Are you aware of the new Lift Standards EN 81-20 and EN 81-50?

Are you aware of the new standard being introduced in August 2017: BSEN81-20 & 50 is almost a year away from being introduced but this will creep up soon. Are you aware and prepared for the changes?

In August 2014 The European Committee for Standardisation published two new European standards for lift design and manufacture which will bring considerable benefits in terms of accessibility and safety for both passengers and service engineers. The first, EN 81-20:2014, sets out revised and updated safety requirements for the construction and installation of lifts. The second, EN 81-50:2014, defines the test and examination requirements for certain lift components.

The new standards also clarify and improve the current building interface requirements. They replace the current EN 81-1 and EN 81-2 standards introduced in 1998, and all lifts taken into use after 31 August 2017 will be required to comply with the requirements of the new standards.

The Major Changes:

Increased safety requirements for passengers and service personnel are the core of the new standard. It includes:

Passenger safety and comfort

  • Brighter car lighting including brighter emergency lighting.
  • Improved clearance of light curtain to avoid smaller objects being trapped
  • Improved strength and durability of car walls, car roof, car doors and landing doors
  • Lift car door locking when out of a door zone
  • Safety glass for mirrors
  • Higher requirements for fire resistance of car interiors


Service personnel safety

  • Larger permanent safety spaces in lift shaft headroom and pit (see below)
  • Brighter Shaft lighting with Emergency back-up
  • Engineers Test Control Panel with stop button in the lift pit
  • Improved strength and increased height of the balustrade on the car roof
  • Improved strength of counterweight screen in lift pit
  • Improved requirements for Pit ladders
  • Horizontal projections into the shaft greater than 150mm to be protected to prevent a standing area.


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:

  • Upright position: 0.4 x 0.5 m (horizontal dimensions), 2 m (height)
  • Crouching position: 0.5 x 0.7 m (horizontal dimensions), 1 m (height)
  • Laying position: 0.7 x 1.0 m (horizontal dimensions), 0.5 m (height) for pit only.

Note. The above refuge space changes may affect the Pit and Headroom dimensions and must be checked.


The above list is not exhaustive and is to provide an overview of the main points only.


Changes affecting building design

The EN 81-20:2014 standard introduces some changes to the requirements that the building designer is required to fulfil. These changes all apply to the lift shaft, and are as follows:

  • All glass used in the lift shaft must be laminated.
  • Shaft walls to withstand 1000N
  • 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.


“I’m planning a new building, what do I have to consider?”

For all projects that most likely will be handed over after 31st August 2017 Classic Lifts advises to plan according to EN 81-20/50.

The main points to be aware of are the Lift Pit and Headroom dimension, the increased refuge space dimensions may impact on the required pit and headroom dimensions.

For optimal planning reliability Classic Lifts recommends you start planning according to EN 81-20/50 as of today. Please contact a Classic Lifts representative for further information.

This publication is for general informational purposes only and we reserve the right at any time to alter the product design and specifications. No statement this publication contains shall be construed as a warranty or condition, express or implied, as to any product, its fitness for any particular purpose, merchantability, quality or representation of the terms of any purchase agreement.