SINGAPORE: As part of efforts to improve lift safety and reliability, a dashboard management system jointly developed by town councils managed by the People’s Action Party (PAP) is expected to be launched later this month.
The PAP Town Councils’ coordinating chairman Teo Ho Pin said the system will enable a faster response to problems, as the system allows real-time access to the performance of 23,000 lifts managed by its 15 town councils. Around 34 per cent of these lifts are 18 years and older.
“We’re putting a lot of attention and resources on lifts, and that is the reason why we have set up this dashboard management system, so that we are able to track every single lift – right down to the individual lift, which location, how is the performance of the lift, which is the maintenance team that’s servicing the lift,” said Dr Teo.
With the real-time information, town councils will be able to respond faster if anyone is trapped in the lifts, he added.
The new system comes on the back of a string of lift-related injuries in recent years, with the PAP setting up a lift taskforce last July to review the maintenance of lifts in public estates under its watch. One of its recommendations included the development of a centralised system to monitor lift performance.
One town council that welcomes the new monitoring system is Jurong-Clementi Town Council, which has more than 2,100 lifts in its estate, out of which almost 20 per cent are 16 years and older.
“We can learn from other town councils through this dashboard and it’s a lot more sharing among the different town councils,” said Jurong-Clementi Town Council Chairman Ang Wei Neng. “Currently when you have a major incident, they will share it in our monthly meeting. But this dashboard is probably live and you can know information quite instantly.”
In February, the town council also appointed a lift specialist team, comprising a lift engineer and three technicians. The team is tasked with monitoring lift contractors and testing the performance of its lifts, checking up to six lifts daily.
“In the past it was a shared resource among different town councils, managed by the same managing agent,” said Mr Ang. “It’s only when they’re available that they’ll come to our town council and scrutinise the work of the lift company.
“But now almost every single major work that the lift companies are undertaking, we will require our team of specialists to go down and work with them, know what they’re doing and scrutinise that they’re doing up to our specifications.”
The Jurong-Clementi town council has also set aside S$20 million for the monitoring and servicing of lifts in the estate – around a third of the town council’s total revenue.
“We’re quite fortunate in the last few months there were no major incidents, and especially after Feb 1 when we invested in this lift specialist team, things are getting better,” said Mr Ang.
“But we’re not sitting on our laurels and we’re not taking things for granted. So we’re still scrutinising the lift maintenance efforts that the lift companies are putting in,” he added.
LIFT MANAGEMENT IN NEW HOUSING PROJECTS
The PAP Town Councils is also working with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) to develop a set of protocols to better manage and monitor lifts, particularly in new housing projects, said Dr Teo.
“For new flats, especially Build-To-Order (BTO) flats, during the first two years of residents moving in, there will be a lot of moving activities. Normally you find that the lifts are commonly damaged through these activities,” he said.
“So we have worked with HDB to see how we can better manage the new lifts within the first two years, how do we standby our lift maintenance … so that we can respond faster to restore the lifts to its functionality, plus also to rescue any residents trapped in the lifts,” he said.
HDB has also installed closed-circuit television cameras in new BTO projects, required builders and renovation contractors to wear uniforms for easy identification, and is holding dialogues with residents and contractors.
The efforts are on top of the Government’s help to prepare all 16 town councils for longer-term lift expenditures.
These include a S$450 million Lift Enhancement Programme to help town councils co-fund the costs of retrofitting older lifts with safety features, a Lift Maintenance Grant giving S$600 for every lift to help them cope with servicing and maintenance costs, and more than S$50 million to match half of what town councils must contribute to the Lift Replacement Fund, which can be utilised for specific lift works.
In total, town councils will receive more than S$100 million of additional funding a year.