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BCA to step up checks on lifts, review regulations: Lawrence Wong

The Building and Construction Authority will update lift regulations later this year to enhance standards and ensure compliance by all lift owners, manufacturers and contractors, says the National Development Minister. 

SINGAPORE: Checks of lifts in Singapore, especially those in Housing and Development Board (HDB) blocks, will be stepped up after a spate of incidents.

In a Facebook post on Friday (Mar 11), National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said he has asked the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to step up independent audit checks of passenger lifts around Singapore.

The checks will be stepped up especially for lifts in HDB blocks, Mr Wong said, adding that the checks may cause some disruption to lift operations and inconvenience to residents.

“We want to be thorough in our checks and cannot compromise on safety,” he said.

BCA will also update lift regulations later this year to enhance standards and ensure compliance by all lift owners, manufacturers and contractors, Mr Wong added.

On Tuesday, a lift at Block 512 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 stopped at the 11th floor. It has been more than three days and is still remains out of service. Lift provider Sigma Elevators Singapore told Channel NewsAsia the shutdown was due to BCA's checks. 

The lift at Block 512 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8 has been stuck on the 11th floor since Tuesday (Mar 8). (Photo: Loke Kok Fai)

Commenting on the lift, one resident of the block, Mr Abdul Wahab, said: "(This happens) every time. I get fed up. I don't know what's wrong."

"If the lift breaks down, the maintenance must come here fast," added another resident, Mr Kassani Abdul Jabar. "Whether you repair it in one day or not, you have to attend to it, so that we (the residents) can see what they're doing, what actions they're doing."

"It's okay for me because I stay on the third floor, so I can just use the stairs. But I'm concerned about the old people who stay on the 12th floor or something," said Ms Chin Pei Ru. "It may be inconvenient for them to go out and buy something."

In a statement on Friday, BCA said it is working closely with the industry on an ongoing review of lift regulations and standards to ensure they continue to be on par with international standards. BCA said it intends to complete the review, which will include legislative changes, by the end of the 2016.

"Where needed, new measures to ensure the continued safety of lifts in our buildings will be introduced," said a BCA spokesperson. 

On the recent spate of lift incidents, Mr Wong said the lift owners have appointed experts to look into the incidents and the investigations are still pending.

According to BCA, so far for 2016, there have been three recorded lift incidents involving injuries. In 2015, there were five, an increase from 2014 and 2013, which only saw one incident recorded each year.

Earlier this week, a domestic helper was trapped inside a lift at Block 317 Ang Mo Kio Street 31 after the lift shot up 17 floors, causing her to fall and hit her back.

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.