Domestic Helper Wanted To Clean Toilet Bowl, Almost Dies Because Of Spalling Concrete
There are many situations in life when we narrowly escape death by just a few seconds. Some are fortunate enough to take a step back just as a car whizzes by.
Just as she wanted to clean the toilet bowl, a huge slab of concrete broke off the ceiling and smashed it.
Concrete slab weighed around 10kg
On Wednesday (26 Jan), Mr Alan Fu received a worrying message from the domestic worker in his elderly father’s flat.
She sent him pictures of the aftermath of the concrete falling — the porcelain of the toilet bowl was cracked.
Mr Fu estimated the concrete slab to be weighing around 10kg. It was also about 50cm in length.
Flat about 50 years old, spalling concrete normal
It is likely that the concrete broke off and fell due to the age of the flat, which was 50 years old.
HDB explains that spalling concrete is a common issue for such older flats. As time passes, carbonation occurs and the steel bars in the concrete slab corrode. This causes the concrete to “crack and bulge” and possibly fall.
It might also look like this:
Image for illustration purposes only
Liaising with HDB
Although Mr Fu initially contacted his town council, anything that happens within the flat falls under HDB.
The HDB team reportedly were unable to visit the flat on the day itself, but the town council’s Emergency Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU) team came at 8pm to survey the damage.
HDB eventually visited on 26 Feb at 10am. In addition, they offered a “goodwill” price where HDB would absorb half the cost of repairs. Mr Fu estimates that it will cost a few hundred dollars.
In the meantime, Mr Fu’s father and the other residents in the flat will have to use a public toilet, according to Today.
How to prevent concrete from spalling & who to call for repairs
HDB offers some tips on how you can prevent the concrete in your flat from spalling:
Paint ceilings regularly
Seal cracks and holes properly
Ensure there is sufficient ventilation
This steps are meant to slow down the carbonation process.
HDB also provides a non-exhaustive list of contractors you can look for to repair the concrete. You can check it out here.
Check your ceilings regularly
HDB reminds flat owners that the onus is on them to ensure the repair of any spalling concrete in their flat.
Thus, owners must be mindful and conduct their own checks from time to time.
We cannot take our safety for granted.
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