There are a couple of issues involved here.
Sigma has been installing lifts in HDB estates for the past 10 years. Of the approximately 24,000 lifts in HDB estates, about 3,500 are Sigma lifts. The overall performance of Sigma lifts has generally been comparable with that of other lift brands.
So why did HDB restrict Sigma from tendering for new projects in 2015?
Failing to fulfil contractual obligations
In 2013, HDB awarded Sigma a tender to install 469 lifts. However, Sigma was unable to adhere to its contractual deadlines. Hence, in October 2015, HDB restricted Sigma from tendering for new HDB lift contracts so that the company could focus its resources towards fulfilling its existing contractual obligations.
Tender restrictions are a part of HDB’s quality management system to ensure that its contractors are able to deliver to HDB’s standards and contractual requirements. This applies to all HDB contractors, not just lift contractors.
Higher-than-usual breakdown and fault rates
In 2016, HDB observed a higher-than-usual breakdown and fault rate in lifts from this batch of 469 Sigma lifts, particularly in their first year of operations.
The issues with this batch of 469 Sigma lifts are different from typical lift faults or incidents, which usually involve older lifts, from a variety of lift brands, and which are largely maintenance related.
For the 469 Sigma lifts, investigations by HDB and independent Authorised Examiners revealed that the design and installation of these lifts complied with prevailing codes and standards.
However, the doors and sensors were more susceptible to misalignment from knocks from heavy and rough lift usage, which typically takes place during the first year of operations from renovation and moving activities.
HDB has since instructed Sigma to rectify these issues and to carry out improvement works to ensure that the lift doors and sensors operate smoothly. HDB has also issued stern warnings to Sigma, and is closely monitoring the performance of its lifts.
Both Sigma and its parent company have channelled more resources towards addressing the issues. In particular, Sigma has undertaken the rectification works progressively, and this has resulted in some observed improvements in lift performance.
HDB will continue to hold Sigma accountable for ensuring its lifts meet the required performance standards. Until this is achieved, the tender restriction on Sigma will continue.
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