Lift upgrading scheme to be completed by December

Amid MPs and residents' recent queries about delays, the Housing Board (HDB) has said that all blocks are on track to have their lifts ready by the end of the year - the deadline for the last stretch of the 13-year Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP).

The LUP, which strives to provide blocks built before 1990 lift access to every floor, will come to a close when lifts in the remaining 693 blocks become operational in December.

Work on 94 blocks, however, may spill over to next year, though the HDB clarified in a statement to The Sunday Times that this is to "upgrade existing lifts or remove lifts that are no longer required".

These blocks would still have lifts that serve every floor.

The $5.5 billion programme has been implemented in close to 5,000 blocks, benefiting around half a million people.

The Government foots most of the cost, with the town council sharing the remainder with flat owners who benefit. The residents pay sums ranging from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of $3,000.

However, there have been some complaints. Chief among these are issues about delays and lengthy construction work.

"Only one lift is servicing the entire block at a time so it's not really convenient," said a 53-year-old administration officer and Clementi resident who declined to be named.

In January's Parliament sitting, MP Zainal Sapari (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC) asked for the reasons for delays in lift upgrading.

Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan said the delays could be due to three reasons. These are poor planning or a manpower shortage at the contractor's end, changes in designs requested by residents, or delays in the diversion of underground services such as telephone lines.

Even after the LUP programme is completed at the end of the year, there will be some 200 blocks that do not have lift access to every floor, said the HDB. These blocks remain ineligible because of technical or cost constraints.

The HDB said it will continue to explore possible ways to bring direct lift access to residents of these blocks.

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