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New European Standards – EN 81-1 EN 81-2

Almost 3 years ago, new European standards for the design, manufacture and testing of lifts were introduced. The standards apply to both passenger lifts and passenger goods lifts and come with the catchy names of EN81-20 and EN81-50.

The introduction commenced with a three year transition period which ultimately will see the previous standards EN 81-1 and EN 81-2 phased out completely, by 31st of August 2017. From this date any passenger or passenger goods lift placed into service must comply with the new standards.

We are now two thirds of the way through this transition period and yet the awareness of the changes still seems very low, with many lift manufacturers yet to release their revised products to comply with these standards. This causes a real headache for those who are designing buildings today, which won’t be built until after August 2017.

To help you to understand the new standards, some of the key changes are summarised below:

Passenger safety

• Full height multi-beam light curtain to prevent the lift doors contacting a user

• Increased lighting level within the lift car

• Increased emergency lighting level within the lift car

• Increased strength of lift doors and lift car walls

• Increased fire resistance for lift car interiors

Maintenance engineer safety

• Requirement for a lift pit access door for pits deeper than 2.5m

• Larger safety spaces in the pit and above the lift car

• Additional maintenance control located in the lift pit

• Improved lift car top handrail requirements

• Increased sizes of access doors to machine rooms, pulley rooms etc.

Building design changes

• Potential for increased headrooms and pit depths

• Requirement for pit access doors where the pit is deeper than 2.5m

• Larger access doors for machine rooms and other areas

• Shaft ventilation specification is now the responsibility of the building designer

• Shaft walls must withstand 1000N horizontal static force over an area of 0.3m x 0.3m

• Where there are accessible spaces under the lift pit, a safety gear must be provided on the counterweight (no longer acceptable to use a solid pier)

• Pit floor strength is increased to at least 5000N/m2 (imposed load) where there is an accessible space beneath the pit

• Requirement for fall protection measures for access ladders over 3m in height

• Minimum clear working height of 2.1m where equipment is maintained outside of the lift shaft, e.g. control panels at the landing.

Key information

As mentioned above, all new lifts placed into service after 31 August 2017 must comply with this new legislation.

The lifts that are designed to the previous standards must be complete, commissioned, tested, signed off, and certified on or before 31st August 2017, with no flexibility for projects that have commenced design, planning or construction prior to this date.

This is only a summary of the main changes that will affect lift and building design. The full legislation is detailed in the 250+ page European standard.

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