balcony safety in high rise condo

Installing a set of Window Grilles to ensure safety vs preserving the aesthetics of the external façade has always been an epic battle.  This conundrum has led to many instances of resentment and disputes between residents and Condo Management Offices in Singapore.  The latest one being that of Shelford Condominium where a resident installed balcony grilles notwithstanding the Condo’s Management Committee’s (MC) rules.

If you’re one of those who’s planning to have a set of grilles in your high rise Condo Unit then this post will help give some clarity.  And perhaps, put you in a better position for getting your mission accomplished without violating your Condo’s rules & regulations.

 

Know BCA’s stand on this matter

BCA directivesThe Building and Construction Authority (BCA) says the safety of children is paramount, especially where young children are involved.  And it’s a no-brainer….we cannot compromise safety and well-being at any cost.

A BCA spokesman has earlier said: “The MC should put in place a set of design guidelines, which could be passed as a by-law at a general meeting, and subsequently adopted by the residents.

If there are no design guidelines, the MC should consider requests for the installation of such structures or devices on a case-by-case basis by taking into account the safety of the residents, especially children, which must take priority over other considerations such as design and aesthetics.”

So, as long as design guidelines are being followed, installing safety grilles should be a non-issue altogether.  You can simply hire any BCA/HDB approved Window Contractor for this work.

 

Common Condo MC Guidelines for Grilles

GrillesNGlass has done thousands of Window & Door Grille installations in Singapore Condominiums.  Based on our experience there are common set of guidelines that apply to most of the Condos.  Here are some of them…

  • The installation of railings or grilles for the windows, doors, balconies, etc should be done only for the purpose of security
  • Design and colour of grilles on front door, windows, sliding doors and yard etc. are expected to conform to the approved design and color scheme implemented
  • Grille design and Installation guidelines are obtainable at the Management Office
  • Necessary approvals from the Condominium’s Management Office are needed before beginning any renovation or grilles installation
  • Grilles have to be installed on the inside (internal side of the windows) or installed behind existing windows or sliding doors. They should also be within the boundary line of the unit, so that no common area is encroached
  • For installation of grille gate (at the main entrance) and the enclosure for yard area (other than with grilles), prior approvals from the relevant authorities are needed as such works may affect issuance of the Certificate of Statutory Completion (CSC) for the project. A copy of such approval must be submitted to the Management before the commencement of works

In most cases, we found that the following are usually not permitted –

  • Installing windows (instead of Grilles) at balcony i.e. enclosing the balcony is not allowed
  • Replace glazing of window with colours that are different from the original

 

It’s important that owners also play their part in maintaining a uniform aesthetic outlook for the estate so as to upkeep its value and image.  After all the estate does belong to its residents and co-operation of all residents is most appreciated.  So, a conciliatory approach…doing what is needed for safety and also being mindful of the guidelines will give a win-win to both sides!

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