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‘We could have died’: Shocked mum tells of collapse of false ceiling in recently renovated bedroom

SINGAPORE — At about 6pm on most days, Ms Wendy Liu, 40, would be lounging on the king-sized bed in her master bedroom with her three children, aged eight, two and one.

<span lang="EN-US">The false ceiling of Ms Wendy Liu’s newly renovated master bedroom collapsed on her bed, narrowly missing her baby’s crib.</span>
The false ceiling of Ms Wendy Liu’s newly renovated master bedroom collapsed on her bed, narrowly missing her baby’s crib.
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  • Ms Wendy Liu took her three young children out of their Dawson Road flat take pictures when the false ceiling in her master bedroom collapsed
  • Her domestic worker, who heard the loud crash, said it sounded like an earthquake
  • Ms Liu said renovation works in her master bedroom had just been completed in January
  • The contractor, SR Tech Engineering arranged for the family to be put up in a hotel for several days
  • It is figuring out the compensation amount and trying to fix the damage to the family's home

SINGAPORE — At about 6pm on most days, Ms Wendy Liu, 40, would be lounging on the king-sized bed in her master bedroom with her three children, aged eight, two and one.

Little could she have known that her decision to take her children out to take pictures on Wednesday afternoon (June 8) may have saved their lives.

Ms Liu, who runs a fertility wellness centre, lives in a public housing block on Dawson Road in Queenstown.

She told TODAY that at about 6pm on Wednesday, her domestic worker, who had remained in the flat, heard a loud crash and rushed in to see that the false ceiling of the newly renovated master bedroom had collapsed on the bed, narrowly missing the baby’s crib.

She then quickly sent Ms Liu a text message by phone to return home immediately.  

“My helper said it sounded like an earthquake, like a huge impact,” Ms Liu said. “Even my neighbour came out of her house to ask what happened.”

When they returned home, the scene left her aghast.  

“I keep thinking about how we could all have been sleeping on the bed… I’m very sure we could have died,” she said.  

I keep thinking about how we could all have been sleeping on the bed… I’m very sure we could have died.
Ms Wendy Liu

The family of five had been living in their four-room Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat for five years and had just completed renovation works, which included removing part of the bedroom wall and installing a false ceiling, in her master bedroom in January. Ms Liu said that the work set her back about S$5,000.

Ms Liu said that she has reported the incident to the contractor, the Tanjong Pagar Town Council and the police. TODAY has sought comment from the police.

The contractor, SR Tech Engineering, arranged for the family to be put up in a hotel for several days while they tried to fix the damage and negotiate compensation.

When TODAY reached out to the company, operation manager Ranamb Masud initially declined to comment, but he later said that he is in touch with the homeowners and is discussing a settlement amount.

When pressed, Mr Masud said that his contractors have many times installed false ceilings in HDB flats and condominiums and this is the first time such an incident has happened.

He added that the collapse of the false ceiling could be due to the lack of supporting structures.

“What we can do is do our best to solve this. We got accommodation for the family of the client. We are also discussing internally on the compensation amount and we are going to see how we can fix their house.” 

Noting that Ms Liu no longer wants the false ceiling replaced, he also said that his contractors will “fix whatever they want to fix in their house” for free and bring in another professional engineer to endorse the new works.

He also intends to refund double the amount that was paid for the false ceiling, which cost about S$1,100.

Ms Liu said that the renovation company may be able to fix the damage to her home, but it cannot compensate for the traumatic experience her family had to endure.

She added that while her children are enjoying the hotel stay, she has not been able to get sleep properly since the incident.

“I feel like I’m living in fear," she said. "It's, like, I don't know when the ceiling or the fan or the air-conditioner will fall on me and my family."

Related topics

ceiling collapse renovation Queenstown Dawson Road HDB flat

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