I live in a fifty-eight-year-old HDB (Housing and Development Board – Singapore’s public housing) flat. It is therefore not surprising that parts of the ceiling in the old flat may break loose and be at risk of falling on my head. This problem is common in older flats. This issue is known as “spalling concrete”.
Parts of the ceiling in my kitchen and the bathroom broke one-and-a-half years ago.
I contacted the Housing and Development Board (HDB). The same day, a staff member by the name of Mr Tan called me and made an appointment to come to my flat for an inspection. Mr Tan showed up less than a week later. As the broken pieces looked like they might dislodge soon, Mr Tan pried the loose pieces off with a screwdriver.
As you can see from the picture above, some of the dislodged pieces were pretty huge and heavy. It would be a catastrophe if any of these pieces were to fall on anyone living in the flat.
As the Covid 19 pandemic was still raging and not quite under control at the time, Mr Tan explained that there was a manpower shortage and with the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it might take a while before he could arrange for an authorised contractor to fix my ceiling. However, he assured me that there was no danger of anyone being hurt since he had already removed the broken and loose pieces.
Mr Tan also explained I could source for a contractor on my own to take on the repair works. Alternatively, the HDB could arrange for a contractor to resolve the spalling concrete issue under the goodwill repair assistance scheme. He could arrange for a contractor to inspect the issue and submit a quote. HDB and I would then co-share the cost in a fifty-fifty arrangement.
I chose the latter option as I would be assured that the contractor appointed to do the job would be duly authorised by the HDB. If there was any issue with the repair, I would be able to fall back on the HDB to pressure the contractor to provide proper after-sales service.
After close to a year, the contractor came to repair the spalling concrete. He also repainted the repaired areas. Now my ceiling looks as good as new.
The spalling concrete repair cost depends on the extent of repair work required. The cost to repair my ceiling was $104. I paid $52 for my share of the cost. I am extremely grateful for the support from HDB.