The Taipei Construction Management Office on Saturday said that it has drafted regulations requiring safety inspections of the walls of older buildings after reports of falling debris.
The regulations would require management committees to inspect the outer walls of aging buildings and report regularly on their condition, the office said, adding that it was prompted to draft the rules following frequent reports of ceramic tiles falling from the outside walls of buildings, which could harm pedestrians.
Tiles might come loose as a result of thermal expansion and shrinkage from rapid temperature changes, so it recommends pedestrians walk under covered corridors, the office said.
On Friday morning, a man surnamed Lee (李) was riding his scooter near a commercial building in Taipei’s Zhongshan District (中山) when he was hit on the helmet by a ceramic tile that fell from the outer wall of the structure, local media reported.
Police said Lee was not hurt because he wore a helmet, but his scooter seat was damaged by fallen tiles.
The Taipei City Self-Government Ordinance on Construction Management (台北市建築管理自治條例) stipulates that the owner, manager or management committee of any building that is older than one year and is at risk of falling tiles from its outer walls is required to conduct safety inspections and report them regularly, office deputy chief engineer Horng Der-haur (洪德豪) said.
The office has drafted detailed regulations that include technical standards for compulsory reporting of an outer wall’s safety conditions and the punishment for violations, which is being reviewed by the city’s Department of Legal Affairs, he said.
It is slated to take effect after the Lunar New Year, he added.
Office director Chang Ming-sen (張明森) said that if bulging or flaking tiles are found on outer walls, the building management committee is obliged to set up warning signs and take protective measures to warn pedestrians and passing vehicles of the risk of falling tiles, and they should repair the tiles as soon as possible.
If casualties result from falling building tiles, the owner and management committee would face punishment for breach of construction regulations, and might also face civil and criminal liabilities, he said.
The office said people should report falling external wall tiles by calling (02) 2720-8889 extension 2701, or on its Web site, www.dbaweb.tcg.gov.tw/outpfbs.
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