For the similar programme in Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) Public Housing Estate blocks in Hong Kong, China, Please refer to Lift Modernisation Programme.
Lift Upgrading Program logo

Lift Upgrading Programme logo.

Lift Upgrading Programme (usually abbreviated as LUP, Chinese: 电梯翻新) is a program run by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) in Singapore. It is a project which upgrades and improves elevators at HDB flats across Singapore which did not have elevator access to all units originally (all of them built before 1990s), and is expected to be completed by end 2014, although some 200 blocks will still not have direct elevator access for all units. HDB will research on ideas to solve these issues.[1]

Lift Upgrading Programme was also a part of the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP)[2], and IUP+ for optional choices in the 1990s.


HDB flat type blocks in Singapore with 7 or more floors built before 1990 were built with one or two, (and in some exceptional cases) up to six elevators that only served certain floors (usually in between 2 to 6 stories) to meet privacy and to reduce construction costs.

The goal of LUP is to upgrade, improve and modernize the existing old elevators so that they can serve all floors as possible. Elevators upgraded and modernized/refurbished under the LUP program have received the following specifications:

  • New cab design.
  • Fixtures - buttons and LED floor indicators (mostly provided by Dewhurst).
  • Center opening landing doors with see-through windows.
  • Automated voice guidance.
  • Additional car operating panel for those on wheelchair installed on sidecar wall (for high rise installations that serve 20 floors and above.)
  • New elevators for sections previously not having direct access to an elevator. These elevators are constructed as extensions, with two variants; one with the machine room on the rooftop, and one with the machine room at the bottom, in this case, bottom-drive traction which are more common.
  • Old lifts that cannot be replaced to provide direct access to all floors, such as those at stairwells in between floors, are removed and their lobbies walled off.

Additionally, newer flats with elevators installed under the LUP program also have the same specifications with those refurbished elevators in older flats. Newer flats that are 30 to 40 floors high have high speed elevators, mostly installed by Fujitec or Mitsubishi, and recently by Sigma Elevator Company.

Elevators in HDB blocks are often serviced or repaired by Essential Maintenance Service Unit (EMSU). EMSU is a 24 hours service provided by the Town Council in each HDB estates which repairing breakdown elevators and rescuing trapped passengers should the elevator experiencing failure.

Telemonitoring System (TMS)

The Telemonitoring System (TMS) is a system which monitors elevators in high-rise public housing, which was started out the HDB in 1984. As of August 2007, there are more than 17,500 elevators monitored by the system. TMS uses SCADA-based technology to monitor the status of the elevators in real-time from a centralized master station for events such as breakdown and trapped passengers. The elevator maintenance companies are automatically notified of any problem and in most cases, repairs are carried out even before a complaint is received. The introduction of TMS has resulted in better elevator performance as historical data allowed the Town Councils, who are maintaining the HDB estates, to pinpoint problem areas and improve the method of maintenance. Besides detecting problems with the elevators, TMS can also be used to carry out remote testing of elevators and other emergency standby equipment.

Timeline of elevator specifications

Main article: Elevators of Housing and Development Board, Singapore

List of elevator companies contracted in LUP

Here is a list of the elevator companies that are currently known to be contracted by the Housing and Development Board to supply elevators under the Lift Upgrading Programme.

Elevator companies Year Notes
BNF 2009 - present This is an elevator division that belongs to an engineering company. It mainly supplies home elevators with a capacity of only 4 persons for low-rise HDB blocks.
Chevalier 1970's, 1990s - 2003, late 2000's - present Chevalier is a company which supplies IFE elevators in HDB since in the late 2000's, other than being a supplier for Toshiba (for commercial and private buildings) and (formerly) Dong Yang elevators for HDB blocks. Originally they supplied Dong Yang elevators from the 1990's to 2003 and Toshiba in 1970's.
EM Services
1993 - present
(2007 - present supplying BLT)

EM services is a joint venture between the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Keppel Land Limited, and is also involved in estate management. Originally in the 1990s, they refurbished elevators as part of the Main Upgrading Programme (MUP), often plastering the original brand of elevator with their own. In 2007, they started supplying China-made Brilliant (BLT) elevators for LUP projects until now. These BLT elevators are easily distinguished by their hexagonal-shaped buttons.

Fujitec 1972 - present Fujitec is the largest elevator supplier in HDB since their presence in Singapore in 1972. From having only approximately installed 400 elevators for the HDB in 1973, Fujitec has now installed over 10.000 elevators for HDB. It mainly focuses on new elevator installations and refurbishments of existing elevators in older HDB blocks.
Mitsubishi 1980's

2000's - present

Mitsubishi originally supplied elevators for very few commercial HDB blocks built in the 1980's (such as in Block 134 Jurong East and Block 4 Woodlands). Throughout the 2000s, they supplied a rather large portion of elevators for HDB, mainly for blocks with 25 or 40 storeys, though they are hardly seen nowadays.
Sigma 2001 - present Sigma is a joint venture between Otis and the LG group. This company supplied elevators since 2001. They tend to make a two-note chime shortly before reaching a level, and make two 5-note chimes when doors are opening/closing. As of 2017, this company is currently banned from tendering new HDB projects since October 2015 due to multiple cases of elevator malfunction[3].
XJ Elevator / ULift 2007 - present XJ is an elevator company based in Henan, China, which have been supplying elevators for HDB since 2007 under the ULift brand. ULift was originally a brand of DTZ (merged with Cushman & Wakefield in 2015), a UGL Premas company. The first XJ elevator installed in HDB was at Block 235 Jurong East[4]. Early XJ/ULift elevator batches had their doors tend to be undecorated, and the buttons are in circular shape.


Upgrade vote and costs between Singaporean and Permanent Residents

Many PRs find this very unfair as only Singaporean residents get to vote whether they want the upgrade or not, while Permanent Residents (PRs) are not eligible to vote. Furthermore, PRs are to pay $10,800 for the upgrade if the majority agrees to the upgrade, while Singaporeans only needs to pay $540, the rest will be subsidised by the government and town council.

Blocked view

Many residents have complained that their home unit windows were blocked by the elevator's external shaft structure during upgrading programs, in this case when a new elevator shaft was being built.

Political issues

The upgrading of public housing, including the Lift Upgrading Programme (LUP), was a major issue in the 2006 Singapore general elections. The People's Action Party (PAP) had tied the scheduling of housing upgrades to the number of votes the party received in the election. The PAP claimed hat it was successful in raising the standard of living in the country, and argued that those who support its various policies, including the upgrading, should be given priority. In the hotly contested Aljunied GRC, George Yeo (PAP)  placed lift upgrading the "top of [his] priority list" so that the lift would stop on every floor in as many blocks as possible. Sylvia Lim of the Workers' Party (WP) accused the PAP of being selective in its upgrading programmes, arguing that this is a divisive policy.


Damaged Fujitec elevator in Marsiling

On June 9, 2013, a Fujitec elevator at Block 17 Marsiling Lane HDB, Singapore was badly damaged with the landing doors on the ground floor dislodged from the door tracks.[5] It was reported that the elevator damage was due to a door alignment defect, which was suspected to be due to vandalism, but it turns out that the damage was suspected to be from misuse by workers. A spokesperson for Fujitec said that workers who move materials in and out of the elevator would use a piece of cardboard or wood to wedge the doors open. This repeated force into the gap, would cause the safety edge to become loose, and lean outwards towards the landing doors and get stuck when the elevator goes upwards, causing the doors to be dislodged from the door tracks.[6]

Malfunctioned Otis elevator in Tampines

On May 2013, an elevator in a HDB block in Tampines suddenly ascended with the doors still open when a five years old boy was about to exit the elevator. He was pulled back by his father.The elevator was identified to be Otis .[6]

Elevator breakdown in Bukit Batok West

On October 18, 2010, an elevator at Block 115 Bukit Batok West HDB which identified to be a ULift had broke down and caused two youngsters to be trapped inside for an hour. Both youngsters were not injured. An investigation had shown that the interlocks has been misused by renovation workers renovating a flat. The renovation company was fined S$2000 and was ordered to pay for the repair works on the elevator.[7]

Death of dog in Bukit Batok 

A dog was strangled to its death in Bukit Batok as the owner entered the elevator with the dog and the leash hanging outside the elevator when it ascended. The incident was witnessed by an elevator rescue team and the owner was stuck in the elevator for 10 minutes, according to STOMP and The Straits Times. The elevator is most probably Fujitec by the look of the doors.

The elevator company was found not responsible for this accident but the dog owner was held responsible.

Women's hand severed by HDB elevator doors

On October 9, 2015, an incident happened at Block 322 Tah Ching Road in Taman Jurong where a women got stuck in one of the two elevators (Lift B) on the ground floor with her left hand trapped between the elevator doors. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has asked Jurong Town Council to suspend use of the elevator in question and to appoint an Authorised Examiner to probe the incident and submit a report[8]. The elevator's maintenance was contracted by Sigma.The sensors were found to be working and functional.

2016 breakdowns

Some elevators in various towns were plagued by breakdowns and malfunctions since early 2016.

Design and Aesthetic upgrades

Several elevators in Singapore which were upgraded before the year 2000 had aesthetic upgrades. The notable upgrades are:


  • Adding a wheelchair car operation panel for the disabled for elevators 10 storeys or higher
  • Adding a keypad car operation panel in Mitsubishi elevators in places with high population of senior citizens
  • Adding sensors to door bumpers (however some Express Lift installations in Toa Payoh don't have sensors added just yet)
  • Adding backup power device for new installations
  • Adding direct intercom communication to the Town Council in the area if a elevator is stuck/malfunctioned
  • Adding fault detectors in elevators (applies mostly for old elevators from the 1980's)
  • Adding enhanced brakes in old elevators installed in the 1970's onwards (in case the ropes snap)
  • Adding CCTV cameras in the elevator

In progress

  • Adding brighter LED lights in the elevators
  • Adding mirrors to doors for extra security
  • Adding intercom communication with Town Council


  • The majority of elevators in HDB flats from 1974 to present are Fujitec during its years of being HDB's exclusive supplier of elevators up till 1990. However in recent years, their prescence in newer blocks is becoming less common.
  • Most LUP elevators installed from 2007 onwards are IFE, EM Services, BNF, ULift, and Sigma although there might be occasional installations of Mitsubishi and Fujitec (though more common than Mitsubishi).
  • Most elevator's cab shape from the 1990s to present are octagonal, but some latest batch and modernized (under the LUP scheme) ones have normal square car shapes instead.
  • The average rated capacity of elevators in HDB flats are 8 persons/545 kilograms to 20 persons/1360 kilograms. Currently, the average capacity is 13 persons/885 kilograms
  • During the refurbishment of lifts rated 1200 pounds/ 8 persons as those lifts used the old imperial metric system, they were converted down to 540 kilograms/ 8 persons
  • Since in the early 1990s, elevators installed or modernized under LUP scheme are using Dewhurst or Everbright fixtures as their standard fixtures.
  • The current tallest elevator installations in HDB are at Pinnacle@Duxton, which is a set of 51-storey blocks and the elevators are Fujitec elevators installed in 2009.
  • One of the fastest elevator installations in HDB are at Blk. 79A-E Toa Payoh, which are 40-storey HDB blocks and the elevators are high speed Mitsubishi elevators installed in 2009. The speed is 3.5m/s
  • Studio apartments built for the elderly contain a special hospital (bed) elevator with extended door opening time and exclusive call function which will stop the elevator from answering any call along the way up/down.
  • There is another similar programme on the Singapore MRT.[9]
  • The longest surviving lift found in any SIT flat was found at Dakota Crescent, serving the residents for 59 years before they got shut down in 2017.
  • The longest surviving Fuji(tec) lifts not refurbished under MUP/ IUP were found at Blk. 112 Bukit Merah View (1973, shut down in 3Q2015) and Blk. 55 Sims Drive (1975/6, shut down in March 2018), with both lifts serving the residents for about 42 years before being shut down.
  • The longest surviving lift not refurbished under MUP/ IUP found in any HDB flat was found at Blk. 79 Commonwealth Drive (1964), serving the residents for at least 50 years before being shut down in 4Q2014.
  • The longest surviving Express lifts in any HDB flats were found at Blk 6. Upper Boon Keng Road, completed in 1971/2 and shut down in November/ December 2006, serving the residents for about 35 years.



  1. Flats with leases prior to 1993, as well as some jumbo flats.
  2. Main Upgrading Programme overview
  3. Lift manufacturer Sigma still banned from tendering for new projects: HDB
  4. XJ Elevator - History
  5. What happened to this lift in Marsiling?
  6. 6.0 6.1 Vandals damaged Marsiling lift but repaired already, says Town Council
  7. STOMP SCDF Officers Rescue Two Boys Trapped in Lift That Breaks Down Frequently
  8. Woman's hand severed after it got stuck between HDB lift doors
  9. Lift Upgrading Programme - Singapore Trains Wiki

See also

External links

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