Lift Modernisation for fire services

Modernisation for fire services

Lift Modernisation for fire services

A firefighter should be provided with a means of quick access to upper floors of large buildings beyond the height of their ladder. This was first recognised as far back as 1930.  Relevant Passenger Lifts were fitted with a break-glass key switch at the firefighters access floor, and when it was operated, bought the lift to that floor quickly. Also 800mm wide doors, capacity of at least 550kg and should have a speed that travels the height of the building in less than one minute.

Obviously additional requirements have been introduced since and still are being. This means there are existing lifts at different levels of standards as well as standard passenger lifts that may need to be upgraded or replaced to a firefighting lift.

Despite the UK having this long legacy of lifts provided for use by the fire and rescue services, even prior to BS 8899, there was very little guidance on how existing lifts could be improved.

Before the first publication of BS EN 81-72 in 2003 which defined a firefighter lift along with suitable building design measures, that would safeguard the firefighting lift since it was first published in 1986. Prior to BS 5588-5 lifts such as firemen’s lifts as described in BS 2655-11970 provided firemen’s control features, however without many of the building designs measures now considered essential for the protection of a firefighters lift and its users.

BS 8899:2016; improvement of firefighting and evacuation provisions in existing lifts was drafted to provide guidance for existing lifts installed prior to BS EN 81-72:2015, in particular, firemen’s lifts provided before the introduction of firefighting lifts to BS 5588-5.

fire fighter lift london

 Different existing lifts for fire services

With at least three different categories of lifts provided for the fire services use, it causes challenges for the fire and rescue team such as:

Establishing if they have a suitable lift for use and recognition of the type of level of protection and functionality available.

Please note: fire services are reluctant to use lifts prior to firefighting lifts described by BS 5588-5

When modernising a lift It is important to correctly classify and ensure correct terminology is used in the resulting lift.

Identify Lift Standard & How They are Used

fire fighter sign for lift
Fig 1 - Fully complaint BS EN 81-72
firemens lift lable
Fig 2 - Firemens lift, Firefighting. lift label

The lables identifies the lack of essential protection such as a fire-resistant structure, secondary power supply, water management etc. to assist with identifying if the lift might be a “firemens lift” a “firefighting lift” or a “firefighters lift”. BS 8899 includes an informative Annex B which summarises past provisions for lifts with operation in event of fire which have been around since 1970.

To be classed a Firefighters Lift, it would need to fully conform to BS EN 81-72. In this instance the firefighters pic of BS EN 81-72 can be used. (Fig 1)

To be classed a Firefighting Lift, the modernised lift would have to fully conform to BS 5588-5. However, the last version, BS 5588-5:2004 referenced BS EN 81-72:2003. In this instance and if the lift doesn’t fully conform to BS EN 81-72:2015, then the label as stated in BS 8899:2016 should be used. (Fig 2)

Any lift that has been modernised for the fire service and does not fully comply with ether Firefighters lift or Firefighting Lift is a “modernised lift for fire service use” as defined in BS 8899. This is a lift primarily intended for passenger use which has been modernised with at least basic protection, controls and signals measures that allow it to be used under the direct control of the fire service. In this instance the firefighter picture must not be used and the label should be used instead. (Fig 2)

Upgrading A Lift For Firefighting Use

BS 8899 addresses the recommendations for the improvement of firefighting provisions in existing lifts, however it does not provide recommendations for fire-resisting structure of the building or other elements of building designs and management. BS 8899 assumes the building designs and secondary power supply etc have been comply. See BS 8899, BS 9999 and BS 9991 for these.

Where ever practicable the modernized lift should meet BS EN 81-72:2015. In existing buildings where this is not possible the following guidance should be followed:

  • Identification Label (as per fig 2)
  • Fire Resistance Lift Landing Doors
  • Where the min dimensions of 1100mm wide x 1400 mm deep cannot be obtained. The fire service should be consulted to determine if the existing car size is acceptable.
  • If the existing lift speed does not meet BS EN 81-72:2015, it should not be reduced
  • Building designs prior to BS EN 81-72:2015 allow for a deviation from a max distance of 7m between consecutive landing doorsills.
  • Lift car frame and finishes should comply with BS EN 81-20, 5.4.4. Where this is not possible a car lining should be chosen to make the lift car a min fire risk
  • Protection of electrical equipment against water follow BS EN 81-72:2015. Where existing building architecture doesn’t allow for this, a permanent solution to prevent water entering the lift well as per BS999 is required. (avoid water pumps in the lift pit)
  • An emergency trap door should be in the roof of the lift car, where space allows. If not possible again a discussion with the fire rescue service is advised, to see if accessible.
  • The modernised lift control system should meet BS EN 81-72:2015 with the following exceptions:

–  Firefighter lift switch shouldn’t be marked with fig 1 and labeled with fig 2

–  A car key switch for firefighters service is not recommended.

  • Regarding loss of primary power supply and changeover to the secondary supply. The lift should operate as per required in BS EN 81-72:2015, 5.10
  • Confirm to BS EN 81-72:2015 for car landing controls. Phase 2 controls, operation of the firefighting lift should be by means of a full set of push buttons in the car, i.e. not with a keypad, nor should pushbuttons be replaced by a keypad since the option of a keypad is new in EN81-72
  • The modenised lift should have an intercom system installed between the lift car, the fire service access level and the machine room emergency panel as describe in BS EN 81-72:2015, 5.12

Refer to BS 8899 for full info

iKONC Lifts are specialists in Lifts for fire services

iKONIC Lifts are specialist in both lifts for pre-existing lifts shafts and firefighting lifts. Where possible ikonic lift can uterlise the existing lift shaft and make a larger lift car.

We are highly accredited and hold schedule 18 of the lift directive.

iKONIC can provide a quotation for a modenisation of an existing lift and a new complaint lift car subject to a site survey by one of our experts.

Simply contact Team iKONIC for more information.