Lift showers plague Tiong Bahru residents

Heavy rain causes water to flow through elevator door gaps, raining on lift users

When it rains, it pours for residents living in a Tiong Bahru block.

During a heavy downpour, domestic worker Aye Aye Naing, 34, steps in and out of the lift on the ground floor of Block 10A, Boon Tiong Road with an umbrella.

"I need to protect the boy when I take him to his childcare centre," she said, pointing to her employer's three-year-old son.

Heavy rain can send water flowing along the second-storey corridor of the Tiong Bahru block, where it slips into the gaps between the four lift doors and cars.

So those braving the lifts in the 30-storey block will have to walk through a wall of water. The Tanjong Pagar Town Council, which maintains the estate, is seeking to fix the problem.

"From our investigations, during a heavy downpour, the water flows from the Block 11A multi-storey carpark roof garden, which is connected to Block 10A Boon Tiong Road by a ramp," a spokesman for the town council said.

The ramp, which runs up two floors, is unsheltered. During a heavy downpour, water flows down the ramp onto the second- storey corridor.

"We will be working with HDB to find a way to add more drainage and a cover to the ramp to prevent the rainwater from flowing to the lift lobby," the spokesman said.

She added that there have been 19 complaints from residents so far, and that the issue occurs "only during very heavy downpours".

She said the town council has liaised with HDB to address the issue, and has tried to ensure the drainage at the roof garden is not clogged. The lifts have been functioning normally.

"We would like to assure our residents that the lift is safe for use and that our lift company regularly checks the safety of the lift," she added.

A spolesman for the HDB said that preliminary investigations indicate that during the heavy downpour on Wednesday (Feb 8), water could not be discharged quickly enough through the discharge points at the roof garden which could be choked. 

This resulted in the overflowing of rainwater at the rooftop, and eventually into the lift, she said. 

She added: "HDB was recently informed of the water seepage by the Tanjong Pagar Town Council, and we are working with the Town Council on possible solutions to mitigate the situation and improve the flow of rainwater during heavy downpour." 

The Build-To-Order block has been up for about two years.

The rainwater issue came to light after a video yesterday went viral online, garnering over 9,000 views in eight hours.

Those The Straits Times spoke to yesterday said the problem had been raised with the town council and HDB on a few occasions.

"We have a Facebook group for residents living here, and there have been posts about this problem. Members have informed the town council and HDB," said Ms Clara Yeo, a claims officer.

The 31-year-old has been living in the block for about two years, but has never experienced the lift showers.

Ms Amy Ng, 43, an administrative assistant who was visiting her mother-in-law who lives in the block, said: "There's shelter all the way, so you think you are safe from the rain. But in the end, it rains at the lift. It's troublesome for the residents here."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Lift showers plague Tiong Bahru residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe