Residents of Punggol block lament faulty lifts installed by suspended firm

Residents of Punggol block lament faulty lifts installed by suspended firm
Last Saturday (June 19), both lifts at Block 621B, Edgefield Walk in Punggol were out of service for half a day. Elderly residents of the block — which comprises mainly two-room rental flats and studio apartments — had to endure faulty lifts from noon to midnight. Photo: Faris Mokhtar/TODAY
Published: 7:59 PM, June 19, 2017
Updated: 11:25 PM, June 19, 2017

SINGAPORE — For the past year, elderly residents of Block 621B, Edgefield Walk in Punggol — which comprises mainly two-room rental flats and studio apartments — have had to put up with faulty lifts. Last Saturday (June 17), both lifts were out of service for half a day — from noon to midnight.

In response to queries, Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council chairman Zainal Sapari revealed that the lifts were among the batches installed by Sigma — the lift maker that has been suspended from tendering for new contracts since October 2015 because of poor performance. 

Residents of the 256-unit block, most of whom are elderly, told TODAY that the faulty lifts have been a recurring problem, despite undergoing constant repairs by technicians. 

Some of the issues include the doors shutting too quickly before residents can enter or exit, and the lifts stopping abruptly.

Retiree Atmee Saini, 67, who lives on the 13th floor, got a shock when the doors opened suddenly after the lift came to an abrupt stop on the sixth floor last Saturday. She and her 14-year-old grandchild had to take the stairs, which left her breathless by the time she got to the ground floor.

Another resident, Madam Geetha Kaur, who said she has asthma, recounted that she had trouble getting to her third-floor unit when both lifts were out of service.

The 54-year-old who works in the childcare industry, said: “Whenever it’s faulty, we call, they repair and it becomes faulty again. There are quite a number of elderly residents living here, and they have to climb up the stairs when the lifts don’t work.”

Meanwhile, aviation police officer Zahar Kairan, 47, worries about emergencies taking place when both lifts are not working.

Mr Zainal said the town council takes feedback on lift breakdown “seriously” and is working with Sigma to investigate the cause of the breakdowns.

The town council is also reviewing the assistance that can be provided to residents should all the lifts in the block malfunction in future, added the Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol Group Representation Constituency. Explaining the weekend breakdowns, Mr Zainal said one of the lifts — Lift B — was shut down last Thursday because of a faulty controller drive. It is expected to be back in operation by Tuesday.

The remaining functioning lift — Lift A — had to be shut down on Saturday because of poor door contact and an uneven landing. Sigma was able to diagnose and rectify the fault, and get it running by midnight.

“I would like to assure residents that all our lifts undergo a strict maintenance regime following the guidelines set by the Building and Construction Authority,” said Mr Zainal.

On residents’ complaints that no signs were placed outside the faulty lifts to indicate that they were down, Mr Zainal said instructions have been given to the lift company on the need to put such notices in place. 

“We will not hesitate to take action against the lift companies if they fail to follow the agreed service standards … For this case, we will penalise the lift company,” he added.