New regulations to be implemented in South Africa

Nicholas Wareing - Monday, February 12, 2018

GGAre you aware of the new lift standards SANS 50081-20:2017 and SANS 50081-50:2017?

SANS 50081-20:2017 and SANS 50081-50:2017 are two new safety standards for the construction of lifts and for testing of lift components. This represents the biggest change to the design standards for lifts in the last 20 years and will bring benefits in terms of safety and accessibility for both lift passengers and service personnel.


What are these new standards?

The new standards have been published by the SANS and are as follows:

SANS 50081-20:2017 (Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts – Lifts for the transport of persons and goods) Defines the technical requirements for the construction of lifts.

SANS 50081-50:2017 (Safety rules for the construction and installation of lifts) Covers the design rules, calculations and test and examination for lift components.

These new standards replace SANS50081-1:2004 (electric lifts) and SANS50081-2:2004 (hydraulic lifts).

What is the impact of these new standards on the building industry?

The increase in refuge spaces, car roof balustrades heights and landing door strength will have an impact on the shaft sizes, headroom heights and pit depths needed for new lift installations. The exact dimension would need to be calculated based on the requirements of the new lift installation and can be confirmed with Vision’s sales consultants.

Additionally there is also changes to the lift shaft design that needs to be taken into consideration, specifically:

  • All glass used in the lift shaft must be laminated;
  • Shaft walls to withstand withstand a force of 1000N point impact;
  • Shaft ventilation is the responsibility of the building designer;
  • A fire extinguisher must be located in the shaft. Activation of the sprinkler shall only be possible when the lift is stationary at a landing and the main switches of the lift and lighting circuits are automatically switched off by the fire or smoke detection system.

When will the standard become compulsory in South Africa?

The Department of Labour (DOL) has set a interim date of the 31 March 2019 for the new standards to become compulsory. This would mean that any lift sold and registered with the DOL (Annexure 1) after this date would need to comply with the new regulations namely SANS 50081-20/50: 2017.

The DOL has allowed a dual approach during this period whereby both SANS50081-1:2004 and SANS 50081-20/50: 2017 are allowed and deemed compliant. We will provide further insight should the interim date change from the 31 March 2019.

What are some of the major changes?

Increased safety requirements for passengers and service personnel are the core of the new standard and includes:

Passenger safety and comfort:

  • Brighter car lighting including brighter emergency lighting;
  • Improved clearance of light curtain to avoid smaller objects being trapped;
  • Improved strength and durability of car walls, car roof, car doors and landing doors;
  • Lift car door locking when out of a door zone;
  • Safety glass for mirrors;
  • Higher requirements for fire resistance of car interiors;

Service personnel safety:

  • Larger permanent safety spaces in lift shaft headroom and pit (see below);
  • Brighter shaft lighting with Emergency back-up;
  • Engineers Test Control Panel with stop button in the lift pit;
  • Improved strength and increased height of the balustrade on the car roof;
  • Improved strength of counterweight screen in lift pit;
  • Improved requirements for pit ladders;
  • Horizontal projections into the shaft greater than 150mm to be protected to prevent a standing area;

“I’m planning a new building, what do I have to consider?”

For all projects that most likely will be ordered after 31st March 2019, Vision Elevators advises to plan according to SANS 50081 -20/50. The main points to be aware of are the Lift Pit and Headroom dimension, due to the increased refuge space dimensions needed.

For more assistance and advice, please contact us.