By John Leong | POSTED: 24 Oct 2013 13:54 | UPDATED: 24 Oct 2013 23:53 | CNA


The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will be updating its building regulation to include reflectivity requirements for all kinds of facade materials.

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said in a blog post that currently, such requirements only pertain to glass.

Mr Khaw said there has been some feedback on excessive glare from sunlight reflected from the metal roof of other buildings in Singapore.

He said it is an issue of concern as there are more buildings with glass and metal facades, and covered with metal roofs.

He noted that building designs are getting more complex and elaborate with more developers and architects exploring the use of less conventional materials.

Mr Khaw said there must be some form of check and balance to ensure that the building design does not come at the cost of comfort and safety.

He said the regulatory update is useful to ensure that new designs add to the neighbourhood, allowing residents, users and commuters to enjoy without causing any inconvenience or hardship to anyone.

Citing examples of similar cases overseas, Mr Khaw said certain buildings were in the news recently because their reflective surfaces had caused inconvenience to city dwellers.

A London building was dubbed “fryscraper” as it had reflected so much sunlight that its rays could even fry an egg nearby.

The tallest building in Hong Kong, the International Commerce Centre, was a subject of debate in their Parliament.

He cited how Sydney has responded to the use of reflective materials in building facades.

The Australian city regulates the daylight reflectance of all facade materials.

Sydney’s regulation requires that light reflectivity from building materials used on external facades must not exceed 20 per cent.

There is an additional requirement for buildings in the vicinity of arterial or major roads and Sydney Airport, given the safety concerns.

Architect Lim Ching Tung has called for more consultations before the update of BCA’s building regulation.

Mr Lim, senior project architect at ARCHURBAN, said: “It should be more widely consulted, so that the profession can be more aware, and then throw in more discretions or ideas on how to take care of these issues.

“I think there are already a lot of cases or a lot of regulations that have been very limiting of the creativity of the designers. Creativity is about getting around things, but of course, the choice of material is still very important.”

– CNA/xq/nd