Vertical Transport Consultants

Risk of Asbestos when replacing lifts

Risk of Asbestos when replacing lifts

Asbestos was commonly used in the construction of lifts prior to being banned in 1999 and is still commonly found in buildings that were built or refurbished prior to the ban. Asbestos poses a serious threat to a person's health and can be fatal. It still kills approximately 5000 workers per year. It is, therefore, vital that asbestos be properly identified and handled correctly.

It is common for buildings pre-dating 2000 to have had survey carried out to identify asbestos containing materials (ACM's) which would be checked by any person(s) prior to carrying out works in a certain area. Sometimes, areas such as the lift shaft and motor room can be missed or not properly covered during the survey due to safe access requirements within these areas.

During a recent project, the identification of asbestos late on in the programme led to a delay of 4 weeks whilst the ACM's were identified and removed. Following a lessons learnt, D2E have updated our processes to ensure recommendations for R&D asbestos surveys to be included within the feasibility stage for all projects involving major works within existing buildings.

Read more about the project below.


The Project

The replacement of 3no. lifts in an existing building with regular movement of 10,000+ passengers daily.

The existing building was originally built in the late 1800’s and has undergone upgrade works on many occasions. The current lift system was originally installed in 1970 and modernised in 1994.

The Brief

D2E were asked to review the condition of the existing equipment and provide recommendations to provide a further 20 years lifecycle.

The Solution

D2E reviewed the existing equipment and advised to fully replace all three lifts in order to provide the latest technology advances including more efficient equipment to achieve the client’s requirements.

The design process started, and the lifts were ordered by the manufacturer. Prior to the start date on site, the client instructed their asbestos surveyor to conduct an R&D survey of the lift shafts to ensure they system was free of any Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM’s).

The survey came back with a positive identification of asbestos within the front returns of the lift shaft.

The detection of the ACM required the replacement works to be put on hold until the Asbestos Contractor could return to site to safely remove the asbestos and perform a full environmental cleandown of the lift shafts.

 The Outcome

The ACM had been removed and the environmental cleandown undertaken with a certificate issued by the asbestos contractor in order to allow the lift contractor to start works on site.

This finding delayed the overall project by 4 weeks. D2E conducted a lesson learnt session with the client in order to run through the reasons for the delay to the project and to mitigate any delays to the future lift replacement projects at this site.

The Client has instructed further asbestos surveys on all other lift shafts for lifts that are due to have replacement works undertaken in the next financial budget year.

D2E have also updated their processes to ensure recommendations for R&D asbestos surveys are included within the feasibility stage for all projects involving major works within existing buildings.