Competition watchdog to probe industry practices in the supply of HDB lift parts

SINGAPORE - The Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) is investigating "restrictive industry practices" in the supply of lift spare parts in HDB estates.

This follows a complaint that CCS received, alleging that several companies were refusing to supply lift spare parts to third-party contractors for the maintenance of lifts. 

Town councils are required to carry out regular maintenance for lifts installed in HDB estates.

Typically, multiple brands of lifts are installed in each HDB estate. Town councils can choose to either appoint the original lift installers or appoint third-party lift maintenance contractors to provide lift maintenance services for all brands of lifts within the estate.

In a statement today (July 14), CCS said it understands that there could potentially be cost savings in engaging a third-party lift maintenance contractor for multiple brands as compared to having to procure lift maintenance services from each original lift installer.

Lift contractors that wish to tender for lift maintenance projects, which include multiple lift brands, would require brand-specific lift spare parts.

Town councils select their lift maintenance contractors based on many factors such as price, technical competency, availability of genuine spare parts, response time, relevant experience of service personnel and track record of the company.

If the third-party lift maintenance contractors cannot obtain the lift spare parts for each lift brand, town councils would be reluctant to choose third-party lift maintenance contractors.

While a supplier has the freedom to decide with whom it wants to do business, a refusal by a dominant supplier to supply certain essential products or services could be illegal, the watchdog said. 

One supplier E M Services has come forward to supply BLT lift spare parts to third-party lift maintenance contractors here. 

CCS considers the commitment by E M Services as fully addressing the competition concerns.

"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," the watchdog said.