Lift maintenance to be tightened, new permit system to be introduced: BCA

A malfunctioning lift at Block 299A, Compassvale Street.
A malfunctioning lift at Block 299A, Compassvale Street.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Tighter regulations for lifts are set to kick in as early as next month, as authorities address the issue of lift safety in the wake of a series of lift accidents.

These will include a tighter maintenance regime for lift maintenance, stricter enforcement as well as a new lift operation permit system, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said on Thursday (June 16).

The estimated 59,000 passenger lifts in Singapore are maintained at least once a month, and are inspected and tested once a year, BCA said.

However, it has found that lift maintenance by contractors can be improved.

"BCA's investigations into recent lift incidents revealed that the overall standard of maintenance by lift contractors can be further improved," it said in a statement on Thursday (June 16).

 
 
 

There are currently about 100 BCA registered lift contractors.

BCA will impose a tighter maintenance regime with stricter enforcement and a more robust Permit-to-Operate System, it said.

Lift contractors will now have to adhere to new standards tied to key outcomes, such as having brakes that are well maintained.

This will help to minimise the risks of incidents like uncontrolled movements of the lift cars, BCA said.

Other examples are, lift car doors and lift landing doors must be operational at all times and reopen upon activation of door protective devices. Brakes or lift parts should also not contain any oil or grease contamination.

Penalties will be imposed on lift contractors if the new standards are not met.

"This will ensure that lift contractors exercise greater vigilance and care when carrying out lift maintenance to ensure that lift reliability and safety is not compromised," BCA said.

Currently, all lift owners must engage an authorised examiner to conduct a full commissioning inspection and tests to ensure compliance with the Singapore Standard 550 - the code of practice for the installation, operation and maintenance of lifts here.

A certificate of lift maintenance and testing, valid for one year, will then be issued by the authorised examiner to the lift owners.

This scheme will be replaced with the new "Permit to Operate" system, which will be introduced in the second half of 2017.

The permit, issued by the BCA, is required before the lift can operate and has to be renewed annually.

It will have to be displayed in the lift, and will indicate the lift contractor responsible for maintenance and the name of the authorised examiner who inspected and certified the lift.

This measure will "strengthen oversight of lifts", the BCA said.

BCA said it will also look into building technical capabilities in the lift maintenance industry, but details have yet to be announced.

"We have been engaging the industry and reviewing the lift regulations over the past year, and are now ready to make these changes. We will continue to update and implement new measures to further enhance lift safety in the short and longer term," BCA's chief executive officer, Dr John Keung said.

The Authority encouraged members of the public to report any lift faults that they encounter to lift owners, including town councils.