9Lifts and Escalators

Quick, reliable and safe vertical circulation is an essential feature of most commercial buildings and larger residential developments. Lifts (also known as elevators) and escalators are the primary means of moving people, goods and equipment between different levels within buildings. Staircases are still required as an alternative means of escape in the event of a fire or when the lift or escalator is out of use (e.g. for routine maintenance). Lifts and escalators are prefabricated in factories by a small number of manufacturers, transported to site, installed and commissioned prior to use. These comprise ‘standard’ lift cars and escalators, as well as items made to specific customer requirements. Although the design and commissioning of lifts and escalators is the domain of engineers, there is a considerable amount of building work required to ensure that the mechanical equipment can be installed safely. This chapter provides a short description of mechanical transport systems.

9.1 Functional requirements

The functional requirements for staircases were set out in Barry’s Introduction to Construction of Buildings. In buildings with a vertical change in floor level, it is necessary to provide a means of transport from one floor to another, both to improve the movement of people within the building and to allow access to all parts of the building for everyone, regardless of disability. Lifts and elevators provide quick, reliable and safe vertical movement ...

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