The issue of obstruction in common areas especially in HDB common corridors has always been addressed to the authorities, yet never been fully resolved due to inconsiderate residents refusing to observe the guidelines.
A reader named Ms Lee wrote to TOC to complain about her “neighbour’s selfish behaviour” for having occupied the common corridor with all sorts of things, which obstructs the walkway from her unit.
Ms Lee, a HBD resident at Block 511, Pasir Ris Street 52, said that her neighbour has been “double placing” the obstructive items along her emergency exit every day.
She lamented that her baby stroller “cannot pass through at all time” while her mother-in-law, who is meant to be wheelchair-bound, also struggle to pass through the corridor.
According to Ms Lee, these obstructive items are:
1. Three huge aluminium plate flower racks with sharp edge which hurt my kids before, and it’s kind of staircase like which children may easily climb up and fall from height
2. One concrete coffin, not sure what they keep inside the coffin
3. Two to three laundry hangers just double placing at the corridor EVERYDAY as they have a tenant with couple.
4. Uncountable bicycles
5. Maintenance tools such as hammers, saws, scissors and lots of wooden plate, aluminium plates everywhere
6. Storage racks
Problem persist even after she sought assistance from the relevant authorities, including MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC
On this issue, Ms Lee said that she had sought the assistance from the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council (TC) and the Housing and Development Board (HDB). She even reached out to Member of Parliament (MP) for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC Teo Chee Hean as well as the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) via email.
However, she noted that she “doesn’t see any improvement” despite having received an email from the Pasir Ris-Punggol TC saying that an obstruction notice was issued to her neighbour, calling for the removal of the obstructive items.
“I know Town Council issued a notice of order to ask them to remove the flower rack a week before, but as of yesterday, problem persist,” said Ms Lee.
As seen in the email shared by Ms Lee, a property officer from Pasir Ris-Punggol TC wrote that they have “issued a notice of obstruction and have spoken to the resident regarding removal of the items”, adding that they will also follow up with the case.
Meanwhile, in SCDF’s reply to her via email, a staff officer stated that they had conducted an inspection to the premise. The inspection revealed fire safety infringement which they are “following up enforcement action against the responsible entity for compliance”.
However, Ms Lee said that she didn’t see any follow-up so far. In fact, she doesn’t even know when exactly did the SCDF officers conduct the alleged inspection.
She also described that she has spoken to the neighbour directly about this issue, but all she got in return was scolding.
“They scold us, I don’t quite understand what they are speaking as I have kids with me, so I just immediate go back my place.
“I tried to report the issue to the mentioned department many times, by phone by emails, but so far the problem persists,” Ms Lee added.
SCDF’s fire safety guidelines: Minimum clear escape passage of 1.2m
According to the fire safety guidelines for HDB estates issued by SCDF, the storage of combustible materials are not permitted along the common corridors of HDB.
SCDF also stated that the placement of shoe racks is allowed, provided it is for the sole purpose of keeping shoes, whereby, it would not constitute a substantial fire load.
A minimum clear escape passage of 1.2m clearance is to be maintained from the parapet wall where the shoe rack is to be allowed.
Other than this, no objects are to be placed along common corridors less than 1.2 m wide and no placement of items such as clothing racks unless they can be easily folded or removed in times of emergency so that they do not obstruct the escape route.