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Lift owners encouraged to ‘modernise’ lifts

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    QX179R's Avatar
    85,763 posts since Feb '08
    • Lift owners encouraged to ‘modernise’ lifts after spate of accidents

      SINGAPORE: As part of its ongoing review of lift and escalator regulations, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is encouraging lift owners to “modernise” their lifts.

      This includes adding safety features such as interlocking switches for door panels to ensure that lifts stop moving immediately if the doors are open, and speed monitoring and speed reducing devices.

      Other safety features which lift owners are advised to add include intercom systems, devices to stop unintended movements and “light curtains” as door protective devices.

      BCA said the recommended additions are based on its consultation with the industry, and benchmarked against safety standards. It also took into consideration lift audit checks conducted by its engineers, as well as the findings from recent lift incidents in Singapore and abroad.

      “BCA will be issuing an advisory to lift owners and the industry, and we encourage all lift owners to consider lift modernisation to further improve the standard of existing lifts in Singapore,” CEO John Keung said.

      Over the past six months, BCA studied features installed in existing lifts and benchmarked them against international practices. The authority then convened an international panel of experts, which included local experts and industry stakeholders, to review its recommendations on the modernisation of existing lifts.

      There are about 61,000 passenger lifts in Singapore, which were installed over the years in accordance with prevailing codes and standards at the point of installation, BCA said.

      “Existing lifts, when properly used, maintained and inspected, will continue to be safe for operation. However, technological advancements may mean that some lifts are not equipped with the latest features,” it said.

      “In this regard, there is scope to modernise such lifts and to bring them on par with newer lifts.”

      Mandatory lift modernisation programmes have been undertaken in Belgium and New York, while Finland and Hong Kong have set guidelines for the voluntary modernisation of existing lifts, BCA said.

      The authority is also reviewing the possibility of implementing a structured methodology for preventive maintenance, and is exploring remote monitoring and diagnostics to increase the productivity of maintenance works.

      BCA said it will also look into introducing a career progression pathway for both technicians and industry professionals to attract new entrants to the industry.

      “These plans will be further studied in consultation with the industry. Details will be provided when the plans are finalised.”


      The BCA's move comes after a series of incidents involving lift malfunctions. In June, a power supply trip hit Block 28B Dover Crescent, affecting the operation of four lifts for about an hour. Earlier that same month, a 59-year-old woman injured her spine when the lift she was in shot repeatedly between the ground floor and 12th storey.

      In May, an elderly man using a motorised wheelchair died from a fall when a lift stopped above ground level, causing his wheelchair to topple. In March, a lift shot up 17 storeys, leaving a domestic helper trapped for about 90 minutes. 

      In January, a lift at Block 114 Edgefield Plains was suspended from use after it continued to move even though one of its car door panels was still open. On Oct 9 last year, an elderly woman’s hand was severed by lift doors in a freak accident in Tah Ching Road.


      Commenting on BCA's announcement, Coordinating Chairman for the 15 Town Councils run by the ruling People's Action Party (PAP), Dr Teo Ho Pin, said they have set up a lift taskforce to "to study and enhance the safety of our lifts including compliance with the new regulatory measures, by the BCA".

      "There are plans to modernise, upgrade and replace some of the lifts especially the older ones," Dr Teo said. "These plans will inevitably increase our lifts servicing and maintenance costs. As such, we will not rule out possible increase of Service and Conservancy Charges."

      As for the Workers' Party-run wards, the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council (AHTC) said that as BCA will be issuing an advisory on the matter, it would be "premature" for it to comment. 

      - CNA/cy
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