5 Singapore malls breached fire safety rules after COVID-19 access control measures introduced

Five shopping malls were found to have padlocked several exit doors during recent enforcement checks, breaching fire safety requirements, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

These breaches followed access control measures imposed by the Government to curb the spread of COVID-19, which include requiring all malls and large standalone stores that exceed 930 sq m in gross floor area to hold only one person for every 10 sq m. By Jul 31, 4,425 checks had been conducted in various locations including 113 malls, said SCDF in response to CNA’s queries. These checks were conducted proactively and also in response to public feedback, it said.

Reports say that People’s Park Centre is among the five malls that breached the fire safety rules and were issued Fire Hazard Abatement Notices and/or fines. SCDF declined to disclose the names of the other four malls. In its response, SCDF said that all malls have since rectified the infringements. “Buildings are still required to comply with fire safety requirements, including ensuring quick and safe evacuation of persons during a fire emergency, even as they implement COVID-19 safe management measures,” said SCDF. SCDF said it has worked with the owners of buildings where access controls have been implemented to ensure that fire safety remains prioritised.

Buildings that restrict access to entry or exit points must ensure these points can be automatically unlocked for evacuation and physical barricades must be easily removable, it added.