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No CMMS? The headache of lift regulations

No CMMS? The headache of lift regulations

Wednesday 01 april 2020

Who hasn't felt a little anxiety when getting on an elevator? Who hasn't been stuck in an elevator? Considered as the first means of transport, in front of the car, the plane or the train, the elevator is used every day by hundreds of millions of people and is an integral part of our daily life.

A necessity that makes this means of transport subject to important preventive maintenance regulations in order to ensure the safety of its users by avoiding breakdowns or any other technical problems. What are the legal obligations that lift operators must meet? How do they organize themselves to comply with them? Why is a CMMS going to be essential?

Together, France and Belgium have a combined total of 635,000 lifts; 550,000 in France and 85,000 in Belgium. These figures reflect the many journeys made using this "means of transport". But like any technical equipment, a lift, when it is not maintained regularly, can break down, causing discomfort and inconvenience for users and in some cases even endangering them. 
The main breakdowns encountered are generally the consequence :
  • Elevator overloads
  • Frequency of use leading to premature wear of the doors, which open and close continuously, and causing recurrent blockages
  • Problems related to electronic cards
  • Problems related to vandalism 
In order to reduce the frequency of these breakdowns and to prevent incidents with much more serious consequences, lift operators are subject to strict legislation concerning the monitoring and maintenance of the equipment for which they are responsible. Otherwise, they incur substantial financial penalties and incur civil and criminal liability in the event of an accident.
In this article, we will detail the regulations established in France and Belgium, which are representative of the regulations at the European level. 

Regulations in Belgium

Belgium considers that it is not only old lifts that pose a danger. Modern equipment also creates risks for the safety of its users in the absence of maintenance.  
The Royal Decree of March 2003 requires the owner or manager in charge of the lift to maintain the equipment in order to provide a safe service, through the following obligations :
  • Regularly carry out preventive maintenance by a specialized company.
  • Carry out regular preventive inspections by an external service for technical inspections  
  • Conduct a risk analysis every ten years
  • Carry out, if necessary, modernization work
  • Establish and maintain a record of documents relating to maintenance, inspections, modernization, and accessible to all parties. 
Preventive maintenance is carried out at least twice a year and takes into account the following points: 
  • Verification of the existence of the safety dossier and control of the mandatory information
  • Checking the condition and functionality of safety devices, control equipment, and lighting
  • Checking the condition of access, cables, fuses, plugs, brakes, vents, machinery, etc. 
  • Checking the lock and door contact  
In any event, the person in charge of the lift must commission a maintenance service provider who will maintain the device and an External Service Organisation for the Technical Inspection of the lift (SECT). 

Technical Control by an External Service for Technical Control

According to the Royal Decree of 2 March 2003, the technical inspection of a lift must be carried out by a SECT, an independent body approved by the Belgian authorities, which carries out a risk analysis every 10 years.  
It also systematically carries out an inspection after the transformation or the modernization of the device. In the event of non-conformity found on the equipment, the expert may then trigger a request for rectification. This will be carried out by a maintenance service provider in accordance with the deadlines agreed by the SECT.

Maintenance by a Maintenance Service Provider

As regards the specialized company in charge of technical maintenance, the manager can choose between an ISO-certified maintenance company or not. ISO 9001 certification attests to the quality of the management system used and the ability of this company to deliver a lift maintenance service that complies with the requirements. This choice thus modifies the arrangements for the minimum frequency of preventive inspection carried out by the ECTS. 
If the external service provider is ISO-certified, the device must be inspected every 6 months. On the other hand, if the company is not ISO-certified, it is up to the owner or the elevator manager to inspect the device every 3 months.

Regulations in France

The French Elevator Federation estimates that an elevator is used 100 million times a day, which is equivalent to a million kilometers. The average number of technical breakdowns is three per year. A figure that seems low and yet is already too high when we consider that it is a question of personal safety.
Following a number of fatal accidents in 2001-2002, the French government tightened the maintenance obligations for lift owners. Regulations are set out in article 79 of the law of 2 July 2003 on town planning and housing, aimed at improving the safety of existing devices, ensuring their control and maintenance. Thus, lift owners - as quoted by the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities - are obliged to : 
  • Carry out, within fifteen years, safety work on equipment installed before 24 August 2000
  • Enter into a maintenance contract with minimum content and where the responsibilities of each party are clarified
  • Periodically carry out a technical inspection of the device to check its good working order and conformity
In September 2004, decree n°2004-964 completed the safety measures required by the law of 2 July 2003, by setting out the detailed list of lift modernization work to be carried out in three 5-year phases ending in July 2018. This decree specifies in particular: 
  • The obligation to enter into a maintenance contract with a minimum content fixed by decree. The responsibilities incumbent on each party are clarified 
  • The obligation to periodically carry out a technical inspection of the device, to enable its proper functioning and conformity to be checked. It is also required that a list of documents made available to the technical inspector, a list of technical inspection points, the procedures for carrying out the inspection, an annual report of the inspections carried out by each inspector, etc. be drawn up.
It is then in the article R 125-2 of the code of the construction and the dwelling that we will find these obligations of frequencies of maintenance and technical control.

Technical inspection by an elevator control cabinet

In France, the technical inspection of equipment must be carried out every 5 years. External firms carry out these inspections and can decide, in the event of a defect being detected, to temporarily immobilize the equipment or even to strictly prohibit its use. Subsequently, maintenance companies will then be obliged to carry out corrective maintenance within a period of time depending on the nature of the problem observed, a period of time set by the expert of the technical inspection body.

Maintenance by a Maintenance Service Provider

The maintenance contract guarantees the maintenance of the lifts by setting up periodic checks, the frequency of which is defined by law:
  • Checking the lift for proper operation every 6 weeks: 
    • Door automation
    • Elevator control status
    • Lighting
    • Machinery
    • Emergency call button, telephony
    • Status of the lights
    • Replacement of parts requiring it
  • Checking and checking the condition of the cables every 6 months
  • Testing the parachute system once a year

So what are the differences between these two regulations?

If the general principle of using 2 external companies, namely the maintainer and an external control office, and if the associated maintenance and control actions are similar between the 2 countries, the frequency with which they must be carried out differs greatly:
  • For technical inspections:  
    • In Belgium: every 10 years
    • In France: every 5 years
  • For preventive maintenance:
    • In Belgium: twice a year if the maintainer is ISO 9001 certified (4 times a year otherwise)
    • In France: every 6 weeks, i.e. 8.6 times a year, thanks to the French legislator 🙄 But don't worry, Yuman manages
In both countries, lift owners are subject to strict regulations to meet the challenge of ensuring the safety of these installations. This is why, in order to meet these obligations, maintenance companies must equip themselves with CMMS solutions that will enable them to ensure optimal monitoring of the installations and easily organize their maintenance plan.

CMMS essential for full compliance with regulations

Maintenance service providers in general, and ascenorists in particular, are subject to legal obligations that may lead to financial penalties or even criminal liability in the event of non-compliance.
They are therefore obliged to draw up a precise preventive maintenance plan for lifts. To define detailed maintenance ranges and their periodicity. To organize all the actions to be carried out on the installed base. To be perfectly up to date with the deadlines for carrying out the interventions. To be able to supply the spare parts necessary for the repair or replacement of potentially defective parts.
It is easy to understand that without a perfectly adapted CMMS, these organizational objectives will be particularly difficult to achieve.
If the control firm notices a problem, the elevator may be immobilized and its use prohibited until the necessary work has been carried out.
This is why a modern solution, such as the Yuman CMMS, supports professionals in this sector on a daily basis. The centralization of data concerning the equipment provides an overview of the lift management and thus makes it possible to:
  • Sharing a centralized database: base of installed equipment
  • To make a history of the sites, their equipment, and past interventions, thanks to the collection of information from the field
  • Manage the supply of spare parts needed for all interventions
  • Planning preventive interventions but also optimizing curative maintenance  
  • Improve the management of technicians
  • Increasing transparency by improving communication with clients and audit and control firms
  • Produce analysis reports that are accessible to all parties
As a result, equipment tracking is optimized and the preventive maintenance plan can be defined. A strategy that guarantees:
  • Long-term safety and availability of the plant due to a reduced number of breakdowns
  • Quality of reception and comfort for users 
  • Reduction of maintenance costs: "just in time" intervention and optimization of the preventive/curative ratio
  • Coordination and improvement of benefits based on feedback
Thus, the obligations of conformity, maintenance and technical control of the equipment ordered by the regulations in force set up and parameterized in the elevator maintenance plans will ensure the automatic triggering and planning of maintenance visits at the right dates. These automatisms offered by CMMS will ensure the maintainer to be perfectly up to date with these contractual obligations.
The technicians in charge have direct access via the Yuman mobile CMMS application to all the information necessary for the smooth running of the intervention and, in particular, to the list of obligatory actions depending on the maintenance visit to be carried out. All they have to do is tick off the actions carried out as their visit progresses. The information is fed back in real-time. No re-entry is necessary. The manager and the owner are directly informed of the successful completion of the maintenance.
Getting out of a perpetual troubleshooting mode thanks to a long-term strategy of preventive maintenance carried out via a CMMS solution will ensure the comfort, safety, and satisfaction of users, as well as compliance with standards and legislation in force.
Maintenance service providers, lift operators, owners, building managers: Yuman promises you, your equipment will now be in compliance and compliance with regulations will no longer be a source of stress for you.

By the way, our ambition is to offer an unparalleled user experience. Check it out right away: try CMMS for free. Within 2 minutes, the time it takes to create your account, you'll discover what's newest in this category of software.

You can also benefit from a demonstration led by one of our consultants: book a videoconference

Good discovery and see you soon.

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