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Thread: Condo residents sweat it out with high-rise lifts on the blink

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    Default Condo residents sweat it out with high-rise lifts on the blink

    May 22, 2007

    Condo residents sweat it out with high-rise lifts on the blink

    Frequent breakdowns at Bayshore Park since Feb; now technicians on standby till 18 lifts are upgraded

    By Amelia Tan


    A RESIDENT of Bayshore Park condominium in the East Coast woke up one morning last month with a swollen jaw.

    Mrs Payal Mohan, 31, made a doctor's appointment, but all three lifts in her 32-storey block were on the blink. So she and her husband waited for at least one to be fixed.

    An hour later, with the lifts still not working, the couple decided to walk down from their 26th-floor home.

    That would have been fine - except that Mrs Mohan was nine months pregnant.

    While residents of Bayshore Park's three 10-storey blocks have no problems with their lifts, those in the four high-rise blocks would have similar tales to tell.

    The lift breakdowns began getting frequent in February, and peaked late last month, when they were breaking down a few times every day. Each time they did, it took two to three hours for them to be fixed. If they failed after office hours, it would take five hours.

    Things started showing improvement about two weeks ago, when a company contracted to do a $2.9 million upgrading programme for all 18 lifts in the estate stepped in.

    Until the job is completed by November next year, the company has put technicians on standby through the week to service the lifts that break down. With them around, at least two of the three lifts in the 32-storey blocks have been working every day.

    Bayshore's 'lift saga' has been one year on the boil. The vice-chairman of the estate's management committee (MC), Mr Roger Jenkins, said the question of replacing the lifts was raised at last year's annual general meeting.

    But residents were against spending $4.7 million to replace the lifts, especially since breakdowns were then infrequent and upgrading them was cheaper. Besides, some pointed out, the estate may be put up for a collective sale, so spending the money seemed pointless.

    At an extraordinary general meeting held last October, it was decided that the lifts would be upgraded, not replaced.

    It took a consultant the next six months to propose an upgrading plan and estimate the cost, and for the MC to call for tenders and award the job. In that time, the lift problem worsened.

    Mr Jenkins said the previous company that serviced the lifts said there were computer software and hardware problems, and the lifts in the 21-year-old estate had endured heavy use.

    The Building and Construction Authority said regulations require lifts to be serviced at least monthly and inspected annually. But the upgrading and replacement of lifts are decided by the MCs.

    Mr Arthur Ngiam, who heads the Association of Management Corporations in Singapore, said: 'When lifts should be replaced depends on how well they are maintained and how heavily they are used. But normally, condominium lifts will be replaced when they are between 15 and 25 years old.'

    am[email protected]

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    Default Re: Condo residents sweat it out with high-rise lifts on the blink

    May 24, 2007

    Private condo management gives minority interests short shrift


    I REFER to the report, 'Condo residents sweat it out with high-rise lifts on the blink' (ST, May 22), on how a pregnant woman suffered because of the repeated lift breakdowns at the Bayshore Park condominium.

    This is a sad story and statement on the state of affairs in old private condos in Singapore.

    We live in an old condo in the Holland Road area and its lifts are very old and subjected to similar protracted and frequent breakdown problems.

    My daughter lives nearby in the Holland Village area in a similarly old HDB flat, but its lifts and everything else are better maintained.

    I have decided to move there as I feel it is safer because of my age which is well past retirement. Both my wife and I suffer from arthritis in our legs.

    I previously wrote in these columns on other troubling issues in private condo management, for example, the way accounts are handled, and even brought the matter to the attention of the authorities, but they claimed it is democracy in practice. To me, it is 'anarchy' in practice and gross neglect of the minority interests, for example, the elderly, sick or the racial minority.

    Condo management often is a shame in Singapore. In the place where we live, although there are only 27 units and 15 covered car parks, five of them have been 'reserved' by the members of the management council.

    No government can solve all problems by legislation, nor is it desirable to discourage private housing arrangements in a society.

    But where apartments are concerned, greater vigilance of condo management is needed to keep them in check.

    Bibhas C Ghosh

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