Lift upgrade or replacement

Like most other types of moving mechanical machinery, lifts reach a stage where they begin to develop performance issues and maintenance costs can become high. This is usually when the lift has reached or exceeded its design life. The owner of the lift may need to make a decision whether to upgrade or replace the lift, escalator or moving walkway.

In some instances the owner may be able to resolve the performance issues by a service or repair. In other instances where the problem becomes more severe, greater works, such as a full or partial upgrade may be necessary.

The owner of the lift should always consult with a competent person before making any decision on an alteration or replacement. A competent person is best placed to give guidance on the most appropriate solution to restore performance. They also ensure compliance with WHS legislation, the current codes of practice, the original manufacturers’ instructions, and conduct a risk assessment.

The competent person may be a consultant with engineering experience, employee of a lift company, or an individual with industry experience. Whoever is engaged, they must meet the definition of a competent person as defined within the WHS Regulations 2012 (SA).

When assessing the condition of a lift consideration should be given to:

  • the operational history of the lift, such as frequency of break downs, trapped passengers, stoppages from out-of-alignment relative to building floor level, door malfunctions, or any general performance deemed below manufacturer specification
  • the service history, including any testing and repairs made in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions
  • the ride quality, such as any noisy, bumpy, or harsh movements or any unusual vibrations that have developed while the lift is moving or stationary
  • the availability and cost of replacement parts
  • an industry history of poor performance that could identify potential hazards or risks to users
  • better performance measures or safe guards offered by newer technologies
  • compliance to current Approved Codes of Practice and WHS legislation.

Registering a lift design

A person conducting a business or undertaking that designs an item of plant, or a person with management or control of an item of plant at a workplace may apply for registration.

Completing an application for design registration

An application for design registration must contain:

  1. a statement signed by the designer of the item of plant
    1. stating that the designer has complied with the designer's obligations under section 22 of the WHS Act in relation to the design, and
    2. specifying the published technical Standards and/or any engineering principles used in the design
  2. a design verification statement that is
    1. written and signed by a person who is eligible to be a design verifier for the design of the item of plant, and
    2. declares that the design was produced in accordance with published technical Standards or engineering principles specified in the statement, and
    3. include
      1. the name, business address and qualifications (if applicable) of the design verifier, and
      2. if applicable, the name and business address of the organisation for whom the design verifier is employed, and
      3. a declaration stating that the verifier for the design of an item of plant was not involved in the production of the design
  3. representational drawings of the design
  4. any other documentation that may assist in determining compliance of the design
  5. a completed application form with payment.

Designer and design verification requirements

The application form includes a specific section with all required fields for the designer and design verifier to complete.

The designer and design verifier may be employed by the same organisation, providing that the design verifier has not been involved in the production of the design. The design verification process must be independent of the designer.

If the designer or design verifier is located overseas and unable to complete their section of the application form, they may submit a separate letter of declaration. Any separate statement must provide the equivalent required information and declaration in English. They must also fully understand their duties under South Australian WHS legislation. Penalties apply for provision of false or misleading information.

See WHS Regulation, Chapter 5, Part 3, for a full explanation of the design registration process, including the duties of designers and design verifiers.

Registering an alteration to a lift design

A design alteration must have its risk control measures reviewed, and if determined that the level of health and safety has been altered, then the design alteration must be registered.

Examples of where the level of health and safety may be altered include:

  • increase or decrease in speed
  • change to the number of suspension ropes
  • changes to the traction method or type
  • changes to the load capacity
  • changes to the size of the car
  • increase or decrease in the travel height
  • changes to electrical, control or mechanical configuration of the lift system.

Repair and maintenance using like-for-like replacement parts is not considered an alteration, even if those parts are manufactured by a different company.

Notification back to the issuing regulator is not required where the alteration is considered cosmetic and the level of health and safety is not altered. These include changes to the:

  • car interior
  • car operating panel
  • car lighting and landing fixtures.

A design alteration notification must be submitted to SafeWork SA before the alteration commences. The lift must not be placed into service until registration is granted.

Installing Imported lifts, escalators and moving walkways

Prior to importing and installing a lift, escalator or moving walkway into South Australia, consideration must be given to:

  • obtaining an assessment by a competent person confirming full compliance to South Australian WHS legislation, and
  • registration of the design with an Australian WHS regulator and that design mutually recognised in South Australia.

Failure to do so could breach WHS legislation and penalties may apply.

Complying with South Australian legislation

The Work Health and Safety Regulations, Regulation 739, includes AS 1735 series as an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP). Any lift installed in South Australia must achieve the minimum level of safety stipulated by the AS 1735 series, published on or before 1/1/2013.

To ensure compliance, any business entering the South Australian lift market should become familiar with the ACOP.

Although most Australian jurisdictions operate under harmonised work health and safety laws, the lift company must ensure that the lift design complies with the South Australian legislation before engaging in any work across jurisdictional borders.

In some instances, lifts may require improvement in their level of safety through a design alteration before registration of the lift can be approved. If this alteration is not identified prior to installation of the lift, it could result in additional costs to the business installing the lift.

Changes and Revisions to Australian Standards AS 1735

Since the introduction of WHS legislation into South Australia, AS 1735 series has undergone a number of revisions, additions and changes including the introduction of new international and ISO standards.

For example as of January 2020, amendments include:

  • European Standards EN81-1 & 2, which formed part of AS 1735-1:2003 + Amdt 1 2006 and were considered as an alternative to AS 1735.2 & 3
  • EN81-1 & 2 which have since been withdrawn and been replaced by two new European Standards EN81-20 & 50
  • AS 1735-1:2003 + Amdt 1 2006 has been revised
  • AS 1735-2 & 3 has been classified as obsolescent, removing these standards from being considered for any new lift designs
  • the Australian Standards committee is continually reviewing multiple parts of AS 1735.

A design review must be undertaken on any new lift design that claims compliance to a revised or newly introduced standard. The design must achieve an equivalent or better level of safety to AS 1735 as was in place on 1/1/2013. Any subsequent revisions to AS 1735 require current designs to be reassessed to maintain the highest level of safety.

International design standards

Some international Standards are accepted in South Australia and form part of the Australian Standards through the introduction of AS 1735 series. These international standards are seen as being closely aligned or achieving an equivalent level of safety to AS 1735.

Competent person with industry knowledge and experience must be engaged to assess the level of safety between International and Australian standards before the lift can be used in South Australia.

In some cases Australian Standards may include notes within the published standard identifying any other International Standards that are closely aligned.

Related information

Lifts (private residences) registration