For those properties with more than one floor you can often find passenger lifts to help smoothly move people between floors. For older properties this isn’t necessarily the case with restrictions in the layout and services, but certainly more the norm for newer properties with the need to effectively move people around other than via a stairway.
Classic examples are communal residential apartment blocks and commercial office blocks, where the landlord or owner maintains responsibility through a communal services charge. However individual owners and occupiers can still have these within their own area for their own exclusive use, and in actual fact from a property manager’s focus just on communal facilities, they can forget to note and check these.
As you might imagine, they’re a big and technical piece of kit that require specialist knowledge and input, as there are huge consequences of these going wrong in terms of potential injury to people in addition to general inconvenience and notable repair and replacement costs. There are other forms of lift for, say, goods or specialist disabled access, but for this purpose let’s just look at your typical passenger lifts for people, and keep it general.
The 3 main ‘CAP’ Points
So let’s take a step back, and look at things from a more general property management perspective. This means that not only has the lift got to be ‘right’, but the situation in which it operates and managed is also correct.
Therefore here are three simple stages to go through, all forming the acronym ‘CAP’:
In short, make sure it’s safe and compliant. There are legal obligations to have these independently inspected every six months or so, under legislation known as ‘LOLER’, which is separate to any general lift maintenance contract you have for maybe three or six monthly visits. These will not only make sure you’re legally safe to operate, but unearth any further in-depth inspections and works needed in the future.
You can also have separate engineering insurance cover for any future replacement cost of all this lift kit, which can be pricy to repair if things go wrong, with some insurers arranging their own independent inspections instead
In terms of your main maintenance contract, then choose your supplier and basis very carefully. Unfortunately you can end up with problems of long term commitments with certain suppliers, with price increases and high call out and repair works over and beyond just basic servicing and inspections.
This may sounds obvious, but you need to carefully plot-out all kinds of actions that could emerge from the lift, almost a worst-case scenarios brainstorm. This can range from not using the lift in the event of fires and power-cuts, to how any disabled persons need to separately evacuate the property both in an emergency and under normal circumstances.
Also plan for when things go wrong and the lift could suddenly stop, including what to do if people are still in the lift. You may need a phone line to the lift and an emergency phone for people to contact a 24/7 emergency call out service, or a separate policy stating that no one should use on their own in the building in case it did stop and no one was there to help them.
A definite no-no, is anyone trying to break-open a lift to get someone out – only for the emergency services or lift contractors when they attend site.
Tie everything up and communicate to people. You would be surprised how obvious this sounds and yet so little effort is made to implement, both to regular building users but also any visitors. This includes any formal procedures and lift policy to communicate to people, and signage both in the lift itself and just outside on each floor reminding people what to do in circumstances like fire and break-downs.
Placing a CAP on Your Lift
Whatever context you find a passenger lift, whether a direct responsibility for managing and servicing, or you’re an end-user that benefits and may pay for indirectly through a service charge, these three CAP stages are important to get things in perspective.
Begin with getting things complaint, and bring in expertise to do so. Then think through and plan what actions are needed in all kinds of scenarios. Finally, form procedures for everyone to safely use and respond to them. You can then effectively place a ‘cap’ on any fears that people have of things going wrong or costs escalating further.