Stop contractors from tampering with lifts

While the Building and Construction Authority's move to tighten lift maintenance and boost safety is welcome, it does not go far enough ("BCA moves to tighten lift maintenance, boost safety" and "Tighter rules for lift upkeep welcomed"; both published last Friday).

Other equally important players, such as town councils, the HDB and police, must also make a concerted effort to boost lift safety on a daily basis.

Perhaps, they could tackle the misuse or abuse of lifts, such as when renovation contractors or house movers take control of the lift to transport materials or bulky household items.

They tend to force the lift doors open, and may even tamper with lift buttons, resulting in residents pointing their fingers at them when the lift breaks down.

One solution is for the authorities to deploy staff to supervise and ensure contractors and house movers do not meddle with lift buttons and doors.

A more cost-effective device could also be developed to monitor the happenings within the lift. Currently, police cameras in lift lobbies do not do this, while a closed-circuit television monitoring system is too expensive.

Lift reliability in HDB estates has stood at around 85 per cent for the past 10 years. The main reason for the perception of unreliability is frequent lift breakdowns.

It is understandable for residents to be more agitated now than before, whenever a lift breaks down, given the ageing population and increase in high-rise living.

With the recent spate of lift incidents, it is time to assuage residents' insecurity regarding lifts.

Gan Kok Tiong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Stop contractors from tampering with lifts'. Print Edition | Subscribe