The 1935 Code of Practice for the Installation of Lifts and Escalators

Lee E. Gray

Wednesday 21st September 2016

The 1935 Code of Practice for the Installation of Lifts and Escalators was written by the Lifts and Escalators Installation Panel of the Building Industries National Council. The thirteenmember panel included representatives from the lift industry, insurance industry, trade unions, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, and the Royal Institute of British Architects. Prior to 1935 there was no British national code or national legislation, beyond the Factory and Workshop Act, which governed lift and escalator installation. Thus, the panel looked outside Britain for precedents and they reported that they examined “all existing Codes … in force on the Continent of Europe, in America and in several British Dominions” [1]. The new Code was described as offering “safety and protection to all users” while also ensuring that it “would not encroach upon design and unnecessarily or impede engineering progress” [1]. The authors’ collective goal was to develop a system of “coordinated safety regulations having reasonable flexibility” that “would avoid the difficulties inherent in official or departmental control per se, and would at the same time meet all reasonable demands for safety” [1]. This, perhaps contradictory, goal was achieved in a mere 35 pages of text and one illustration. This paper will examine the membership of the Lifts and Escalators Installation Panel, the Code’s contents, and its American and European precedents.

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