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    Sep 20, 2016

    $450m scheme to help improve HDB lifts' safety

    A NEW Lift Enhancement Programme was announced yesterday to help town councils modernise their existing Housing Board lifts.

    Under this initiative, the HDB will fund about 90 per cent of the town council's costs to install the recommended enhancement features identified by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) last week.

    About 20,000 lifts are eligible for this programme, which will cost around $450 million.

    These include lifts not yet equipped with some or all of the enhancement features, and have been in operation for 18 years or less - as of the date of commencement of the new programme.

    More implementation details will be provided to the town councils in the coming months.

    But the HDB added that town councils will have 10 years to carry out the modernisation works progressively, as part of their maintenance and lift parts replacement regime.

    "Concurrently, TCs will replace older lifts with new lift systems progressively as they carry out cyclical replacement for these lifts," the HDB said.

    National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday that the costs for such enhancements will "pose a considerable financial challenge" to the town councils.

    "With higher expected long-term expenditures, town councils will likely need to contribute more to their sinking funds, and set aside more funds for future lift replacements through a new Lift Replacement Fund," he said in a blog post.

    Mr Wong added that while the total sinking fund balance across all town councils is about $1 billion, it is not enough in the long run.

    "This may sound like a healthy amount but it is still not sufficient to cover the cost of future lift replacements, which is estimated at almost $3 billion from now to 2035 (for some 11,500 lifts across all HDB estates)," he said.

    Last week, the BCA had made recommendations to modernise existing lifts here in order to boost safety.

    This comes after a spate of lift accidents in HDB blocks in the past year.

    About a third of all the 61,000 passenger lifts in Singapore are found in HDB estates.