CCCS concludes probe into HDB lift maintenance; accepts pledges from companies to supply parts to third-party contractors
Two more suppliers agree to sell lift spare parts
To stifle competition for lift maintenance work at Housing Board estates, some companies allegedly refused to supply vital spare parts to third-party contractors.
This attracted the scrutiny of the competition watchdog, which yesterday ended a three-year probe after two more firms made pledges to allay anti-competition concerns.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) accepted voluntary commitments from Chevalier Singapore Holdings and Fujitec Singapore Corporation to sell lift spare parts on "a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory basis".
It said yesterday: "CCCS considers that the voluntary commitments fully address the competition concerns."
CCCS had accepted similar pledges from BNF Engineering and C&W Services Operations last year, while EM Services made its commitment in 2016, when the probe was launched .
In all, there are more than 25,000 lifts in HDB estates and the five companies mentioned are estimated to have installed more than 70 per cent of them.
HDB estates typically have lifts from different brands, so appointing a third-party contractor to carry out maintenance, instead of engaging the various original lift installers, could potentially be cheaper for town councils.
CCCS said in 2016 that if the third-party contractors cannot get brand-specific spare parts like motherboards, that poses operational issues.
Dr Teo Ho Pin, coordinating chairman for the 15 People's Action Party town councils, told The New Paper that the majority of HDB lifts under the party's management are maintained by their original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Dr Teo said: "If you go for any other company besides the OEM, then you have to be careful in terms of checking to make sure that you are able to get the parts, the quality of the parts, the pricing, and so on.
"When you are not able to get good parts or genuine parts, whether it is a car, a machine or a lift, the chances of failure, of accidents happening, definitely will be much higher."
Dr Teo, who also heads the PAP Lift Taskforce, said the town councils exercise due diligence when selecting contractors for lift servicing and upgrading.
They look at "total performance", including design, installation and maintenance, and the lift company's rescue services and other factors.
The PAP town councils renew these contracts every few years and can call for an open tender if they become unhappy with the company, he added.