KONE Partners with RIBA to Help Architects and Builders Understand Biggest Change in Standards on the Construction of Buildings with Lifts in the Past 15 Years

KONE partners with RIBA to help architects and builders understand biggest change in standards on the construction of buildings with lifts in the past 15 years.

KONE, the world’s leading lift and escalator manufacturer, has teamed up with RIBA to deliver CPD accredited courses that will enable architects and builders to learn more about new European Union legislation, EN 81-20 and EN 81-50 that are relevant to new lift installations.

These two new technical standards are set to replace the current versions that will be retired on 31 August 2017. Given that most multiple floored buildings with lifts take over 18 months to construct, the impact of this change is being felt now. This effect is increased as areas of responsibility previously covered by the lift manufacturer are passed to the architect for the first time. KONE and RIBA’s CPD courses aim to help architects avoid needless cost and design complications by raising understanding of the legislation and best practice ways of dealing with the new legal framework.

There are two parts: The first, EN 81-20, sets out revised and updated safety requirements for the construction and installation of lifts. The second, EN 81-50, defines the test and examination requirements for certain lift components. The new standards also clarify and improve the current building interface requirements. Together they replace the EN 81-1 and EN 81-2 standards that were introduced in 1998.

There are 12 major points of change contained within the legislation [Detailed in full below] of these KONE has identified three major areas which may potentially cause the biggest headaches for architects and builders:

  1. It has been common practice for architects to oversize lift shafts during the building design phase so that any lift manufacture can then fit their equipment in the shaft. However under the new regulations any excessive gap between the lift shaft and car will lead to the need for a higher car top guardrail and so an increased headroom dimension. The knock-on effect of this could be the need to reduce the ceiling height per floor or increase the overall building height. The design of lift pits also needs consideration as there could be a need for deeper pits, especially if they are suspended over accessible space as a counterweight safety gear will be required. To ensure the safety of personnel the new standards have reviewed the method of access to pit areas and those deeper than 2.5m will require steps incorporating into the design.

  2. Lift shaft strength and ventilation is now the responsibility of the architect and not the lift manufacturer. The lift shaft strength has been increased to 1000N. These changes build in cost implications during the design and build stage. Architects not only have to consider shaft strength, the materials from which the shaft is constructed but also the ventilation requirements for the shaft when the building is operational and the heat output of all lift components, while at the same time considering energy outputs and the comfort of passengers inside the car and working conditions for engineers working in the lift shaft.

  3. Fire safety in the lift shaft is also the responsibility of the architect and not the responsibility of the lift manufacturer. This area has specific requirements such as when sprinklers and emergency lighting can be activated and when they cannot.

Michael Williams, Managing Director of KONE Great Britain, says: “Lift technology is consistently evolving and this new Standard is an improvement in overall safety, while also the passing of some significant areas of responsibility to the architect. It will mean that architects and lift manufacturers are going to have to work closely together at the design stage to ensure that internal building space is optimized, costs are carefully managed and energy savings are built into the vertical transport system.

“Our vision is to deliver the best People Flow experience and we were the first company to ensure that all our lift equipment complied with this new Standard. We are now working closely with RIBA to provide CPD courses that help both architects and our end customers to consider the new Standard and develop lift transportation that enhances their building through safe, effective and efficient design.”

KONE’s RIBA courses take place from 12 June – 8 December at venues across the country. To book please visit www.architecture.com/cpd2016

In addition to the RIBA Courses KONE also has a comprehensive briefing on its website – http://bit.ly/1suNRoZ


About KONE www.kone.com
At KONE, our mission is to improve the flow of urban life. As a global leader in the lift and escalator industry, KONE provides lifts, escalators and automatic building doors, as well as solutions for maintenance and modernization to add value to buildings throughout their life cycle. Through more effective People Flow®, we make people's journeys safe, convenient and reliable, in taller, smarter buildings. In 2015, KONE had annual net sales of EUR 8.6 billion, and at the end of the year close to 50,000 employees. KONE class B shares are listed on the NASDAQ Helsinki Ltd. in Finland.


1. Requirements related to Unintended Car Movement (UCM) and ascending car over-speed

The requirements for the protection mechanism that address the risk of the car moving away from the landing have been enhanced, and the requirement for protection against ascending car over-speed has also been extended to cover rescue operations. KONE already has lift solutions available that include standard features to address unintended car movement through automated daily testing of the hoisting machine’s brake torque and capacity. KONE lifts also include standard features that address the risk of uncontrolled speed when the car is ascending.

2. Door detection systems for passenger safety

To reduce the risk of doors striking passengers while they are entering or exiting the car, the updated standards require lifts to incorporate a curtain of light mechanism – a non-contact detection system that is designed to prevent the doors from closing if an obstruction is detected. Photocell-based mechanisms will not be compliant with the new standards.

3. Lift car door locking mechanism

The updated standards require lifts to incorporate a car-door locking mechanism that aims to prevent the doors from being opened from inside when the car is outside the unlocking zone – i.e. when it is not in close proximity to the landing doors. This requirement has been introduced to prevent entrapped passengers from accidentally falling into the lift shaft if they attempt to escape from a lift that has stopped outside the unlocking zone. KONE offers this type of mechanism, fulfilling the updated requirements for all its lift solutions.

4. Fire classification of lift car materials

The requirements for the materials used for car floors, walls, and ceilings have been updated in the new EN 81-20 standard. These materials must meet stricter fire classification requirements according to EN 13501-1.

5. Car and landing door and wall strength

The EN 81-20 standard includes updated strength requirements for both landing and car doors, as well as car walls. Doors must now include retainers to keep the door panels in place if the main guiding elements do not operate as intended. Car and landing doors must also be tested to withstand an impact force equivalent to the impact of a person colliding with the door at running speed.

6. Car and shaft lighting

The EN 81-20 standard requires higher levels of lighting for the car interior and the shaft, with the aim to enhance passenger safety and accessibility. In-car lighting must now provide an illumination intensity of 100 lux instead of 50 lux, and emergency in-car lighting 5 lux for one hour instead of 1W for one hour. To enhance safety for service engineers, the new requirement for emergency lighting on the car roof is now 5 lux for one hour. The new requirements for shaft lighting are as follows:

  1. 6.1  Minimum 50 lux 1 meter above the car roof within its vertical projection

  2. 6.2  Minimum 50 lux 1 meter above the pit floor everywhere a person can stand, work, and/or move between the working areas

6.3 Minimum 20 lux outside of the locations defined above, excluding shadows created by car or components


7. Pit and machine-room access, and control-station location

The EN 81-20 standard introduces a number of requirements that aim to make accessing the lift machine room and working in the pit safer for service engineers. Access aids such as ladders now have defined dimension, strength, and location requirements. The access requirements for pits deeper than 2.5 m are now stricter, and an access door may be required.

The standard also requires a control station to be located in the pit, to prevent engineers from having to use ladders or stools in order to reach the components under the car. The control station must be located near the pit’s refuge spaces. There must also be a reset function outside the shaft.

8. Access, inspection, and rescue doors, and counterweight safety gear

The EN 81-20 standard requires access or inspection doors instead of inspection trapdoors to address safe and easy access for engineers. The new requirements are as follows:

  1. 8.1  Machine-room and shaft access doors shall have a minimum height of 2 m

    and a minimum width of 0.6 m.

  2. 8.2  Pulley-room access doors shall have a minimum height of 1.4 m and a

    minimum width of 0.6 m.

  3. 8.3  Access trapdoors for engineers to machine and pulley rooms shall give a

    clear passage of at least 0.8 m x 0.8 m and shall be counterbalanced.

  4. 8.4  Emergency doors shall have a minimum height of 1.8 m and a minimum width

    of 0.5 m.

Inspection doors shall have a maximum height and width of 0.5 m.
The new standard also requires the counterweight to be fitted with a safety gear in cases where there are accessible spaces under the pit – for example, where the pit is located above a parking garage or basement storage space.

9 Car roof and pit refuge spaces

The volume requirements for the safety refuge spaces on the car roof and in the pit have been increased. The new volumes are as follows:

  1. 9.1  Upright position: 0.4 x 0.5 m (horizontal dimensions), 2 m (height)

  2. 9.2  Crouching position: 0.5 x 0.7 m (horizontal dimensions), 1 m (height)

  3. 9.3  Laying position: 0.7 x 1.0 m (horizontal dimensions), 0.5 m (height) for pit only

The EN 81-20 standard now requires that the landing door providing access to the pit must be able to be opened from the shaft so that engineers can exit the lift shaft, even if the relevant landing door would be closed.

10 Car roof balustrades

Balustrades located on the lift car roof now have defined strength requirements and updated height requirements. These new requirements have been introduced to reduce the risk of engineers falling into the shaft while working on the car roof. The new requirements are as follows:

  1. 10.1  Where the distance between the inner edge of the balustrade handrail and the shaft wall is up to 500 mm, the balustrade must have a minimum height of 700 mm.

  2. 10.2  Where the distance between the inner edge of the balustrade handrail and the shaft wall exceeds 500 mm the balustrade must have a minimum height of 1100 mm

11 Horizontal projection into the shaft

Any horizontal projection (ledge) from a wall into the shaft, or horizontal beam greater than 150 mm wide – including separator beams – must be protected so that a person cannot stand on it, except when access is prevented by a balustrade on the car roof that meets the requirements stated above. This exception does not apply for ledges around the pit, for example with a partially enclosed lift shaft.

12. Changes affecting building design

The EN 81-20 standard introduces some changes to the requirements that the building designer is required to fulfill. These changes all apply to the lift shaft, and are as follows:

  1. 12.1  All glass used in the lift shaft must be laminated.

  2. 12.2  Shaft walls to withstand 1000N

  3. 12.3  Shaft ventilation is now the responsibility of the building designer. The lift

    manufacturer must provide all the necessary information about, for example, the heat emissions of lift components. This approach facilitates energy- efficient building design, where ventilation requirements are determined based on the most energy-efficient solution, while at the same time taking into account working conditions for engineers working in the lift shaft, and the comfort of passengers inside the car.

  4. 12.4  A fire extinguisher can be located in the shaft. Activation of the sprinkler shall only be possible, when the lift is stationary at a landing and the main switches of the lift and lighting circuits are automatically switched off by the fire or smoke detection system.