LOLER visits, Thorough Examinations and Maintenance visits… what’s the difference?
Today, we’ll be talking to Gary Rains. Gary is the Service Director at Pickerings Lifts. In this capacity he’s responsible for managing all of our thirteen Lift Maintenance, Lift Servicing, and Lift Repair regional offices, and more than 200 lift engineers across the UK.
He’s been with Pickerings Lifts for nearly 18 years, and has worked in the industry since 1983, so if anyone can provide you with the answers to any frequently asked questions, it will be Gary.
We caught up with Gary in our South Coast Office, in Burgess Hill, just north of Brighton.
Q: What is the difference between maintenance visits and LOLER?
“LOLER is the acronym for ‘Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations’ 1998 legislation in the United Kingdom.
Basically, it’s the legislation that states you need to have checks made on your lift or lifting equipment completed by a suitably ‘competent person’.
For passenger carrying lifts this must be completed at intervals not exceeding six months, so twice a year. Other lifting equipment should be inspected annually.
So, a LOLER visit (sometimes called a ‘Lift Examination’ or a ‘Thorough Examination’) is similar to an MOT on your car. It checks a) your lift and lift equipment is working within safety regulations, and b) it identifies any repairs that need to be made to enable it to stay compliant.
Maintenance visits, on the other hand, are designed to keep the lift running safely and reliably.”
Q: Many customers ask if Pickerings Lifts do LOLER visits. Why don’t we do them?
“We do get asked that a lot, and the reason’s pretty simple.
Ideally, LOLER inspections should be carried out by an independent body, such as an Insurance company and not the existing Lift maintenance company.
This negates the possibility of the incumbent lift maintenance provider reporting unnecessary repairs that would then be fixed by the same company.
It would be like being asked to mark your own homework.
By keeping LOLER lift examinations separate from any lift maintenance, servicing or repair, Pickerings Lifts is sticking to its principles for honesty and impartiality.”
Q: Another question we get is ‘what is the statutory requirement for maintenance visits?’
“Well, that’s a really good question, and the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Unlike in some countries such as France, Spain and Turkey, there is no minimum statutory requirement for the number of maintenance visits.
Sometimes customers will use a lift consultant to draw up specifications for when they tender their maintenance contract. This guides them as to how many visits they should have.
We are also seeing an increase in the number of customers who defer to SFG20.”
Editor – “Oh yes? That’s a new one on me. What’s SFG20?”
“This was launched in 1990 by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), and many consider it to be the industry standard for building maintenance specifications. It has a much wider reach than lift maintenance, with a schedule of tasks and frequencies for the maintenance of different facilities and services.
When it comes to lifts there are codes for different types of equipment. These codes provide you with a list of tasks that should be carried out by a ‘specialist’ on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. For example, the code for platform lifts is 82-01, and the specialist tasks recommended are at quarterly and annual frequencies, so only four visits required each year.
In addition to the statutory requirement and SFG20, many of our health sector customers comply with the Health Technical Memorandum (HTM), which stipulates monthly maintenance visits.
In my view, the frequency of maintenance visits should ideally depend on a number of factors… the use of the lift, Passenger, Passenger/Goods or Goods only, the number passengers who use the lift and how often, the number of floors the lift services, and the acceptable rate of dilapidation that the customer expects, for instance.
The more regular the planned preventative maintenance visits you have, the fewer breakdowns you will suffer, the less worn out your lift will look, and the longer your lift will carry on without needing a major refurbishment or replacement, all of which can be very expensive.
I personally would suggest, and I think most customers would understand why I say this, four maintenance visits as the minimum, and more if the lift is of the high-volume, high-work-load, always-on, variety.”
Q: What do lift engineers actually do on a lift maintenance visit?
“That really depends on the maintenance company.
More and more service providers are introducing something called ‘modular maintenance regimes’. These combine a limited number of actual maintenance visits with very short visual inspections. In some cases, these visual inspections can be as short as 10 minutes on site.
Obviously, this is a good time saver for the lift company, but it doesn’t necessarily help safeguard the reliability of the equipment or provide any reassurance for the customer.
At Pickerings Lifts we remain faithful to the traditional service values that have stood us in such good stead since 1854. We spend a minimum of one hour on each and every visit, so that our engineers have enough time to complete an exhaustive list of checks.
We also allow extra time depending on the complexity of the equipment and the number of floors.”
Editor – So do we do SFG20 then?
“Yes. Our checklist covers the key elements, because we do a thorough maintenance visit every time.
Our service visits are not just about visual checklists, though, as the actual activities carried out by our engineers also include cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment where appropriate.
Completed checks are detailed on the work sheet, and any identified defects or deficiencies are reported so that corrective action can take place.”
Contact Pickerings Lifts
Call 0800 085 3211 for immediate help.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more in-depth enquiries.