The 34-year-old civil servant went to use the toilet in the master bedroom, but found that she couldn’t push open the toilet door.
Mdm Zhang asked her husband for help, and he managed to push it open.
That’s when they discovered that the ceiling of their master bedroom toilet had collapsed.
Even the metal bars that were part of the building structure could be seen.
Mdm Zhang said it was fortunate that none of her sons, aged 8 and 4 years, were using the toilet when the roof caved in.
She said she had noticed hairline cracks on the toilet ceiling years ago, but didn’t find them a cause for concern as there was no water leakage.
She’s now worried about the hairline cracks on the ceiling of the balcony and kitchen.
Mdm Zhang moved into the 7th floor HDB unit 12 years ago.
The flat is now 32 years old.
A neighbor living one floor above Mdm Zhang said that a similar incident befell him 6 months ago.
He said that a portion of his master bedroom toilet ceiling collapsed, but luckily it was only the size of an A4 sheet of paper.
He said that there were also hairline cracks on the ceiling area above his kitchen and balcony.
She was later told by the HDB that the ceiling collapse was normal due to the age of the flat.
Mdm Zhang accepted the HDB’s offer of Goodwill Repair Assistance.
Under this agreement, the HDB will manage the repair the ceiling, with the homeowner paying 50 percent of the costs.
The HDB says that the ceilings of older HDB flats are made of lime (the rock one lah, not the one that grows on trees) and as such are prone to peeling.
It added that peeling can develop after several years due to the corrosion of the metal bars in the ceiling.
The HDB said this is usually a surface problem and will not affect the structural integrity of the flat (i.e the whole block isn’t going to collapse).
It says that homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of their flats, which includes repairing ceilings which are peeling off.