Water resistance and seismic countermeasures are two essential features in lift design, says consultant
Many elevators installed in Dubai do not meet safety standards regarding water resistance during firefighting and seismic protection, according to one industry consultant.
Anand Sivan, managing director at Barker Mohandas Vertical Transportation Consultants in the Middle East, said many lift consultants and manufacturers have not educated clients about the requirement for firefighters’ elevators to include water protection and seismic safety features.
Sivan said European code EN81-72 – which covers lift design – is followed by Dubai Municipality. But the standards outlined in the code are not always being followed, he added, recalling a fire at a Dubai skyscraper that broke out last year.
“What stood out was that while the firefighting elevators were used, water was reported coming down the shafts and the lifts were stopping, because these firefighters’ lifts were not designed with water protection,” he told Middle East Consultant.
“What is unacceptable is that the code already demands water protection, so this should not have happened. The client may be unaware of this, but the lift industry cannot sell lifts without including the water protection requirements already present in the governing codes.”
Sivan also pointed out that seismic engineering, while only introduced into the European code in November 2013, is still not largely used in this region.
“Many take shelter under the fact that the European lift code earlier never had a seismic section,” he said.
“The Dubai Municipality specifies the European code EN-81 as a basis for product sourcing, installation, etcetera. In the event of a significant earthquake in Dubai, only a few elevators will be safe for tall buildings, except for lifts that have been specifically designed with adequate seismic countermeasures.
“Also, the seismic section of the EN-81 Code bases itself on a structural engineering code (Eurocode 8) which, however, is not the basis for most structural engineering design for buildings in the region. That is why we always recommend the application of the seismic section of the US elevator codes to make the design robust. Unfortunately, this is resisted by some lift manufacturers.”