Supply of lift parts: Feedback sought on two firms' proposals

A lift lobby at a housing block in Compassvale Drive. The proposed commitments by lift companies Chevalier and Fujitec Singapore will ensure that the companies sell parts to third-party lift contractors on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory b
A lift lobby at a housing block in Compassvale Drive. The proposed commitments by lift companies Chevalier and Fujitec Singapore will ensure that the companies sell parts to third-party lift contractors on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis" and check that the purchaser is qualified to service the lifts.ST FILE PHOTO

Consultation to help watchdog assess if proposals address competition issues

Singapore's competition watchdog, which has been investigating alleged refusals by suppliers to provide spare parts for the maintenance of lifts in Housing Board estates, is seeking public feedback on proposals by two lift companies.

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) said yesterday it is conducting public consultation on proposals by lift companies Chevalier and Fujitec Singapore, in which they commit to supplying lift spare parts under certain conditions.

In 2016, the commission said it was investigating alleged claims that some lift manufacturers had refused to supply vital spare parts, such as motherboards, to third-party contractors for the maintenance of lifts in HDB estates.

Each estate usually has multiple brands of lifts installed. Town councils can appoint the original lift installers for maintenance services or appoint a third-party contractor.

A lift manufacturer has an advantage when tendering for maintenance contracts, as it has the parts for its own brand of lifts.

If a lift company does not provide essential parts to third-party contractors, they may be prevented from effectively competing for contracts to maintain and service lifts of that particular brand in Singapore.

The proposed commitments by Chevalier and Fujitec Singapore will ensure that the companies sell parts to third-party lift contractors on a "fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis" and check that the purchaser is qualified to service the lifts.

They also include clarifying liability in the event of accidents, injuries or loss, and ensuring spare parts purchased are not modified.

If a lift company does not provide essential parts to third-party contractors, they may be prevented from effectively competing for contracts to maintain and service lifts of that particular brand in Singapore.

The public feedback is meant to help assess whether the commitments will address competition concerns in relation to the supply of lift spare parts, after which the CCCS will decide whether to accept the commitments.

The public consultation will close on Jan 24. More details can be found on the CCCS website.

In March last year, the competition watchdog accepted voluntary commitments by two lift part suppliers - BNF Engineering and C&W Services Operations - after public consultation. The commitments were amended and finalised following feedback before being accepted.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Supply of lift parts: Feedback sought on two firms' proposals'. Print Edition | Subscribe