Town council shuts down Sengkang lift after feedback, pending investigations

Residents using lift A and B while lift C continues to malfunction at Block 299A Compassvale Street, on June 13, 2016.
Residents using lift A and B while lift C continues to malfunction at Block 299A Compassvale Street, on June 13, 2016.PHOTO: AZIZ HUSSIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

SINGAPORE - A malfunctioning lift in Sengkang has been shut down for further investigations, after residents reported glitches last weekend.

Compassvale Street resident Tan Joo Jin first told The Straits Times how a lift stopped randomly between floors and dropped suddenly at his block, 299A, on Friday. On Sunday (June 12) afternoon, another resident ran into problems with the same lift.

She was headed to her apartment on the ninth floor when the lift jerked and stopped midway for a few seconds before opening at the fifth floor instead.

MP Zainal Sapari, chairman for Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council, has asked the lift contractor Sigma to shut down the lift till the source of the problem is found.

He said Sigma had not detected any problems with the lift after last Friday’s report and suspected the problem might be intermittent. The lift resumed operations.

Sigma staff visited the block on Sunday afternoon to check the lift again, but did not find any fault, he added.

“I told them to shut (the lift) down until we can find the source of the problem,” he said.

Should they detect the cause, they will check on other lifts in the area that have similar reported problems to see if any preventive action may be taken, said Mr Zainal.

In response to queries, the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council said its lift engineer and lift contractor tested the lift last Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

They did not experience a jerk and midway stop, but the town council decided to shut down the lift on Sunday as a safety precaution to conduct a more thorough check the next day.

When they tested the lift on Monday, it jerked and stopped before moving again.

“Now they are trouble shooting and trying to trace the fault, and will arrange for rectification work once they confirm which faulty parts need replacement,” said the town council.

“In addition, we have arranged to check all the lifts with similar feedback as a precautionary measure.”

Staff from the Building and Construction Authority were present as Sigma workers tested the lift that was closed for maintenance at Block 299A on Monday (June 13) morning.

Said a spokesman from Sigma: “We are aware of this incident and are working to gather more information as quickly as possible.”

When ST visited Block 299A, some residents said they have experienced jerking and other problems with at least one of the three lifts servicing their 17-storey block.

Mr Herman Omar, 36, who lives on the fourth floor, said his housing agent was unable to press any of the buttons in the lift when entering it around two months ago. The lift ended up stopping at every floor.

“Sometimes, in the morning, the lift doesn’t stop at all on our floor. The waiting time can be more than 10 minutes,” said the lecturer at the Institute of Technical Education.

Close to 6pm on Sunday, second-floor resident Mr Almazan Edward Siguerra, 46, said the affected lift stopped at his floor although its screen display showed it was under maintenance. When he reached the ground floor a notice outside the lift said: “Encountered lift drop issue at 4.10pm!! Do not use lift C.”

“The problem is, they just put the notice on the ground floor. They should put it on all the floors,” said the senior field service engineer, who added that when he wants to use the lift to transport heavy items, it sometimes just passes his floor as well.

The encounters reported last weekend come after five lift incidents in the past eight months. The BCA said there have been 12 lift incidents that led to injuries since 2013.