 500 and 700mm; sliding windows have to be within 500 and 1200mm.
Who Is Liable If a Window Falls and Injures Someone?
Homeowners may be held liable. This is because the responsibilities fall on homeowners to ensure their HDB windows are in good condition
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