Building authority announces new safety regulations for escalators

A man takes an escalator at a mall in Singapore on Sept 14, 2011.
A man takes an escalator at a mall in Singapore on Sept 14, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Under new rules to improve safety, escalators here will have to be maintained at least once a month, and their owners will have to apply for a Permit to Operate from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). This is similar to regulations for lifts.

The BCA announced the new escalator regulatory regime and gave details of previously-announced stricter lift regulations on Friday (July 8).

From Nov 1, 2016, all escalator owners must engage a registered escalator contractor to maintain their machines every month.

The registered contractors will have to satisfy 10 specified maintenance outcomes, including checking the safety switches and sensors, the handrail system, and the emergency stop switch.

Similar to lifts, escalators will also now have to be examined, inspected and tested by a registered escalator contractor in the presence of an independent Authorised Examiner each year.


After such an inspection, the Authorised Examiner will issue a certificate to say that the escalator is in good working condition. The owner will then use the certificate and other supporting documents to apply for a Permit to Operate from the BCA.


The deadline to obtain this permit will affect buildings in different phases depending on when they were completed, with the final deadline for all escalators being Jan 31, 2018. From March 1, 2018, all escalator owners must display the permit conspicuously near the escalator.


The BCA also gave details of previously-announced changes to the lift regulatory regime, releasing the full list of 20 maintenance outcomes that registered lift contractors must meet. The new lift maintenance regime takes effect from July 25, 2016.

Lifts will also come under a Permit to Operate system that replaces the existing lift certificate lodgement scheme.

Under the new system, owners must continue to have the annual inspection but will then have to use the certificate and other documents to apply for the permit. The BCA may carry out its own inspections, ask for a retest or request extra documentation.

From Sept 1, 2017, lift owners must display the permit prominently inside the lift.

BCA will step up audit checks on lifts to ensure that the lift contractors achieve the specific maintenance outcomes. Those who do not meet the requirements may be prosecuted and upon conviction, may be fined up to $5,000.

For both lifts and escalators, there will also be a new mandatory incident reporting requirement.

Both owners and registered contractors who carried out the most recent servicing work must inform the BCA as soon as possible when an incident involving death or injury to passengers or malfunction of safety-critical components occurs. This takes effect on July 25, 2016.