Surveys & Legal Requirements

BS EN81 - 80: Lift upgrades for existing lifts.

Like technology elsewhere, Lifts and Lift standards have developed over the years and new safety features have become the norm. In recognition of the fact that lift our grades are required for improved safety, BS EN 81-80:2003 provides an audit framework for lift modernisation. It should not be assumed that the equipment installed on existing lift installations comply with current regulations and/or standards - particularly where the lift equipment is over 10 years of age.

Modern lifts have:

  1. More guidance around make it a little accessible for passenger, including those with disability (covered with BS EN 81-82:2013 - Existing lifts)
  2. Greater landing level - accuracy thereby reducing tripping hazards
  3. Are fitted with additional lift safety features (e.g. safety gear to stop uncontrolled movement or safety devices to detect obstructions);

Furthermore, to ensure that the passengers who may become trapped in the lift, the law since 1999, has required new lifts to be fitted with a two-way communication device (BS EN 81-28:2003 - remote alarm on passenger and goods passenger lifts).

Simply put, today's lift standards have been put in place to make the lift safer for both users and those maintaining and examining the lift. Everyone of these provisions is equally valid for older lifts.

In recognition that lift upgrades are required for improved safety, BS EN 81-80:2003 (Safety rules for the construction and installation of Lifts - Existing lifts - Rules for the improvement of the safety of existing passenger and goods Passenger lifts) was introduced in 2003. With BS EN 81-82:2013 (Rules for improvement of the accessibility of existing lifts for persons including persons with disability) and BS EN 81-28:2018 (Remote alarm on passenger and good passenger lifts).

What is BS EN 81-80?

BS EN 81-80 is part of the European standard EN 81 (which covers the upgrading of existing lifts to ensure they are safe to use by all members of the public and those who work on them). This safety standard aims to match the safety levels of existing lifts, with that of brand new lifts, providing a guide to the risk assessment of a lift and subsequent recommendations for how to achieve any improved safety.

The risk assessment is undertaken through a lift survey from a specialist building services consultant or Lift contractor, such as Dorset Lifts. The risk assessment helps to identify 74 hazardous situations that could be present on an existing lift. The standard enables each lift to be audited according to the frequency and severity of any single risk, ranging from a high to a low risk.

This audit helps to prioritise any lift modernisation work required and also gives an indication of when the work is likely to be required, demonstrating a reasonable approach has been made to manage the risk. It also enables lift owners to plan their budgetary provision for the safety improvements identified.

What are some of the adjustments that are likely to be required for the lift?

Adjustments, to improve safety for passengers and engineers may include:

  1. Improving floor levelling at each landing
  2. Installing a 24-hour two-way communication device
  3. Installing a safety device to remove risk to passengers of being struck by closing doors
  4. Installing an apron to the car sill
  5. Insurance space is available for a lift service engineer to safely work at the top and bottom of your lift shaft
  6. Upgrading or installing permanent effective shaft lighting that illuminates the area for a lift engineer to work in
  7. Ensuring safe means of access is available to the machine room/cabinet
  8. Installing a balustrade on the car roof
  9. Insuring the main electric switch for the lift can be locked-off

Once identified, do I need to modernise my Lift to meet the requirements fully?

Yes, you will need to make reasonable adjustments to your existing lift i.e. we are practical and you are able to do so, in order to meet current standards and regulations. As a lift owner, it is your responsibility to ensure significant hazards (such as those details in BS EN81-80 standard) are addressed.

Conforming to this standard helps lift owners meet the requirements requirements/responsibilities under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment 1998 (LOLER) which are legal requirements.


It is impossible to predict costs that might arise out of implementing future legislative changes which are not always required to have immediate effect. In order therefore to budget for possible expenditure, it is clearly important that the building maintenance manager is aware of prospective changes at the earliest possible time. It is clearly desirable to take this into account when looking at long-term budgeting and servicing arrangements.

We endeavour to keep our customers equipment up-to-date using all latest technologies and meeting all current standards, without the need for total replacement. Please do not hesitate to contact us for more guidance.

How can we help?

As a reputable Lift service provider, Dorset Lifts can not only provide you with the help and support you need to allow to meet these standards in the quickest and easiest way possible, but we can also carry out any refurbishment, replacement or modernisation that an existing lift may require. Please contact us for further details or to arrange a site survey to be undertaken.

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