Lifts at the new Build-To-Order (BTO) flats at Waterway Cascadia which located in Punggol broke down for about four hours on Tuesday (10 January).
Lianhe Wanbao reported that all four lifts at Blocks 314A and 314B broke down at around 5pm. Residents said that the disruptions have been happening at least once a month since September last year.
The lifts are manufactured and maintained by lift company Sigma Elevator.
Housing and Development Board (HDB) had earlier announced that lift manufacturer Sigma has been barred from tendering for new HDB projects since October 2015 for being unable to fully adhere to the timeline of lift installations for certain projects.
HDB stated that said its decision is part of a procedure to “restrict poor performing contractors from tendering for new HDB projects.” Therefore, Sigma can focus on completing the installation of lifts and improving the performance of the installed lifts under its current contract.
A spokesman for the Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council said that the fire protection system at both blocks had been activated falsely, saying, “Immediate attention was given to the source of the issue, in this case, the fire protection system after we received the feedback, after which, the lift technician followed up to check on the lifts.”
The spokesman told Wanbao that the Town Council is currently investigating the cause of the activation of the fire protection system.
He said, “As the fire protection system is still under the defects liability period, we have instructed the main contractor to carry out testing and to ensure that the false activation of the fire protection system does not recur.”
In an interview with Wanbao, a 35-year-old market researcher Resident Pan Zheny said that a neighbour told him about the breakdown via a WhatsApp group chat.
He then decided to just go and have dinner and returned at 7pm. However, the elevators were still not working.
He waited until after 8pm before a lift maintenance worker turn up. By that time, more than 10 residents gathered at the void deck to wait for the lifts to be repaired.
“The block is 18 floors high and I live on the 17th floor. It’s really not easy to climb that high, so I could only wait patiently. I got home after 9pm, after the lifts were fixed,” he said.
Meanwhile, a 56-year-old resident who wished to be called Mr Huang said in an interview with Wanbao that he waited for four hours for the lifts to be fix, saying that he had gone home at about 6pm when he was told that the lifts were down.
Mr Huang said, “I waited outside for four hours and went home only after 10pm. Actually, the lifts have been breaking down at least once a month since September last year. This has been very inconvenient for us, but we’re also used to it by now.”
Sun Xueling, MP of Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, visited the affected blocks on Wednesday (11 January).
She wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday (12 January), “The fire alarm at Block 314B Cascadia had gone off twice (Tuesday) evening bringing lifts at Block 314B to a stop as a safety measure.”
“I have asked for an incident report from the agencies and the lift contractor as to why it took so long to reset the lifts thereafter as it had severely inconvenienced residents and could have had dire consequences if someone had been ill during the incident,” she said.
In October last year, a resident of Waterway Cascadia, Jeremy Phua, had earlier written a letter to media outlets, hoping that they can help to publicise the frustrations and agony that the residents of the housing estate have been going through ever since they moved in.
According to Phua, the residents of the new BTO project started receiving their keys in the beginning of the year and home renovations are still ongoing with less than 50% occupancy rate at the moment.
Phua received his keys in May and moved in September after the renovations are completed. Although It has been just over a month or so, but he has been calling Town Council, EMS almost every other day because of the lift issues his block is having. However, the lift issue is not just with Phua’s block but also the other blocks in the estate.
Phua states that the lift will often get stuck at various levels and stop working. And more often than not, they will stop at a level and the doors cannot close fully. Residents have to push both sides of the door to get it closed so that it continues moving. This happens at every level the lift stops at. Despite the estate being not even fully occupied, yet such issues still come up. Phua’s block is 18-storey high, each level having around 10 units and served by only 2 lifts.
There were also 80 people signing a petition for the lifts to be replaced as they concern that the glitches could pose a safety hazard.