Two more suppliers make commitments on selling lift spare parts, probe concluded

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore said it had accepted voluntary commitments by the lift parts suppliers to sell components such as motherboards to such contractors on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis".
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore said it had accepted voluntary commitments by the lift parts suppliers to sell components such as motherboards to such contractors on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis".PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - 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 on Tuesday (May 28).

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 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.

CCCS had previously accepted similar commitments from three other companies.

In a phone interview with The Straits Times, Chairman of Nee Soon Town Council 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 The Straits Times , Dr Teo Ho Pin, Coordinating Chairman of the 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, CCCS began investigating alleged 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. 

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 – E M Services – made commitments in 2016, the year the investigation began, that addressed the concerns raised.

Last year (2018), the CCCS finalised 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 in Singapore, said CCCS.