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A SPANNER in the works

Michael Burns gives us the lowdown on liftmaintenance

underhealthand safety legislationtoensure that theequipment is properlymaintained. In other words, it is important that the performanceofyourliftdoesnot deteriorateto theextentthatitputspeopleatrisk. Formost blocks–unlessone of your residents


operatesaLEIAregisteredliftcompany -this means taking outaliftmaintenancecontract to ensure your equipmentmeets the relevant safety standards. This does not need to be with thecompany that installed thelift, although inmost cases it is best to have theinstaller maintainthe lift at leastfor thefirst 12months so that you are covered by thewarranty issued. However, thereisnolegal obligation to do this. Alift should always comewith awarranty that will cover allmaterials andworkmanship onanewlift installation,atleast asixmonth warranty on allrefurbished lift equipment and12monthsonany lift equipmentthatwas replaced.Atthe endofthewarranty period, should younot be happywiththe installer, or wish to findalternativemaintenancecosts, youhavethe righttoseekanewcontract with another lift company of your choice. Lifts represent aconsiderablecapital

investment so is importanttoensurethatthe performance, reliability andlifeexpectancyof theequipment ismaximized over itslife. This requires competentand effective preventive liftmaintenancetobecarried outbylift companiesthatare registered with theLEIA (Liftand EscalatorIndustryAssociation)and have trained andqualifiedliftengineers.There arearange of different contractsout there that youcan choose fromandsometimes this causes confusion–sowhich should youchoose andwhatdotheycover? Liftmaintenancecontracts generallyfall

into three categories: ■standardcontract–Oil andGrease.

This type of agreement only includes the actualmaintenancetogetherwithsome consumables. Callouts,repairs andspare parts

are all chargeable. ■intermediatecontract – This is themost common form of contract andincludesall the standardmaintenanceitemsplusthe labour cost for all callouts. All repairs and parts are

chargeable. ■comprehensivecontract–Thiscoversthe sameitemsasthe standard andintermediate contracts abovebut also includesmost parts

Flat Living Spring2012

anYOneWhO is responsible fora lift in ablock of flats,whether they are a landlord,managing agent, RMC or RTMCo, has a duty of care

andrepairs.Callout attendance that is due to “misuseand abuse”,“vandalism”, power failure, flood,fire damage andany “major components” such as winding gears, processor boards andcontrollerdrive unitsare normally excludeddue to theirhighreplacement costs. Equipmentmay need to be checked

frequently to ensure that safety relatedfeatures arefunctioning correctly. Afaultwhichaffects availability of service is normally apparent within ashort time;however,afault in a safety-criticalsystemcould remain undetected unless appropriate safety checks areincluded in maintenanceactivities. As aresultitisworth consideringtaking

outabespoke contract,designedtomeetthe specificmaintenancelevel of theliftand the particular requirements of both the site and theresidents.Bydoing this theRMCor RTMCo

directors can decide: ■thefrequency atwhichmaintenance activities arecarried outand routinevisits made,ratherthanbedictatedtobyastandard

form of contract; ■the level ofmaintenance required; and ■visits can be timed so as not to clash with

residents’ dailyroutines. The extent and complexity ofmaintenance

can vary substantially fromsimple checks on basicequipment to integratedprogrammes for complex installations. Of course thebig questionfor anyone

managing ablock of flats is ‘howmuch will all this cost?’ This dependsonthe location of the block, type of lift installation,numberoffloors, complexity of the lift, access availability, number ofmaintenancevisitsrequired, cost of parts, type of coverrequired, specificdaysto attend site and the number of lifts on one site. Although each lift andsiteisdifferent, here is a

rough guide towhat you can expect to pay. ■ Forastandardmaintenanceagreement on apassenger lift locatedwithinablock serving twotosix floors(Gto5)costswould rangefrom

£250.00 to £350.00 (exclusive of Vat) per annum. ■Foranintermediatemaintenance agreement onapassenger lift locatedwithinablock serving twotosix floors(Gto5)costswould rangefrom

£500.00to £650.00(exclusive ofVat) perannum. ■For a comprehensivemaintenance agreement onapassenger lift locatedwithinablock serving twotosix floors(Gto5)costswould rangefrom £700.00to £950.00(exclusive ofVat) perannum. As well as taking onamaintenance

contract,there aresomethingsthatresidents can do themselves to help keep lifts in good workingorder.Bottomliftlandingdoor

entrance Drive unit


Revision box

operator Door


installation Car door

electric Speed

Machine room

Ventilation window

Control panel

Drive crank

Auxiliary crank

Auxiliary crank bearing

Emergency andventilation window

Flexible cable

Overload unit Car suspension unit

Car sleeve sheet


Automatic floor door

Automatic floor door

Car Parachute

Load chasis

Counterweight rail Car rail

automatic floor door

Pitbottom border switch

Semi- Rail support Buffer

Speed regulator bottomsheave

Inmost cases it is best to have the installer maintainthe lift at leastfor the first 12months

tracks sometimesget filledorjammedwith an obstruction and if the obstruction can be easily removedorcleared on site then this cansaveunwantedcostsand lift downtime. Amajorityofliftcar doorsare fittedwith safety edgesormagic eyes,which detect an obstruction in between the doors and the entrance.Ifsomething is detected,thiskeeps thedoors in theopenposition. Again,ifthe obstructioncan be easily removed, thismay save calling out an engineer. Other problems to look out for are poor floor levelling, vibrationand harshstoppingwhichare all signs of possible poorperformance.Ifyou are notcertain aboutthe lift’s operationorare concerned about a noise coming fromthe lift it is always best to call theliftmaintenance companyasmoredamagecan be caused if a problemisignored. Ultimately all of us should be diligentwhen

it comestohealthand safety.Itisfar better to tellwhoeverisresponsible forthe liftsinyour block about something that you have seen or heard the lift do that it hasn’t done before, than to ignorethe problemand hope it will simply go away.●

MichaelBurnsCompany Director, ElevationLiftServicesLtd Tel 0800 634 6515


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