Singapore’s Housing Development Board (HDB) is absolving itself of responsibilities by pushing the blame for the recent spate of lift accidents to contractors. One such contractor, Sigma Elevator, a subsidiary company of Otis Elevator Company, has been singled out as a scapegoat and banned from tendering in new HDB lift projects. Sigma has installed 3,500 HDB lifts for about a decade since 2007.
In their media statement with state media Straits Times, HDB said that more than half the reported cases in 2015 involved the contractor as manufacturer or maintenance contractor. Sigma Elevator was banned from tendering new lift projects since Oct 2015 as the contractor was unable to meet project deadlines.
“Going forward, HDB will not hesitate to exercise its contractual rights where required, which may also include imposition of liquidated damages and debarment from all public sector works.”
However there is no mention of HDB’s tendering process, which is usually tendered to the lowest-bidder by default. In all of the lift contracts, Sigma Elevator has also met the minimum lift specifications written by HDB and the handing over papers for each project are signed for by HDB.
PAP MP Tin Pei Ling, whose MacPherson constituency faced the most number of lift breakdowns, said she was glad to hear that a contractor has been pinpointed:
“I am relieved that HDB is taking action against lift contractors with poor performance. More importantly for affected existing lifts, the problem must be solved so as to ensure safety of all users.”