Fireman Lift Requirements

A Brief Guide to Fireman Lift Requirements

A fireman lift, also known as a firefighter lift, is a specialised vertical transportation system designed for use during firefighting operations in tall buildings. Passenger lifts may be specially adapted for use as a firefighter lift. The fireman lift regulations (EN 81-72: 2015) govern the requirements and features of these lifts. Tower Lifts specialise in the design, supply and installation of Fire-fighting lifts.

What is a Fireman Lift?

Unlike a regular passenger lift, which is required to return to the ground floor and close down when the alarm sounds, a fireman lift is defined as a lift installed primarily intended for passengers use which has additional protection, controls and signals under the direct control of the fire service. The lift will remain operational under the control of the fire fighting services to assist in the fire fighting operation and rescue of residents where appropriate. A firefighter lift may also assist in evacuating individuals.

Under Approved Document B and British Standard BS9999 Code of Practice for Fire Safety, fire-fighting lifts are required in buildings where there is a floor more than 18 metres above the fire service access level, and/or has a basement of 10 metres depth or more from the fire service access level.  It is not uncommon however for fire-fighting lifts to be specified in lower buildings as part of the building fire safety procedures.

Fireman Lift Design

A fire-fighting lift is designed to operate as a passenger lift under normal conditions. In the event of the fire alarm sounding, though, it will move to the ground floor and a fire-fighting switch will be activated, giving firefighters full access and control of the lift. This fire mode over-rides all other inputs to ensure a ‘run at all costs’ operation for the fire services. The lift is supplied with an additional and separate Uninterrupted Power Supply to the general building supply. This can be provided by a battery backup or generator that is designed to kick in once the main power supply is cut off by the fire safety systems.

Due to the specific lift features the Pit and Headroom requirements are often greater than required for a standard passenger lift, and we would therefore recommend early consultation with the lift suppliers at the building design stage.

Building Design for Fire Fighter Lifts

Fireman lift requirements cover both the lift design, and the building design which forms its context. A firefighting lift must be located in a dedicated lift shaft, and each of the lift entrances must be fully fire protected using both passive and active fire protection. There is no specific requirement that a fireman lift serve all the floors of a building; this decision is dependent on the fire strategy for the structure as a whole.

Fireman Lift Requirements

Fireman lift requirements ensure additional safety features which allow the lift to be accessed by the fire services, so long as the lift shaft is clear. These differentiating features include:

  • Size & Dimensions. The minimum dimensions are 1100mm x 1400mm. The door opening width should be no less than 800mm wide. Having said this, the standard for UK lift doors for wheelchair access is presently 900mm.
  • Load. The minimum rated load is 630kg, unless the lift is used for evacuation in which case the minimum rated load is 1000kg and a cabin size of 1100mm x 2100mm specified.
  • Lift Speed. The lift must be capable of reaching the top floor within 60 seconds (up to 200m).
  • Protection Against Water Ingress. All the electrical equipment within the lift needs to be protected against water ingress. A drainage system is required to keep water ingress into the shaft to a minimum either/both by raising the door thresholds on each landing or installing drainage trays in front of the lift doors then as an additional measure, a sump pump should be considered in the pit area.
  • Shaft and Machine Room. These should be illuminated throughout an emergency.
  • Fire Fighting Equipment. A fireman lift will be fitted with a trap door in the cabin roof, and ladders which can be used to escape.
  • Control Panel. There should be communication between the cabin and FSAL (Fire Service Access Level).
  • Fireman Lift Use. These lifts need to be ready for use by emergency services at any time. They cannot be used, therefore, for the movement of goods or rubbish.
  • Energy Supply. A fireman lift requirements stipulate the need for a secondary source of power in the case of a fire. This would normally be supplied by a backup generator.

Maintenance for a Fireman Lift

It goes without saying that a firefighting lift needs to be regularly serviced and maintained. The checks will cover every component and tests will be carried out as part of the fire alarm and evacuation procedures. Any compliance updates need to be applied with immediate effect in fireman lifts.

Tower Lifts Designs and Installs Fireman Lifts

Over the past two decades Tower Lifts installers have worked with architects, developers and building managers across the country to make multi-storey residential and work spaces safer. We regularly work as lift consultants on the installation of firefighting lifts in new buildings.

Tower Lifts is an ISO9001:2015 Lift Cert and UKAS approved company adhering to all current Lift Regulations.

Would you like to speak to a Tower Lifts engineer about fireman lift requirements, maintenance or installation? Call us today on 01525 601099.

Tower Lifts carry out design and installation on a varied range of lifts throughout the UK including:

Domestic Lifts • Food Lifts • Bespoke Platform Lifts • Service Lifts • Platform Lifts • Goods Lifts • Scenic Lifts • Heavy Duty / Car Lifts • Passenger Lifts • Dumbwaiter Lifts • MRL Lifts • Fire lifts • Residential Lifts • low-Headroom Lift