Vertical Transport Consultants

Seismic Protection for Lifts

D2E’s international work necessitates an understanding of codes and standards which generally do not apply in the UK. For example, protection with regards to seismic activity is not usually relevant for UK buildings.

Seismic protection is particularly important in countries located around the Pacific Ocean, surrounding the so called “ring of fire” fault line. This area accounts for 90% of the world’s earthquakes. Other areas where seismic activity has an impact on lift design include the Middle East and certain states in the USA.

The European code for seismic protection is EN 81-77. In America, and certain Middle Eastern countries ASME A17.1 provides guidance on similar methods for protection of lifts, and passengers, in the event of an earthquake. In short, protective measures include anchoring machines to the building structure to prevent excessive movement, installing retaining devices to keep components in their correct positions and implementing control system protocols to prevent normal lift use during an earthquake.

Just this April 2016, a magnitude 7.0 tremor hit southern Japan and provinces in Ecuador were shaken by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake (as measured on the Richter scale). The death toll from these earthquakes is expected to surpass 550. The most serious risk to life posed by earthquakes is collapsing buildings. Throughout the world, building design standards have been developed to counteract this, including lift design. Whilst new buildings should now be designed to withstand forces expelled from most earthquakes, a large number of buildings were built before the arrival of these building standards and therefore the risk remains. Furthermore, Hugo Yepes of the National Polytechnic University in Quito, reports that builders and designers have often been ignoring earthquake proofing standards. Following the earthquake in Ecuador mentioned above, it was reported that Rafael Correa, the President, called for building standards to be more strongly applied.

D2E have specified lift systems to comply with the most stringent of seismic protection standards. In line with one of our core philosophies, the safety of passengers is of the upmost importance and therefore seismic design standards must be fully understood and correctly applied.