Challenges to Drafting a Standard for the Evacuation of Disabled People Using Lifts

Nick Mellor

Wednesday 21st September 2022

A standard for the design of a lift to be used for the evacuation of those who cannot easily use the stairs (an evacuation lift) ideally needs to respect different strategies for the evacuation of a building. In the case of evacuation due to fire the building design needs to protect the evacuation lift for at least the duration of the evacuation. Building design and management aspects vary according to the type of building and are subject to national building regulations which vary across different territories (they are not harmonized at a European level). This might partly explain a lack of convergence of evacuation lift solutions during a period where the use of lifts for evacuation has been widely discussed. In looking at evacuation lift provision and capacity, key considerations are: how many people might need or wish to use lifts for evacuation; and how can those most at need be prioritised? These challenges are discussed with reference to the development of a draft European Norm prEN 81-76 for evacuation lifts and in the context of undertaking a capacity assessment for the number of evacuation lifts which might be needed. This paper is written from a UK context.

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