SOLUTIONS FOR OPEN SHAFT LIFT SAFETY CONCERNS

In 2017 the Parkland Building in Alderley Park, Cheshire was to be sold by its owners, Bruntwood Ltd, to Royal London. Under Bruntwood’s plans the building was to undergo a broad refurbishment and extension programme - and ultimately a name change - to become Royal London House.

A LOT CAN HAPPEN IN 18 MONTHS

During an 18-month period the redevelopment of the 140,000sq ft building, that sits across five floors, was to include a circa 38,000sq ft extension spanning the southern façade of the building across all floors.

FIVE FLOORS FIVE LIFTS

An essential part of the extension and refurbishment programme focused on the building’s five existing lifts. The overriding requirement was that lifts provide a minimum 20-year life cycle while also accommodate the potential increased population of the building.

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INSPECTION, ANALYSIS & RECOMMENDATION

To this end, Bruntwood instructed leading consultant engineers, LECS UK, to audit the lifts and assess the current offering.

Following extensive inspection combined with lift traffic analysis - considering the likely impact of the increased occupancy of the building to 1,260 people plus the requirement for a 20-year life expectancy, LECS UK concluded that a modernisation programme was not a viable option.

Its recommendation was the installation of five new lifts. Three of these lifts were open shaft scenic aspect lifts and the remaining two lifts - previously used as goods-only lifts - were to be replaced by two passenger & goods lifts. The three scenic passenger lifts would transport the majority of the building’s population and would remain a centre-piece of the building’s large feature atrium.

SPECIFICATION

A detailed specification for the new lifts and their demands was compiled by LECS UK. As expected the specification for this particular project considered the main areas;

  • What format of equipment is required?

- Will it be fit for purpose?

- Will it provide the lifespan required?

- Will it conform to standards & statutory legislation to prevent post-installation issues?

- How to accurately compare competing tenders?

- Are all contractors quoting for the same elements and the same value added?

John Bentley of LECS UK said: “Getting the exact specification right at this stage is imperative. The specification informs the tender document and as well as the assessment of tender responses. From experience we know that occasionally a contractor’s desire to present the best price, and their response to tender in a more favourable light, can sometimes lead to the exclusion of minor, but often crucial elements. Overlooking these shortfalls early in the design process can result in increased costs during and/or after installation.”

LECS (UK) issued the tender document to the open market via the main contractor J F Finnegan Ltd. Classic Lifts, a UK based lift company, were successful in offering the best engineering and economically viable solution.

The new lifts for the building, three open aspect scenic lifts (open back to lift shaft) and two passenger & good lifts were supplied by Classic Lifts’ manufacturing partners MP Lifts in Spain.

CHALLENGES

The control and drive machine of the existing atrium-facing triplex group of scenic lifts was located at the head of the shaft. Not only was this visible but there was also an element of noise pollution. Even more importantly, there was on-going safety implications and risk for those working on and maintaining these open shaft lifts.

Adrian Crane of Classic Lifts said: “This provided us with an ideal opportunity for redesign to help reduce the safety risk and eliminate the noise pollution. Our design expertise in this project was key to providing the best value options to the client “

ENGINEERING OUT THE RISK

LECS UK came up with the concept of relocating the drive and control equipment of the three lifts to a reclaimed area above the lift shaft working with Classic Lifts to design and engineer the relocation.

The area above the lift shafts was originally unused and formed part of the service area walkway around the top of the building atrium. The successful result provided much easier access for lift maintenance, thereby reducing the risk of lift maintenance being carried out in an open lift shaft within an open atrium of a high population building. This solution was the best possible option within the constraints of the existing building and proved very successful.

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The area above the lift shafts benefited from newly installed machines, machine support steels, over-speed governors and control panels. A steel chequerplate was fitted between the structural steel supports to create a safe working area. The installation is fully compliant with BS EN81-20 & 50.

Ric Burgess of Bruntwood Ltd, commented: “LECS UK are a very trusted pair of hands. The advice and engineering expertise of this leading engineering lift consultancy in projects like this is a necessity. The entire project, overseen by LECS and delivered by Classic Lifts was a great success – delivered on time and within budget.”

This entire project was completed in less than 12 months, and now the all-new Jefferson building is Royal London’s new HQ.


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NOTES

LECS (UK) Ltd is a leading engineering consultancy specialising in vertical transportation, lifts, escalators, cable cars and all forms of lifting and mechanical handling equipment. As a highly specialised team of engineers, it provides expert independent engineering consultancy services to a vast range of clients worldwide. Areas of expertise include maintenance audits, specifications for new installations and modernisations, project management, traffic analysis, witnessing of commissioning, statutory inspections, expert witness & loss adjusting, surveys and training.

Classic Lifts was established in 1990 and is a leading UK based national lift company providing professional lift maintenance, repairs, modernisations and new lift installations. Privately owned by the senior management, Classic Lifts delivers exceptional customer service backed by the latest technology and engineering expertise.