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    Jul 15, 2016

    5 suppliers of lift parts under probe

    FIVE companies supplying spare lift parts

    to Housing Board flats are being probed by the Competition Commission

    Of Singapore (CCS) for anti-competitive practices.

    They are suspected of refusing to supply

    vital parts such as motherboards to third-party

    lift maintenance contractors here.

    This may have prevented contractors from competing for contracts to maintain and service lifts of particular brands installed in HDB estates.

    The CCS can take action against a dominant or sole supplier that refuses to supply certain essential products or services that cannot otherwise be obtained.

    There are more than 20,000 lifts installed

    in HDB estates across Singapore.

    Most are maintained by their original installers rather than third-party contractors.

    Town councils are required to carry out regular maintenance of lifts in HDB estates and can

    either appoint the original installers of the respective brands, or call a tender inviting firms, including third-party contractors,

    to provide maintenance services.

    According to the CCS, it may be cheaper to use third parties.

    Those who wish to tender for lift maintenance projects, which include multiple lift brands,

    would require brand-specific

    spare parts.

    The investigation follows another probe into lift supplier and maintainer EM Services, which was found guilty of refusing to supply spare parts to third-party contractors.

    Two years ago, a complaint was made to the CCS about E M Services, a joint venture between HDB and Keppel Land, sparking a probe.

    However, two months ago, the company agreed to sell the branded spare parts to third-party

    contractors. The CCS then decided not to take action against it.

    CCS chief executive Toh Han Li said: "This will provide more options for HDB lift maintenance, as town councils can choose to call for a single tender for lift maintenance across various lift brands,

    in lieu of contracting with multiple parties.

    "CCS will continue its other investigations

    to ensure access to essential lift spare parts

    for third-party lift maintenance contractors

    and to effectively compete for lift maintenance

    of these other brands of lifts."

    It also encourages all businesses to put in place competition compliance programmes to ensure

    they comply with the Competition Act.

    A string of incidents involving HDB lifts

    have made the news recently.

    In May, a 77-year-old man died after his mobility scooter toppled as he was backing out

    of a lift in Pasir Ris Street 21.

    The lift was not level with the ground.

    Last October, an 86-year-old resident

    in Tah Ching Road lost her lower left arm

    after it was severed in a freak lift accident.