The government put in place a new rating system for lift maintenance contractors yesterday, dividing the companies into three categories according to their track record. They will be rated according to whether they have no safety or maintenance problems, no safety issues but maintenance problems, or if they have safety problems and are being warned and investigated. The system is temporary and will be reviewed based on the work of the contractors in the past year. Its main purpose is to give property managers a reference when choosing lift contractors but the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department is considering linking it with law enforcement in the future. "We are separating those with problems in maintenance and those that have safety problems, as some members of the public expressed that safety is more important then maintenance," a department spokesman said. The previous system ranks the 35 registered lift contractors based on a score calculated by combining its maintenance and safety performance. "The previous system was questioned for the way the rankings were considered," said the spokesman. He added that the purpose of the temporary system is to make the ratings simpler and clearer. The department said it would consult the Lift and Escalator Safety Advisory Committee, which is to be established shortly, on the review and proposed improvements to the system. Property manager Urban Group's executive director Bevis Leung Wai-shing welcomed the new system and said it should be better for property managers and owners. "It makes it easier for us to review the present contractor and for property owners to choose a contractor," he said. Former legislator Ip Wai-ming, of the Federation of Trade Unions' rights and benefits committee, said other than reviewing the performance rating system, the government should enhance law enforcement and prosecute those that have safety problems. Last month, seven people were injured when all four cables of a lift in a North Point building snapped because they were rusty. Shineford Engineering, which was contracted to maintain the lift, has been suspended for six months.