The lift that goes up must also come down

If you have a lift or even if you use one regularly, it’s likely you can imagine what life would be like if it broke down. How many stairs would you need to climb up and down? With groceries or the rubbish or with children or an elderly person – it becomes a daunting thought.

A recent story in the Domain section of the Sydney Morning Herald “Growing number of people getting trapped in NSW elevators, data shows” succinctly illustrates this point.

The story cites data from NSW Fire and Rescue about the number of people having to be rescued from strata lifts in the past 12 months. There is an 80 percent increase in lift rescues since 2014 according to the story.

Sure the number of high rise strata apartments has increased exponentially during that time but likely too has the number of buildings where plant maintenance, including lift mechanics, has not been adequately undertaken.

As the story notes, there are also a number of lifts that have reached their use-by date. SCA (NSW) President, Chris Duggan is quoted in the article about this issue. As a strata manager with a great deal of experience, he says that lifts installed in the 1960s and 1970s are reaching the end of their lifecycle but upgrades are being put off. The reasons for this are twofold – cost and the time the lift is off line. Having a lift out for a few weeks is not something that people are necessarily happy about.

Importantly there have been very few reports of people being injured and lifts continue to be one of the safest forms of people mover. Of course new lifts are expected to perform better than old ones and also have to comply with more safety requirements that might not have been in place when the older lifts were installed. The main concern with lifts is that there are now some smaller players in the market who might not be complying with all the safety or maintenance requirements.

If you have concerns about your lift – either its maintenance, age or whether it meets safety regulations – talk to your strata manager. They will know which experts are best to get in to check everything out. SCA (NSW) also accredits Strata Service professionals, so make sure your expert is an SCA (NSW) Strata Services Specialist.