BCA suspends operation of Punggol lift with faulty door

A lift in Punggol was seen operating with its inner door partly open.
A lift in Punggol was seen operating with its inner door partly open.PHOTO: COURTESY OF BEN TNG

SINGAPORE - The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has suspended the operation of a lift in a HDB block in Punggol for further investigation, after a video of the lift remaining open as it moved was posted by a resident on social media. 

Businessman Ben Tng, who was taking his son to school on Friday (Jan 22) morning, said he was shocked that the lift at Block 114, Edgefield Plains had descended more than 10 floors with its inner door partly open. 

"I held on to my son tightly with one hand while I took the video with the other hand," Mr Tng told The Straits Times.

After sending his nine-year-old son to school, he called emergency services at about 7.30am and told them about the incident.

He took the lift a second time later that morning with his younger son, who was going to kindergarten and the lift was still not fixed, he said.

When he returned home at 9am, he saw that the lift was still operating.

Mr Tng, wrote on Friday at 9.24am: "7.25am, I called the 24hrs hotline. I came home at 9.00am. A group of residents was crowding at the lift lobby, wanting to call the town council. I told them I called at 7.25am, and until now nobody came! Residents were worried about young children too."

He made a second call to the Town Council at around 9am, he said. He took the same lift up, and filmed another video.

When he left his home again at 10am, the lift was under maintenance.

In a statement issued on Sunday (Jan 24) afternoon, BCA said it been alerted to the incident on Friday and suspended the lift's operation the next day. 

BCA engineers visited the incident site with representatives from Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council and the lift contractor on Saturday morning.

"The Town Council is required to appoint an independent Authorised Examiner (AE) to inspect, test and certify that the lift is safe for use," the statement added. 

"The lift will only be allowed to resume operation when BCA receives the AE report and is satisfied with the findings."

As a safety precaution, BCA will also be conducting checks on the lifts at other blocks within the vicinity of Block 114. 

Mr Tng said he was especially concerned because there are many young families in the estate and many students go to school on their own.

"There was a lot of metal protruding from the inside of the lift door. Their school bags could get caught, and it will lift the kid up," he said.

Another resident, Mr Jiang told Shin Min Daily News that the lift was already faulty the night before.

"Children could get their hands stuck in the lift door, it's dangerous," he told Shin Min.

The lift was repaired when Mr Tng returned home at 3.20pm.

"I hope they take preventive measures to stop this from happening again," said Mr Tng.

Lift safety in HDB flats came under scrutiny last October when Madam Khoo Bee Hua had her left hand severed by the doors of a lift in Block 322, Tah Ching Road.

The safety devices of the Tah Ching Road lift were found to be in working order, according to the final investigation report submitted to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).