2 more suppliers agree to sell lift spare parts to third-party contractors

There had been claims that some lift manufacturers had refused to supply vital spare parts to third-party contractors for maintenance work in HDB estates, preventing them from doing a proper job or winning new contracts. ST FILE PHOTO
There had been claims that some lift manufacturers had refused to supply vital spare parts to third-party contractors for maintenance work in HDB estates, preventing them from doing a proper job or winning new contracts. ST FILE PHOTO

Two more lift parts suppliers have agreed to sell spare parts to third-party lift contractors on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis", Singapore's competition watchdog said yesterday.

This will ensure that third-party contractors can obtain spare parts to maintain lifts in HDB estates. Third-party contractors are typically cheaper to hire than the original lift installers.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said yesterday that it had accepted voluntary commitments by Chevalier Singapore Holdings and Fujitec Singapore Corporation that fully address concerns relating to the supply of their brands of lift spare parts.

The CCCS had previously accepted similar commitments from three other companies.

In a phone interview with The Straits Times, Nee Soon Town Council chairman and MP for Nee Soon GRC Louis Ng said it was good that the lift parts suppliers had committed to working with third-party contractors.

He said: "More competition means better options for consumers and better service. This opens things up for the town councils as well and gives us more options when looking for contractors."

In response to questions from ST, Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman of the People's Action Party (PAP) town councils, also welcomed the commitments from the suppliers, saying they were the correct move for fair competition.

 

Dr Teo said PAP town councils adopted a Price Quality Method Tender evaluation approach when awarding lift contracts.

"We evaluate both the prices and performance of the lift contractors to award our lift contracts so as to obtain value for money in our contracts," he said.

In 2016, the CCCS began investigating claims that some lift manufacturers had refused to supply vital spare parts, such as motherboards, to third-party contractors for maintenance work in Housing Board estates, preventing them from doing a proper job or win-ning new contracts.

There are about 24,000 lifts of different brands installed in HDB estates across Singapore. Town councils can appoint the lift installers to carry out maintenance or get a third-party contractor.

There are about 24,000 lifts of different brands installed in HDB estates across Singapore. Town councils can appoint the lift installers to carry out maintenance or get a third-party contractor.

"If a lift company or distributor does not provide proprietary but essential lift spare parts to third-party lift maintenance contractors, these... contractors may be prevented from effectively competing for contracts to maintain and service lifts of that particular brand," said the CCCS.

One lift company - EM Services - made commitments in 2016, the year the investigation began, that addressed the concerns raised.

Last year, the CCCS received commitments from BNF Engineering and C&W Services Operations.

Once similar commitments were made by Chevalier Singapore Holdings and Fujitec Singapore Corporation, the investigation was concluded. The five companies installed more than 70 per cent of the lifts in HDB estates, said the CCCS.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline '2 more suppliers agree to sell lift spare parts to third-party contractors'. Print Edition | Subscribe