Khaw: HDB has not forgotten the 200 blocks that are still without full lift access

Even though, the lift upgrading programme (LUP) is drawing to a close, the Housing Board (HDB) will continue to find ways to cover blocks that have not benefited from it, said National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Thursday.

In his blog post Mr Khaw wrote: "While we are completing the LUP story, we are not shutting it. HDB is mindful that the balance of around 200 blocks is still without lift access at some floors."

He added that the agency would continue to look for new ideas and technology to help these residents. "We may or may not achieve it, but we will not give up trying," he said.

The LUP has cost the government $5 billion so far, benefiting some 500,000 households in 5,000 blocks since it began in 2001. The upgrading programme focuses on blocks built before 1990 which do not have lifts that stop on every floor.

At least 75 per cent of eligible residents must vote in favour of the upgrading project. the Government foots most of the bill, with the town council sharing the remainder with flat owners who benefit. The latter pay sums ranging from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $3,000.

The last few blocks where LUP is feasible will be polled soon, and the Housing Board targets to have these new lifts operational by 2014.

Calling the initiative "worthwhile", Mr Khaw also touched on improved lift technology which has worked to the advantage of residents. One innovation is having lifts that did not need a lift machine room at the top of the block to hoist them. Without the machine room, blocks previously constrained by height limits were then able to qualify for upgrading.

Some 800 additional blocks had gone under LUP because of this, he noted.