Responsibilities Associated with Lift Installations
The safety of lifts is mainly covered by two pieces of legislation; namely: ‘The Lifts Regulations, 2016’ and the ‘Inspection of Lifts Regulations, 2007’. When a new lift is installed in a residential building, the lift installer is responsible for only making available for use lifts, which comply with the applicable standards and regulations. However, the appointed administrator of the residential building where the lift is installed also has some important obligations by law. In cases where there is no officially appointed administrator, these obligations are automatically shared between all co-owners in the condominium.
Before the lift is made available for use, the lift installer – who is the natural or legal person who takes responsibility for the design, manufacture, installation and placing on the market of the lift and who affixes the CE-marking and draws up the EC Declaration of Conformity - shall make arrangements to have the lift undergo an independent assessment of conformity from what is known as a Notified Body.
When making the lift available for use and therefore handing over the lift to the administrator, some important documentation must also be supplied with the lift. This information shall be drawn up in Maltese or English and shall at least include an instructions manual containing the plans and diagrams necessary for normal use and relating to maintenance, inspection, repair, periodic checks and the rescue operations and a logbook in which repairs and, where appropriate, periodic checks can be noted.
Since part of the information included in the documentation relates to the in-service inspection and maintenance of the lift and to the means provided for the release and evacuation of trapped persons in case of a breakdown, the relevant parts of the documentation must be made available to the people in charge of the inspection and maintenance of the lift and to the rescue service. Whilst this is the responsibility of the owner of the lift, it is useful for the lift installer as well to provide a convenient place on the lift installation for the storage of the instruction manual and the logbook.
Furthermore, the lift installer’s instructions must provide the information on the use of any special equipment, such as special tools or software, necessary for the safe and effective maintenance of the lift or for rescue operations.
Lifts made available for use before 1st July 2002, must be registered with the MCCAA by the administrator whereas lifts made available for use as from 1st July 2002 onwards, must be registered by the lift installer. A certificate of registration, which will contain a unique registration number, is issued by the MCCAA on successful registration of the lift. In the case of lifts registered by the administrator, the registration certificate is directly forwarded by the MCCAA to the administrator by post whereas in the case of lifts registered by the installer, the registration certificate must be collected by the installer - who should keep a copy of this certificate, whilst handing over the original certificate to the administrator.
The administrator is responsible for ensuring that the lift is thoroughly examined and periodically inspected at specified intervals by an Authorised Conformity Assessment Body (ACAB). The official list of ACABs is available on the MCCAA’s website and the administrator is free to choose anyone from this list.
In the case of lifts installed in a residential building, a preventive inspection needs to be carried out at least every year whereas a thorough examination needs to be carried out at least every 10 years. The ACAB carrying out the preventive inspection or the thorough examination shall issue a report and send it to the administrator who is then required to send a copy of this report to the MCCAA within 28 days and keep a copy in his records. The report may indicate certain repairs that need to be carried out within specified timeframes. The administrator shall ensure that the necessary works are carried out within such timeframes and shall then notify the MCCAA in writing that such repairs have been completed.
The administrator is also required by law to keep all records and information related to the lift in a file. Such information will include the instructions manual, the certificate of lift registration (issued by the MCCAA when the lift is registered), reports of preventive inspections, reports of thorough examinations, and any other documents regarding repairs, modifications, servicing and maintenance of the lift. It is also the responsibility of the administrator to keep a logbook noting all thorough examinations, preventive inspections, repairs and maintenance carried out.
Lifts with Reduced Pit or Reduced Headroom
One of the safety requirements applicable to lifts is that they must be designed and constructed to prevent the risk of crushing when the cabin is in one of the extreme positions. This objective is normally achieved by means of free space or refuge beyond the extreme positions. However, there exist certain specific cases, particularly in existing buildings, where this solution is impossible to fulfil and other appropriate means may be provided to avoid this risk.
Therefore, if the person taking responsibility for the installation of the lift concludes (on his own responsibility in law) that it is impossible to provide the refuge space required by the applicable standard, he may apply with the TRD-MCCAA in order to seek approval to install a lift that provides less refuge space than normal but that still offers protection against the risk of crushing by other means (normally by the installation of an apposite safety device).
These approvals are only meant to be given in exceptional circumstances whatever the kind of building concerned and they are intended particularly for lifts to be installed in existing buildings. Only in cases where the solution based on free space or refuge beyond the extreme positions is impossible to fulfil will such a proposed lift for a new building be eligible for consideration. The Authority interprets “impossible” to mean either physically impossible i.e. due to constraints such as those imposed by factors such as the presence of major electric cables or tunnels, or legal constraints such as those imposed by preservation orders. It is not an economic concept.
For the above-stated reasons, it is very important not to plan a new building with the presumption that an approval for the installation of a “low-pit” or “low-headroom” lift will be granted. In the case of new buildings, it is therefore recommended to apply for such approvals beforehand.
Change of the European Harmonized Lift Standards - EN81-20 and EN81-50
Planners, developers and installers that intend to install new lifts, should note that by the end of 31 August 2017 all lift installations have to comply to the new harmonized lift standards: EN 81-20:2014 and EN81-50:2014. These standards were published on the 12 December 2014 to replace the former EN 81-1/2:1998+A3:2009 standards.
The main objectives of the new standards are to reflect the new legal framework, and also to improve the lift safety issues. Immediate remedial action has to be taken if there are any scheduled plans regarding the placing on the market of new lifts that are close to this deadline. Therefore, as from the 12th December 2014 to the 31st August 2017, both standards: ‘EN 81-1/2:1998+A3:2009’ and ‘EN 81-20:2014; EN81-50:2014’, provide presumption of conformity with the Lifts Directive that was transposed into Maltese legislation by means of the Lifts Regulations, 2016.
However, it should be also noted that as from 31st August 2017, only the standards ‘EN 81-20:2014 and EN81-50:2014’ will provide presumption of conformity with the Lifts Directive.
Lifts registered at the MCCAA
To check whether a lift is registered with the MCCAA, please click the link below that consists of a database of the lifts currently registered in Malta. Once downloaded, search through the file by using the search function (Ctrl + F) and type for either the serial number or the name of the building or the name of the street name of the lift location. Please note that those lifts which are operating and not listed in the database are not registered and hence are illegal as stipulated by Regulation 5 of the 'Inspection of Lifts Regulations, 2007' (Legal Notice 231 of 2007).For further assistance please contact the MCCAA on 23952000.
The template of the EU Declaration of Conformity can be downloaded from the link provided below. Please note that this document is a guideline for installers to draw up an EU Declaration of Conformity for Lifts as stipulated by the Lift Regulations, which entered into force on the 20th of April 2016.