Last month, a London “fryscraper” building made news around the world. It reflected so much sunlight that its rays could even fry an egg nearby!
Over in Hong Kong, the impact of glare from its tallest building, International Commerce Centre (ICC) inconvenienced residents and was a subject of debate in their Parliament.
In Singapore, we are also beginning to get some feedback on unwelcome glare from sunlight reflected from metal roof of other buildings. One resident said that he has had to wear sunglasses in his own home!
With more buildings being clothed in glass and metal, and covered with metal roofs, this is an issue of concern. How do other cities respond to this?
Sydney regulates the daylight reflectance of all facade materials. Its regulation requires that light reflectivity from building materials used on external facades must not exceed 20%.
For buildings in the vicinity of arterial/major roads and Sydney Airport, there must additionally, be proof of light reflectivity, given safety concerns.
Building designs are increasingly more complex and elaborate. With an increasing number of developers and architects exploring the use of less conventional materials, some form of check and balance is necessary so that design does not come at the cost of comfort and safety.
BCA will soon be updating its building regulation to include reflectivity requirements for all kinds of facade materials. Currently, such requirements only pertain to glass.
This is a useful regulatory update to ensure that new designs do add to the neighbourhood, allowing all residents, users and commuters to enjoy, without causing any inconvenience or hardship to anyone.
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