terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Are We On About This Again?

This was in the Forum Pages of the Straits Times today.

And since the Interactive Straits Times doesn't believe in archives of news older than four days, I'll put some of the pertinent points of this 'article' here:



HDB designs and installs its windows according to the prevailing industry standard for windows set by Spring Singapore. The standard concerned is the Singapore Standard SS 212 entitled 'Specifications for Aluminium Alloy Window'. Clause 4.5 of SS 212: 1988, which was cited by the writer, specifically allowed the use of either aluminium or stainless-steel fasteners, such as screws and rivets, to install windows.

In the preparation of the standard, reference was also made to prevailing international standards such as the British Standard BS 4873 set in 1986 and the New Zealand Standard NZ 3504 set in 1979. Both these standards allowed the use of either stainless-steel or aluminium fasteners.

The use of aluminium rivets by HDB for installing windows had therefore complied fully with the prevailing industry standard, not just in Singapore but also internationally. There is therefore no design deficiency on the part of HDB.


While stainless-steel rivets are generally more corrosion-resistant than aluminium ones, it does not mean that aluminium rivets are inherently unsafe or that stainless-steel ones will last forever. Windows fitted with aluminium rivets are safe if flat-owners maintain them regularly, e.g. by replacing corroded or missing rivets. Stainless-steel rivets can still corrode after exposure to the elements and become unsafe over time.

Under the terms of the lease, HDB flat-owners are responsible for maintaining their windows in good working condition. Nevertheless, to improve the safety of their windows, HDB will co-share half of the cost of replacing the aluminium rivets with stainless-steel ones for HDB-installed windows, on a goodwill basis.

No, no design deficiency on the part of the provider of public housing in Singapore. Only confirmation of what I'd said in my previous post on the subject, you made the cheap choice. Because, gasp!, the standards quoted allowed the use of stainless steel fasteners on windows, but the choice was aluminium anyway.

And for that, we are now paying for half of the replacement costs of said rivets, as a goodwill gesture, and not the full price? Wow. Is that supposed to make me happy?

What gets me? In the same article, the civil service stooge says: Windows are subject to constant wear and tear. The lifespan of a window depends on several factors - its design and material, and regular and proper maintenance and repair.

Uh, right: We want our windows to last, so we choose the material that's less-durable and more subject to corrosion, and when things start falling apart, we'll show our goodwill by footing half the bill?


I think people would be complaining less if the rivets were stainless steel to begin with (we didn't have a say in the materials that go into the building of our flats in the first place -- trust was implicit in that the 'proper authorities' would make the right decisions and choose the best materials). Then, when you slap someone with [half] a bill to replace wonky rivets, she doesn't get to complain about it because you'd already used the stronger material to begin with.

Again, boys and girls, let's Live. With. It.


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