Lifts Inspections

Gareth Lomax discusses what (occasionally) goes on behind closed doors in the lift industry…

At Ardent Lift Consultancy, we get to look at lifts, lots and lots of lifts! So many in fact that we are very rarely surprised anymore by what we find in lift shafts. However, whilst surveying this month, we found a lift where the condition of the equipment left us taken aback, as a recently refurbished lift was returned to service in a condition we would not expect to find in 2017.

As specifiers of works, we come to expect a certain standard of workmanship from the contractors that we use. We would like to think this standard applies both when they work for Ardent Lift Consultancy or for another client who may or may not be checking on what is happening within the lift shaft, as their professional pride is at stake with every project they are involved in (whether we are looking over their shoulder or not).

Generally, when looking at works we have not been involved in, the standards of workmanship within the industry are high. After all, there are many regulations which we have to work to and lift engineers are both mechanically and electrically competent (which should equate to a very high level of skill). Whilst it is easy to criticise other people’s efforts, we are confident that 95% of work undertaken in the industry is done with a degree of skill and commitment comparable to other trades whose work are clearly on display… but then there are exceptions!

Inspection for completed work

We were invited by a property manager to inspect a residential property where they had the lift refurbished following their acceptance of a quotation for works from a lift contractor they have worked with in the past. 

The quotation was for a basic overhaul of the lift system, including controller replacement, machine replacement, remedial works to lift car and landings. 

The quote did not address health and safety recommendations of EN81-80 (for existing lifts), which the lift contractor should have raised with the client at the time. 

Original Quotation

The original quotation included a number of items which appeared to be partially completed or poorly executed. In fact, the condition of the lift was so poor, we questioned whether the unit had been recommissioned following the refurbishment works. The below items were highlighted as shortfalls in the quotation:

  1. Supply and fit new trailing flexes – The flexes within the shaft appeared to be original from the installation.

  2. Fit new machine with raft and guarding – The original gear raft has been adapted, with the machine poorly secured to the raft and no guarding added to the installation.

  3. Fit new push buttons and indicator in the car – This had been crudely done, with the indicator poorly fitted and Allen bolts with penny washers used to secure the panel.

  4. Testing and certification as per BS5655 part 10 – A copy of the test certification should have been  obtained from the contractor at the point the lift was returned to service.

Additional Issues

Above the quoted items, there were a number of other issues we noted during our inspection visit which we recommended were addressed by the contractor who undertook the works. The condition that the lift motor room, lift car and shaft were left in gave the lift a part finished appearance and left question marks surrounding the validity of the test and whether the lift should be in service at all at this point. 

The below list was issued to the client for attention by the contractors:

  1. Lift car autodialler inoperative (failed to connect dial out when tested).
  2. Inspection speed of lift set too high.
  3. Trunking lids left off throughout shaft and motor room, trunking lids were perched on landing sills throughout the shaft and could’ve become detached and fallen down lift shaft.
  4. Bottles of fluid sat within top floor door frame (probably urine).
  5. Rope gatherer not secured correctly following replacement.
  6. Loose lock nut on counterweight side rope tails.
  7. Counterweight screen not reinstalled following re-rope of installation.
  8. Lifting beam not marked and no test sheet evident.
  9. Machine location puts hand winding wheel access in precarious place. Machine should have been installed on its end or rotated through 180 degrees if possible.
  10. No guarding installed within motor room and anti-jump bar for ropes left off.
  11. Redundant equipment (machine and controller) have been left untidily in motor room posing a serious risk to health and safety as the motor room is very small.
  12. Installation (lift shaft, pit, motor room) left in dirty condition with rubbish, debris, swarf, etc. apparent.
  13. Wiring throughout the installation is poor, lift car top covered in various electrical connector blocks in clear standing area.
  14. Ground floor landing indicator is damaged/cracked and the bottom part of the display is missing.
  15. The lift load plate has been removed from the lift and not replaced so currently there is no lift load/capacity displayed.
  16. Indicator blanking plate installed at all floors have fixings missing and should be completed.

Subsequent communication with all parties has seen the original contractor agree to return to the site and rectify the reported issues, which they had little to no choice in when presented with the facts from our attendance. However, the project would never have got to that stage if it had been correctly managed from the start. It will also be very difficult for that contractor to regain the trust of the client again in this circumstance, so no one wins when a project reaches this point.

Gareth Lomax is the Director of Ardent Lift Consultants who recognise the importance of offering unbiased and accurate advice to clients.