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The performance of the tower block lifts has a significant impact on the quality and accessibility of the high-rise environment.
Existing lifts in tower blocks have often suffered from inadequate maintenance in the past and unreliable, cramped lifts with poor lighting can attract anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

A basic refurbishment of the existing lift cars with improved controls and lighting, along with a regular cleaning programme, can significantly enhance the day-to-day experience for residents traveling through the tower.
In situations where the existing lifts are too small to allow adequate access by people with disabilities, or where there are too few lift cars to provide a reliable and efficient service, more radical solutions must be sought. These could include installing larger modern lifts within the existing lift shaft, enlarging or creating new lift shafts within the tower, or even looking at the possibility of installing new lifts externally.

 

REFURBISHMENT OPTIONS

 Basic

Increase lifts size

Make lifts vandal resistant
Make lifts accessible

Good

Add Additional Lifts

 Exemplary

Add security measures

Increase lifts size

In tower blocks, where lifts are often the only practical means of getting around, small lift cars can be very inconvenient for residents and visitors who need mobility assistance or are trying to move bulky items through the building. Small lift cars can also make residents feel uncomfortable and are difficult to light in an attractive manner.

There are many advantages to installing new lifts that exceed the current minimum statutory space requirements in towers. Larger lifts can help accommodate the following:

 

·         Emergency service access

·         Stretchers

·         Coffins

·         Mobility scooters

·         Residents with bulky furniture

·         Maintenance and access equipment

 

Maximising space within existing lift shafts:

The simplest approach to increasing the size of the lift car is to maximise the use of the space within the existing lift shaft. Lift technology has developed significantly over recent years and replacing the existing lifts with modern space efficient designs could substantially increase the available space for the lift car. Modern lifts also require less service space than older models, potentially liberating service access cupboards and machine-room areas for other uses.

 

Providing a lift car that is 2000mm wide by 1400mm deep would allow space for a user of any type of wheelchair, along with a number of other passengers. This would also allow sufficient space for wheelchair users and people with walking aids to turn comfortably through 180 degrees. A 1500mm deep lift will accommodate most kinds of mobility scooter. It is advisable to consult with emergency and health services over their likely space requirements, particularly in blocks intended for older residents.

 

Other considerations

 

Enlarging existing lift shafts

Where the size of the existing lift shafts is proving restrictive it may be necessary to assess whether they can be economically enlarged. Detailed structural advice should be sought, as the lift shaft structure can often be integral to the tower’s overall structural stability. Explore combining two lift shafts into one to create space for a larger access lift, or extending into adjacent stores and redundant service risers.

 

Energy Efficiency

Choosing to install an energy efficient lift can make substantial operating cost savings. Magnetic drive systems are substantially more efficient than hydraulic or traction drive units reducing power consumption by approximately half. They also reduce the peak starting current by as much as 40% which can lead to savings in the power supply installation.

 

Benefits

  • Improved access for emergency services and maintenance contractors

  • Greater convenient for residents moving bulky items

  • Enhanced accessibility for needing assistance with mobility

Typical Cost

□  Cost of lift: £200,000 - £235,000

Increase to 13-person firefighting lift, serving 20 floors; including removing existing, replacing existing architraves, scaffolding, etc.

 

Funding opportunities:
□  n/a

Also see:

□  Lobby & corridors

More information:

□  www.cibse.org/docs/barney2.doc 

Suppliers:

□  Kone UK Ltd

To register as a supplier click here...

 

 

   

 

Add Additional Lifts

 

Adding additional lift cars can reduce waiting times and help provide a more reliable lift service. 

 

The robustness and reliability of the lift service can be very important especially in towers that are largely inhabited by older residents as the stairs may not present a realistic alternative for people with mobility problems if the lift service fails.  Particularly in very tall towers, it may be appropriate to install dedicated lifts that serve the upper section of the block only. This can reduce journey times for residents on the upper floors and offer the opportunity to create separate vertical access zones within the tower.

 

Where extensive repairs to the existing lifts are required with residents in occupation, installing additional new lifts could help to facilitate phasing and reduce the inconvenience caused by a temporary reduction in lift capacity.

 

Adding Internal Lifts:

It is important that adequate structural investigations have been carried out and that a structural engineer is consulted when considering options for adding new lifts to the block. Where existing lift shafts have spare capacity it may be possible to add additional lifts within this zone with relatively minor changes to the building fabric. If this is not an option, investigate whether additional lifts could be installed within existing stairwell voids. Cutting through floor slabs to create space for a new lift shaft may be difficult with residents in occupation due to vibration and noise disturbance but, if the tower is stripped back to the structural frame and re-planned, then this may become a viable option.

 

Adding External Lifts:

Where the provision of additional lift capacity has been identified as a priority but there is limited space within the existing tower then external lifts could be considered. These could be designed as independent ‘piggy-back’ structures or, if there is spare structural capacity, hung from the existing structural frame to eliminate the need for new foundations. As lift shafts are repetitive modular elements, consider prefabrication to reduce the installation time on site and disturbance to residents. Planning permission would be required for any additional structure and, with careful design, this could make a positive architectural addition to the tower exterior. Specifying new lift shafts and cars with glazed areas would open up views from the lift during the day and add a dynamic visual element to the tower at night.

 

Other considerations

 

Fire Regulations

It is important that building control and the local fire officer are consulted in detail about any new lift proposals that may affect existing means of escape arrangements or fire compartmentation within the tower. In some circumstances it may be necessary to appoint an independent fire consultant to review the existing fire safety arrangements and assist in the design of a bespoke solution.

 

Benefits

  • Improved reliability of lift service

  • Reduced waiting and travel times improves resident’s of quality of life and can reduce vandalism

  • New lift installations could accommodate larger lift cars

  • Enables extensive lift improvements to be carried out with residents in occupation

Typical Cost

□  Cost of external lift: £180,000 - £200,000

New 16 person lift serving 20 floors; excluding providing new lift shaft

 

Funding opportunities:
□  n/a

Also see:

□  Lobby & corridors

More information:

□  □  www.cibse.org/docs/barney2.doc 

Suppliers:

□  Kone UK Ltd

To register as a supplier click here...

 

 

 

 

Make lifts vandal resistant

 

Lifts in tower blocks have been prone to vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Making lifts vandal resistant can improve reliability and reduce the costs of repairs and cleaning.

 

In general all lift surfaces should be robust and resistant to damage from cleaning materials and body fluids. There should be no visible fixings and gaps between moving parts should be restricted to the minimum to avoid attack. Stainless steel is often specified in hostile environment, but where it is used decoratively it is important that it the surface is finished in a way that reduces reflectivity and achieves good visual contrast where it is required.

 

The following areas of the lift installation should be assessed for vandal resistance and improved where appropriate:

  • Machine Room

  • Landing Doors

  • Lift Cars

  • Controls and Indicators

Machine Room: The machine-room should ideally be windowless and of sound wall construction. A self-closing and self-locking flush fitting security door without rebates can help to avoid unauthorised people entering the room and damaging the lifting equipment.

 

Landing Doors: Lift landing entrances are prone to vandalism with doors and door sliding mechanisms particularly susceptible to attack. Consider minimising the number of door panels and making sure any vulnerable equipment is inaccessible or visually concealed.

 

Lift Cars: Interior finishes should be robust and the floor of the car must be able to resist the seepage of fluids. High levels of lighting inside the lift car can act as a deterrent to vandalism and British Standards suggest 200 lux at floor levels and at the lift controls, however, care must be taken to avoid glare problems. Provision of a mirror to the rear wall as required under Part M of the Building Regulations has been shown to provide a distraction for vandals but may be vulnerable to damage itself and must be designed to resist breakage. Fitting a mechanical locking device to the lift car doors can help to stop people jamming the lifts by attempting to force the doors open between floors. It is important that any locking device is designed to fail safe in emergencies and can be unlocked from the outside by an authorised person.

 

Controls and Indicators: Tamper proof controls should be installed flush with the wall of the lift car or landing with no visible fixings and must be flame and water-resistant. A clear visual indicator showing why the lift is out of order or unavailable at each landing can help identify when vandalism is occurring and allow appropriate action to be taken.

 

Other considerations

 

Lift Performance

Reducing the time people have to spend waiting for, and travelling in lifts can reduce the opportunity for vandalism to occur. Lift performance could be improved by fitting faster lifts, improving lift controls – for example by by-passing floors when the lift car is at capacity - reducing dwell time by offering a manual “door close” button and by introducing measures to dissuade people from obstructing the doors for excessive periods of time.

 

Transparent Lift Doors

It is often argued that vandalism is more likely to occur in areas that are out of public view. Installing lifts with fully or partially transparent vandal resistant glass doors could help to reduce unobserved areas for anti-social behaviour and improve security by creating a direct visual connection between the lift car and the lobby.

 

Benefits

  • Reduced maintenance and cleaning costs

  • Improved reliability and better quality of life for residents

Typical Cost

□  n/a

Funding opportunities:
□  n/a

Also see:

□  Lobby & corridors

More information:

  BS 5655-13:1995: Recommendations for Vandal Resistant Lifts.

Suppliers:

□  Kone UK Ltd

To register as a supplier click here...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make lifts accessible

 

As lifts are central to effective circulation in high-rise housing, it is essential they achieve a minimum standard of accessibility for the tower block to become an inclusive environment.

 

Recognised basic standards for an accessible lift are set out in British Standard BS 8300:2001 and Part M of the building regulations. An Access Audit on the existing lift arrangement is an invaluable tool to identify the changes required to make it accessible. In some cases a reasonable standard of access might be achieved by refurbishing the existing car and controls, in others it might mean replacing the lift entirely, increasing the width of structural openings at landings or even the enlarging the lift shaft.

 

Access to the lift: It is important that an accessible lift is well sign-posted and easy to locate from the entrance area. The lift landing doors should contrast visually from the surrounding walls, there should be a clear zone at lift entrance on each landing of 1500x1500mm, and the lift and landing doors should provide a minimum 800mm clear opening.

 

Lift controls and indicators: It should be possible for all users to reach and operate the lift controls, including wheelchair users and those with visual impairments. There should be visual and audible location and arrival indicators in the lift car and on each landing. Where there are a number of lifts serving a single lobby the specific arrival location of the lift needs to be identified. Lift controls need to contrast visually with their background and door controls must allow adequate time for people to enter or leave the lift including their assistance dogs.

 

Lift Car: The minimum acceptable internal lift car dimension is 1100x1400mm but the actual size specified may have to be larger to reflect the overall lift capacity available and the specific needs and disabilities of the residents. In lift cars that are too small to allow a wheelchair user to turn around, a mirror should be provided on the rear wall to allow the space behind the wheelchair can be seen. Visually and acoustically reflective finishes and dark floor colourings should be avoided, as these can be confusing for people with visual and hearing impairments. Lighting in the lift car must be even and without glare. A handrail should also be provided.

 

Other considerations

 

Fold down seat

It may be appropriate to consider installing a fold down seat within the lift to allow elderly or ambulant disabled people to rest while travelling between floors. Any seat would need to be vandal-resistant and installed in such a way that it did not compromise the accessibility of the lift.

 

Emergency evacuation lifts

Guidance is given in British Standard BS 5588-8 for the design of lifts that are to be used to evacuate disabled people in an emergency. An evacuation lift should be a passenger lift that is regularly in use with suitable structural, electrical and fire protection. It must be associated with a refuge area and be able to be controlled by an authorised person in the event of an emergency.

 

Benefits

  • Improved reliability of lift service

  • Reduced waiting and travel times improves resident’s of quality of life and can reduce vandalism

  • New lift installations could accommodate larger lift cars

  • Enables extensive lift improvements to be carried out with residents in occupation

Typical Cost

□  n/a

Funding opportunities:
□  n/a

Also see:

□  Provide vandal resistant doors

□  Concierge scheme

□  CCTV

More information:

□  Building Regulations Part M

□  BS 8300:2001 section 8.4

Suppliers:

□  Kone UK Ltd

To register as a supplier click here...

 

 

 

 

 

Add security measures

 

Providing lifts with enhanced security measures, especially where a concierge service is provided can improve the confidence of lift users and help to reduce anti-social behaviour.

 

Panic button and communication devices

Part M of the building regulations requires that a lift must be fitted with an appropriate emergency communication device. Ideally the lift car should be fitted with a panic button and a 2-way intercom. This should allow communication with a permanently manned location, either a lift rescue service that can provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year emergency cover or the tower blocks concierge who can then organise appropriate assistance. When the panic button is pressed the location of the lift car should be automatically communicated to whoever is providing emergency cover in the event that trapped passengers is unable to communicate. Consider providing panic buttons and a means of emergency communication within the lobby areas as well as the lift cars.

 

Alarms

Fitting an alarm device in the lift can help attract immediate attention when problems do occur. A clearly audible alarm sounder and visual alarm indicator should be fitted on the car and also at a remote manned location, such as a concierge office. When the lift is in motion, the alarm should sound whenever the alarm button is depressed. At landings the alarm should sound continuously until it is manually reset.

 

CCTV

Where a CCTV service is provided in the tower block consider extending this to the lift cars. Any camera fitting must be vandal resistant and preferably flush with the lift car wall. Use signage to make users aware that CCTV is operating. As well as a being a deterrent to anti-social behaviour, CCTV in the lift cars could help identify when lift cleaning and maintenance is needed and when assistance for disabled users may be required.

 

Alarm system Panic Button

Benefits

  • Deterrent to crime and anti-social behaviour

  • A faster and more appropriate response can be provided when problems occur

  • Provides a sense of confidence and security for residents

Typical Cost

□  n/a

Funding opportunities:
□  n/a

Also see:

□  Provide vandal resistant doors

□  Concierge scheme

□  CCTV

More information:

□  Building Regulations Part M

□  BS 8300:2001 section 8.4

Suppliers:

□  www.euronova.co.uk

To register as a supplier click here...

Project partners:           | Price Myers: Sustainability |Battle McCarthy | Architype | STBI | Franklin Andrews |            

           

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