Why Lift Upgrading takes Two Years

REPORT: FABIAN KOH – The New Paper – 23 April 2012

HOW long does it take to install a new lift in your HDB block?

lf conditions are ideal, it would take less than a year, contractors say.

But that’s if they work on only your block full-time.

ln reality, it would take more than double that time to get it up and running.

The length of time it takes to complete HDB Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP) came up in Parliament earlier this month, when West Coast GRB MP Foo Mee Har asked if the time taken to complete an LUP project can be shortened.

Residents in Pandan Gardens had asked her why it can take as long as two years.

Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan told Parliament that although advances had been made in the process, it still takes about two years to complete LUP for each block.

But why so long?

Mr James Tan, project manager of Teambuild Construction, told The New Paper that it is because each LUP project is completed in stages.

They do not complete one block before moving to the next, but instead keep all the blocks progressing at the same pace of construction.

Mr Tan’s company is in charge of building the lift shafts for (LUP).

Mr Tan said:“The number of lifts we have depends on the contract that we have for a project.”

Each estate or precinct, as HDB calls them, may have five to seven blocks.  A contract would include around four to seven estates.

“Teambuild Construction has contracts that put us in charge of about 80 to 100 lifts. This number,however, may vary based on the contracts,” said Mr Tan.
All the lifts are built upwards in stages (refer to graphics), said Mr Tan.

They will complete the first stage of construction at the first block, then move on to completing the first stage at the second block, and so forth until all the blocks within their charge, are completed to that stage.

After that, the same cycle is repeated for the subsequent stages.

The various work sites have to be prepared to receive the steel lift shafts at the same time.  The lift shafts are pre-fabricated off-site.

Said Mr Tan: “lt is more efficient if we prepare all the steel lift shafts at once, then send them out to be installed altogether.

“The manufacturing of the steel lift shafts are done concurrently with the preparation of the ground, such as piling works and digging of the lift pit.”

Building process

This first part of the lift-building process could take up to four months for a four-storey block.

The work site is then handed over to the company that will install the lift car.

Mr Quah Eng Hing, general manager and director of Chevalier Singapore Holdings, explained that the first thing they do when they take over the work site is to check the verticality, or straightness, of the lift shaft.

They then get to work on the lift interior, with a two-man team working on each lift.

Mr Quah, who is also Honorary Secretary of the Singapore Lift and Escalator Contractors  and Manufacturers Association (SLECMA), said that his company’s part of the work, at best, can be completed in three months, for a four-storey block.

Said Mr Tan: “lf a lift was built individually, a four-storey one would be completed in just under  a year.”


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