Ensuring Safer Lifts Across New Zealand

Having regulation-compliant elevators protect the public and elevator personnel. This also prevents the need for emergency responders and indirectly keeps them safe as well. Every time lift accidents are prevented, building owners are saved from lawsuit, medical and repair costs and the risk of councils ordering the shut down of their building. This article presents New Zealand’s lift instalment regulations and offers an operator guideline.

 National Law and Standards

New Zealand’s Building Act sets the requirements for lifts’ instalment. The act states how a building consent must be obtained before the lift can be constructed or installed. The act also states the responsibilities of the building owner such as:

  • Perform inspections all through construction
  • Realise compliance schedule
  • Display the annually issued building warrant of fitness

The compliance schedule is the government issued schedule listing inspection and maintenance requirements that have to be done by independent qualified persons (IQPs). The IQPs will be responsible for issuing lift certification for each of the building’s lift. This ensures that the lift is maintained in good functional state and is safe for use.

There is also NZS 4121: 2001, a standard for designing lifts for persons with disabilities. The standard specifies that:

  • Lifts should be of commercial quality and that their cars are fully enclosed.
  • The lift car should be at least 1800mm x 1500mm to provide enough manoeuvring space for a person in a wheelchair and his/her carer.
  • The controls should be placed mid-way to be accessible to people in wheelchairs.
  • The car’s entrance should have two doors that open from the middle.

Operator and Personnel Guide

For everyday use of the lift, operators must be mindful that:

  • Inspections are conducted every day before the elevator is started.
  • Malfunctions and problems are identified quickly and that the lift is tagged if it must be repaired and not fit for use.
  • Only authorised operators operate the lift.
  • There is a protocol in case of lift malfunction or emergencies.

Having safe and well-maintained lifts have many benefits. People would be safer, accidents and down-times would be avoided, and local councils will not order the closure of the building.