The right time to modernise your lift

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free proposal

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Receive an obligation-free proposal

We offer an obligation-free quote.

The first step is a short phone or in-person meeting to better understand the needs of your committee and scheme. This will only take around 10 minutes.

From there, we’ll put together a tailored proposal, including our easy-to-understand fee package.

Submit our proposal form, including the best contact time, and we’ll be in touch.

Receive an obligation
free proposal

We'll need to get some details about your building. Let us know the best time to contact you.
This article has been provided by Rod Smith of LML Lift Consultants.

As lift consultants, two of the most common questions we are asked is, when is the right time to modernise your lift, and what factors influence this decision?

Let’s be honest, lift modernisation or replacement is an expensive exercise, not to mention an inconvenience to users during the upgrade period. Convincing building owners and asset managers to invest in this costly exercise should be carefully considered by the facility manager, providing a detailed report with the reasons for the upgrade, and the long and short-term benefits to the building and its occupants. This will ensure the scope, planning, timing, and budget are all considered before a decision is made.

As very little information or training on this subject is available, this article will provide a broad overview for those who look after buildings with lifts, and what factors should be considered when exploring an upgrade.

Here are 11 areas we believe should be addressed by facility and property managers in a review of a proposed lift modernisation.
  • Safety of the existing lift
  • Compliance with applicable country or state-based building codes
  • Disability access
  • Compliance with applicable lift codes and current authority requirements
  • Ride performance
  • Acoustic performance
  • Aesthetics
  • Longevity
  • Reliability
  • Serviceability
  • Building owner and occupier needs

1. Safety of the existing lift

Safety must be the first and most important consideration when deciding on whether to upgrade a lift. Issues identified in gearboxes, brakes, sheaves, or other major components that can only be eliminated through replacement; or design flaws like poor floor levelling accuracy in aged lifts, eliminated only through modernising the controller and drive mechanisms, must be addressed. Left unattended, these can potentially result in a catastrophic failure or ‘runaway’ of the lift.

2. Compliance with applicable country or state-based building codes

Another key area is compliance – with both code and occupational regulations, and whether the benefits of full lift modernisation could potentially outweigh individual updates.

For example, a building owner recently accepted a $150,0000 AUD proposal to address several known compliance and safety issues in their lift. The work, including extensive repairs, still retained components that were over 50 years old. While the building managers were acting to reduce risk – which they did, a better solution would have been full modernisation, addressing all compliance, safety and aging component issues at once. The long-term benefits and cost saving of this option would significantly outweigh the nominally higher upfront investment.

3. Disability access

Addressing disability access options should be a priority as part of any lift upgrade. Not only will it assist with the perception and lease attractiveness of the building, many government and corporate tenants today will only rent space in buildings where this has been addressed.

4. Compliance to applicable lift codes and current authority requirements

If your lift has areas of non-compliance, is it beneficial to only address these items, or would full modernisation be a more effective long-term solution? Of course, this answer will depend on the age and type of the lifts currently installed. In some countries, states, or territories there are no retrospective obligations to make the lifts compliant with current codes. There is, however, usually a regulatory obligation to eliminate or control hazards and risks, not to mention the onus of being a good corporate citizen.

5. Ride performance

Ride performance is measured in terms of the lift’s ability to transport people with maximum lateral, longitudinal, and vertical vibration comfort.

It is the opinion of the writer, that the design standard for ride performance will vary depending on the speed of your lift car. This can be measured by your lift consultant, in comparison to other modern lift systems and will provide the expected benefits of a lift modernisation.

6. Acoustic performance

The maximum noise level inside a lift car travelling at full speed, should be no greater than 55 – 60 dB(A). The lift car superstructure should be free of creaking and rattling, and capable of properly attenuating external noise from the lift shaft.

7. Aesthetics

A lift’s car interior should be aesthetically pleasing, meeting the standards of the market, the user’s expectations, and the design and architectural standard of the building.

8. Longevity

Longevity is measured by the number of years a lift can, through its design, condition and serviceability, provide the building with an operationally efficient service, without the need for a major upgrade.

It is the opinion of the writer, this should be not less than 15 years.

9. Reliability

Reliability is measured by the number of the lift’s breakdowns or faults requiring corrective action by a maintenance contractor.

It is the opinion of the writer that modern lift services should provide a level of reliability, not exceeding five callouts per annum for its entire operationally efficient life. When assessing reliability, a lift consultant should analyse the reasons and type of breakdowns occurring. Poor reliability may or may not be cause for an upgrade. A proper and in-depth analysis of the root cause of breakdowns will determine if the maintenance contractor has fulfilled their requirements in this area.

10. Serviceability

Here we cover serviceability with existing equipment in comparison to proposed new lift equipment. The serviceability of existing equipment is based on two factors.

  1. The availability of spare parts – are they readily available in commercial quantities or are they obsolete?
  2. Technical expertise. Technicians may not be familiar with older model components. It might be worthwhile asking your lift company or technician how many lifts with the same control system they maintain. If this equipment has all been modernised, then your technician may have limited exposure to ongoing problems, resulting in longer downtimes while faults are diagnosed, or spare parts are sourced or rebuilt.
If you do choose to modernise, beware that many recent software-based lift control systems are designed for servicing to be done by the original equipment manufacturer. Any new lift equipment should always have at least two maintenance contractors able to properly service and maintain the equipment for the duration of its operationally efficient life.

11. Building owner/occupier needs

Every building has different needs from a lift, and these must be considered in detail by the facilities or property manager – from aesthetic appearance of the interiors and fixtures, to people movement, waiting times, and time to destination.

Conventional versus destination control should also be considered and will depend on your people movement needs. This requires a full study by a consultant trained in the advanced use of the Elevate software.

For more information on lift modernisation, contact the experts and LML Lift Consultants.

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