Driver at a loss after Volkswagen gets damaged by spalling concrete at Tekka Centre carpark

Submitted by Stomper Omar

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The owner of a Volkswagen Golf damaged by spalling concrete from the ceiling in the basement carpark of Tekka Centre wants to be compensated by the town council.

But the loss adjusters appointed by the liability insurer of Tanjong Pagar Town Council (TPTC) has found that the spalling concrete is due to natural wear and tear, and the town council is not liable for the incident.

Tekka Centre is at 665 Buffalo Road, which is part of Tanjong Pagar GRC.

According to the Ministry of National Development, spalling concrete is the flaking of concrete from the ceiling due to the corrosion of steel reinforcement bars in the concrete floor slab. The corrosion is caused by the ingress of moisture and acidic elements, and can lead to cracking and bulging of the concrete cover over time. This is a natural wear and tear process, and is generally a surface maintenance issue which can be mitigated through regular painting of the ceiling.

All that is little comfort to Stomper Omar, whose car was damaged in the Tekka Centre carpark on April 22.

Sharing photos of the incident with Stomp, he said: "Upon months of fighting with the town council, their loss adjusters had said this was caused by wear and tear.

"The town council has rejected compensating me or even giving me an apology.

"The cost of repairs quoted by my insurance was nearly up to $8,000. I have not repaired it as I seek justice.

"Many of my friends have asked me to take it to social media. but due to my work, I can't.

"They have simply told me to claim insurance, which I don't want to do because I have to face the 30 per cent no-claim discount deduction and premium rise. Why must I face the music due to their contractor's negligence? What if someone had walked there that day, would they also categorise it as wear and tear?

"My MP, Mr Murali Pillai, had even talked to TPTC’s chairman Mr Melvin Yong on this matter, but still after months, the consultant replied back stating it's wear and tear, and TPTC is not to be blamed."

In the letter from FormTeam Consultancy dated June 15 shared with Stomp by Omar, the loss adjusters said: "As estate manager, TPTC has fulfilled its duty with due diligence on rectification upon activation while it is not reasonable to expect TPTC to arrest all wear and tear issues which developed over time.

"Therefore, while we empathise with your predicament, we must state that TPTC has not been negligent in any way under the circumstances, and hence are not legally liable for this incident.

"We therefore have our Principal’s instructions to repudiate all liability whatsoever and on behalf of whomsoever is concerned for this incident."

The Stomper said that the carpark is currently under maintenance.

In response to a Stomp query, TPTC said: "Mr Omar contacted the town council in May regarding this matter.

"The town council then referred the case to our insurers and our insurers investigated and found that the town council was not legally liable for the damage and loss. 

"Mr Omar then requested for us to appeal to our insurers on his behalf. We appealed to our insurers and the insurers came back with the same finding that the town council is not liable.

"Mr Omar has since informed us that he will be seeking mediation with the public liability insurer under FIDReC (Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre) and has requested for the name of our insurer, which we have provided to him."

Last month, Stomp reported a similar incident where BMW was damaged by flakes of paint falling from the ceiling of the basement carpark at Block 115A Yishun Ring Road. The town council extended its apologies to the car owner for the inconvenience caused.