BCA moves to tighten lift maintenance, boost safety

A woman entering a lift at Block 317 in Ang Mo Kio Street 31 on March 29.
A woman entering a lift at Block 317 in Ang Mo Kio Street 31 on March 29.PHOTO: ST FILE

More detailed requirements to be spelt out, permit-to-operate system to be introduced

Tighter rules in maintaining lifts and a new permit system will soon kick in as the authorities take action following a spate of lift accidents.

Starting next month, new, more detailed requirements will be spelt out for monthly lift maintenance and will draw penalties if they are not complied with, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday.

For instance, brakes and lift parts must be checked to ensure they are not contaminated by oil or grease.

Lift car and landing doors must also be operational at all times and reopen when protective devices are activated.

"BCA's investigations into recent lift incidents revealed that the overall standard of maintenance by lift contractors can be further improved," the authority said.

"It is critical to uphold high standards of maintenance as the lifts get older, and are subject to more wear and tear over time."

Spot checks will be made to ensure requirements are being followed, BCA said, without specifying the penalties for non-compliance.

Currently, the 59,000 passenger lifts here must be maintained at least once a month, and undergo inspection and testing once a year.

 

BCA yesterday also urged lift contractors and owners, including town councils, to undertake preventive maintenance, take feedback from lift users seriously and attend to any issues promptly.

It added: "The public can also play their part by reporting any lift faults that they encounter to the respective lift owners... for the necessary follow-up."

A new permit-to-operate system will also be introduced in the second half of next year in which lifts will require an annual permit from BCA to operate.

This will "strengthen oversight" of lifts, said BCA. It will conduct spot checks on certified lifts.

Lift owners will be required to display the permits, which will indicate the contractor responsible for maintenance and the authorised examiner who inspected and certified the lift.

BCA said it is also looking into measures such as training programmes to boost the capability of the lift industry.

"This will ensure that the lift industry has the necessary capacity and resources to meet the new regulatory requirements and carry out its duties competently and effectively," it said.

Experts and residents yesterday welcomed the new rules, which they said would boost safety by spelling out the necessary checks.

A spate of lift incidents since October last year has left a man dead and several others injured.

BCA chief executive John Keung stressed that his agency takes a "very serious" view of lift safety.

"We have been engaging the industry and reviewing the lift regulations over the past year, and are now ready to make these changes," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 17, 2016, with the headline 'BCA moves to tighten lift maintenance, boost safety'. Print Edition | Subscribe