Installing lifts in buildings is a complex process that requires careful planning, expert knowledge, and adherence to safety regulations. Whether you are constructing a new building or considering retrofitting an existing one, understanding the step-by-step process of lift installation is crucial.

At Northern Elevators, we provide our lifts services across the UK, from lift maintenance to fitting brand new lifts. In this article, we will guide you through the process, from assessing the building’s requirements to testing and certification of the installed lift. By the end, you will have a comprehensive understanding of how lifts are installed in buildings.


Understanding the different types of lifts

Before diving into the installation process, it is essential to have a basic understanding of the different types of lifts available. The choice of lift depends on various factors, such as the building’s purpose, size, and design.

Some common types of lifts include:

  • Passenger lifts: These lifts are designed to transport people between different floors of a building. They come in various sizes and configurations to accommodate different passenger capacities and travel distances.
  • Goods lifts: As the name suggests, goods lifts are specifically designed for transporting heavy or bulky items. They are commonly used in warehouses, factories, and commercial buildings where there is a need to move goods efficiently.
  • Service lifts: Service lifts are designed to carry both people and goods. They are commonly used in hotels, hospitals, and residential buildings to transport items such as laundry, food, and medical equipment.
  • Platform lifts: Platform lifts are suitable for buildings where accessibility is a priority. They are designed to accommodate wheelchair users or individuals with mobility impairments.


Assessing the building’s requirements

Once you have identified the type of lift that is suitable for your building, the next step is to assess the specific requirements of your building.

This involves evaluating factors such as:

  • Building dimensions: The size and layout of your building will determine the space available for the lift installation. It is essential to consider the dimensions of the lift shaft, pit, and overhead space required for the lift to operate safely.
  • Traffic flow: Understanding the expected traffic flow in your building is crucial for determining the capacity and speed of the lift. High-rise buildings with heavy foot traffic will require larger lifts with faster travel speeds to ensure efficient transportation.
  • Building regulations: Compliance with building regulations and safety standards is a critical aspect of lift installation. It is important to consult with local authorities and ensure that your lift installation meets all the necessary requirements.
  • Budget: Determining your budget for lift installation is essential as it will influence the type and specifications of the lift you can install. It is advisable to consult with lift experts who can provide you with cost estimates and help you find a solution that fits your budget.


Preparing the site for lift installation

Before the actual installation process can begin, proper site preparation is necessary.

This involves several steps to ensure a smooth and successful installation:

  • Obtaining necessary permits: Depending on your location, you may need to obtain permits or approvals from local authorities before commencing the lift installation. It is important to research and comply with all the legal requirements to avoid any delays or complications.
  • Clearing the area: The designated area for the lift installation needs to be cleared of any obstructions. This includes removing existing structures, equipment, or debris that may hinder the installation process.
  • Preparing the lift shaft: If the building does not already have a lift shaft, one needs to be constructed. This involves careful planning and coordination with construction professionals to ensure the shaft dimensions and structural integrity meet the lift manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Electrical and mechanical preparations: Lift installations require electrical and mechanical preparations to provide power and control systems for the lift. This may involve running electrical wiring, installing controllers, and connecting the lift to the building’s power supply.


Step-by-step process of lift installation

Now that the site is prepared, it is time to delve into the step-by-step process of lift installation. While the exact process may vary depending on the type of lift and building, the following steps provide a general overview:

  • Delivery and unloading: The lift components, including the cabin, counterweights, and guide rails, are delivered to the site. A forklift or crane is used to unload the heavy components safely.
  • Assembling the lift: The lift components are assembled according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This involves connecting the guide rails, installing the cabin, counterweights, and drive system.
  • Installing the lift shaft: If the lift shaft was not pre-existing, it is constructed at this stage. The shaft is built to the specified dimensions, ensuring structural integrity and compliance with safety regulations.
  • Wiring and electrical connections: The electrical wiring and control systems are installed, connecting the lift to the building’s power supply. This includes installing safety features such as emergency stop buttons, interlocks, and lighting.
  • Testing and commissioning: Once the lift is fully installed, comprehensive testing and commissioning are conducted. This involves checking the lift’s mechanical and electrical systems, testing safety features, and ensuring smooth operation.
  • Final inspection and certification: After successful testing, a final inspection is conducted by the relevant authorities to ensure compliance with safety regulations. Once the lift passes the inspection, a certificate of compliance is issued.


Common challenges during lift installation

While lift installation is a well-defined process, various challenges can arise along the way.

Some common challenges include:

  • Structural modifications: In some cases, existing buildings may require structural modifications to accommodate the lift installation. This could involve reinforcing walls or floors, which may cause delays or additional costs.
  • Coordination with other trades: Lift installation often requires coordination with other trades, such as electrical and plumbing contractors. Lack of coordination can lead to delays and conflicts during the installation process.
  • Unforeseen site conditions: Once the site preparation begins, unforeseen site conditions may be discovered, such as hidden structural elements or utilities. Dealing with these unexpected conditions can cause delays and additional expenses.
  • Compliance with regulations: Meeting all the necessary safety and compliance regulations can be challenging, especially if there are specific requirements for your building. It is crucial to work closely with lift experts who have experience in navigating these regulations.


Ensuring safety and compliance

Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to lift installation.

To ensure a safe and compliant installation, it is essential to:

  • Work with certified professionals: Engage experienced lift installers who have the necessary certifications and licences. They should be well-versed in safety regulations and follow industry best practices.
  • Use high-quality components: Opt for lifts that are manufactured by reputable companies and meet the necessary safety standards. High-quality components ensure the reliability and longevity of the lift.
  • Regular inspections and maintenance: Once the lift is installed, regular inspections and maintenance are crucial to ensure ongoing safety and compliance. This includes periodic checks of safety features, lubrication of mechanical parts, and testing of emergency systems.
  • Keep up with regulatory changes: Stay informed about any regulatory changes related to lift installation and safety. Regularly review and update your lift installation to comply with the latest regulations.


Testing and certification of the installed lift

After the lift installation is complete, thorough testing and certification are necessary to ensure its proper functioning and compliance with safety regulations.

This involves:

  • Performance testing: The installed lift undergoes rigorous performance testing to ensure it meets the manufacturer’s specifications. This includes testing the lift’s speed, capacity, emergency stop systems, and smoothness of operation.
  • Safety feature testing: All safety features, such as door sensors, emergency lighting, and interlocks, are tested to ensure they function correctly and provide maximum safety for passengers.
  • Inspection by regulatory authorities: A final inspection is conducted by the relevant regulatory authorities to verify compliance with safety regulations. They check if the installation meets all the necessary standards and issue a certificate of compliance upon successful inspection.
  • Maintaining records: It is important to keep detailed records of all the testing and certification processes. This includes documentation of the lift’s performance tests, safety feature checks, and certification records. These records serve as evidence of compliance and can be useful for future reference.


Maintenance and servicing of lifts

Once the lift is installed and certified, regular maintenance and servicing are essential to ensure its continued smooth operation.

Some key aspects of lift maintenance include:

  • Routine inspections: Regular inspections by trained professionals help identify any potential issues or wear and tear. These inspections should cover all mechanical, electrical, and safety components of the lift.
  • Lubrication and cleaning: Regular lubrication of mechanical parts and cleaning of the lift’s interior and exterior surfaces help maintain its performance and aesthetics.
  • Emergency repairs: In the event of a breakdown or malfunction, prompt repair and maintenance services should be available. This ensures minimal downtime and inconvenience for building occupants.
  • Upgrade and modernisation: Over time, lifts may require upgrades or modernisation to keep up with changing technology and safety regulations. Regular assessment of the lift’s performance and consulting with lift experts can help identify necessary upgrades or modernisation options.


Remember to engage certified professionals and keep up with regular maintenance to ensure the ongoing safety and optimal performance of your lift. Contact our lift experts today for a detailed consultation and find the perfect lift solution for your business.