Walk into most Housing and Development Board (HDB) common corridors and it’s not uncommon to see shoe racks, steel cabinets, bicycles or pots of huge plants obstructing the passageway. You may also see items such as umbrellas, brooms or parcels from your latest online shopping spree left by your deliveryman near the wet riser.
The HDB common area is not meant to be used as a personal storage space or for the discarding of unwanted items. With the new amendments to the Fire Safety Act, which came into effect in 2020, the Singapore Civil Defence Force can directly disclose an offence committed by any person who is responsible for causing a serious fire hazard without having to first issue a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice. Examples of serious fire hazards include the obstruction of escape routes or passageways within common property that may render evacuation more difficult.
According to the Ministry of National Development, the obstruction of common areas account for around 32% of all estate maintenance issues for Town Councils (TCs). The TCs have been using various platforms such as the TC websites, newsletters and posters on notice boards at void decks to reach out to residents on this issue. TC officers will also visit the unit to advise the resident, whose items are obstructing the corridor. A notice of order will be issued for the resident to remove the items within the permitted time frame. Thereafter, the TC officers will remove the items.
To ensure a safe and pleasant living environment for everyone, here’s what you can do to minimise corridor clutter.
- You can leave a small rack for the purpose of keeping shoes.
- Keep a minimum clear escape passage of 1.2 metres from the parapet wall to where the shoe rack is.
- Keep a clear width of 1.2 metres between your foldable/removable clothing rack and the parapet wall.
- Keep a clear width of 1.2 metres in the corridor for the ambulance crew to evacuate patients or wheelchair-bound people.
- Keep the staircase and landing areas clear from items at all times.
- Do not place items such as a clothing rack that cannot be folded or removed in times of emergency, as it will obstruct the fire escape route.
- Do not install fixed laundry racks in common corridors.
- Do not store items at the dry/wet riser compartment or hang items at the landing valve.
- Do not obstruct the hose reel compartment.