It seems that these summer months will be a little more complicated for those lift companies in Europe who are to install new lifts that are not adapted to the new harmonized regulations yet. This is because, for more than 30 years, the standards EN81-1 and EN81-2 have served as a reference for the lift industry, and now, the transition announced in August 2014 will end at the end of this month.
Much has been written about the changes incorporated by these standards EN81-2 and EN81-50. Basically, they improve the safety of both passengers and maintenance operators. Very briefly, with respect to the safety of passengers, with the new standard, doors will no longer be reopened by single beam photocells, which will be replaced by an infrared curtain; the resistance of the cabin walls and the door panels will be increased; the cabin will have a better lighting and passenger rescue operations will be safer.
About the safety of maintenance personnel, these standards establish higher safety space requirements within the shaft, both in the pit and the headroom; elements like the car top handrail, which should also be better lightened, are reinforced; for access to the pit, ladders are regulated and more automatic stop control devices are installed; moving parts like counterweights or shaft pulleys are more protected.
Manufacturers have had enough time to implement all these changes into their designs. However, due to the cost increase of implementing the new standards, some of them will squeeze the most out of time to deliver lifts manufactured under the prior standard.
In this respect, in the interest of knowing exactly what is going to enter into force next 1st September, it is important to differentiate between the placing on the market date and the date when a lift is put into service, two concepts that are sometimes confused. The date when a lift is placed on the market is the most important one and is regulated by European standards. This is the moment when the conformity assessment must be conducted and the declaration of conformity must be issued. This date must be prior to next 1st September. The date when a lift is put into service, or, in other words, the administrative registration date, if any, is determined by each national regulations (in Spain, it is determined by Royal Decree 203/2016) can be later than 1st September. The fact that, at the moment when a lift is put into service, the reference standard under which it was manufactured is outdated, doesn’t invalidate its correct commercialization, nor the declaration of conformity issued at the moment of its commercialization.
That means, lifts that are to be installed in accordance with the harmonized standards EN81-1 and EN81-2 must be installed and have a declaration of conformity signed before next 1st September.
Otherwise, it is more than likely that lift companies are forced to replace the lift with all the costs and nuisance involved.
Lift companies never rest, constantly delivering their maintenance and support service. Of course, they don’t rest either during holiday periods, especially in summer, when the workload can eventually increase in coastal towns. As we have seen, this summer will be somewhat more complicated for lift companies, particularly for those who haven’t been able to plan ahead.
José María Compagni - Owner and Managing Director at Docensas - Training for Lift Companies