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Lift Standards: A Glossary

If you either own or are thinking of installing a lift then there is a whole host of lift standards, regulations, codes of practice and guidance to advise on best practice. Knowing where to start and which regulations are relevant can be confusing, so we have listed some of the main ones. 

Depending on the type of lift different regulations and standards apply, however we've tried to cover the main items that influence the specification, installation or maintenance of any type of lift.

Acts, Regulations & Directives

Acts set out the broad legal/policy principles and are passed by the Parliament as law, as such they can only be amended by another Act of Parliament. Regulations are "subsidiary legislation", guidelines that dictate how the provisions of the Act are applied. Below is a list of the main Acts, Regulations and Directives relating to lifts:


  • The Equality Act 2010 - Requires buildings to be accessible to people with disabilities, so as to limit discrimination against them when gaining access to buildings and services.
  • Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 This Act of Parliament is the main piece of UK health and safety legislation. It places a duty on all employers "to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the healthsafety and welfare at work" of all their employees.


    There is a duty to meet all the requirements of PUWER and LOLER by taking every precaution to ensure safety when using equipment in any workplace, lifts in an existing building fall under these regulations.

  • Manual Handling Regulations - Any owner has a duty to protect  staff from potential injury caused by inappropriate manual handling.
  • Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulation 1998 (PUWER) - These regulations, often abbreviated to PUWER, place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over work equipment. 
  • Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)- These regulations place duties on people and companies who own, operate or have control over lifting equipment.

When moving people or goods, your lift will fall under lift or machinery regulations. In turn, this then dictates the directives and standards that are relevant for that lift type.

  • The Lift Regulations 2016, SI 2016/1083 - Regulations for the construction of lifts where they are intended to be used for the transport of persons. These regulations are met by compliance with among other things, the relevant British Standards and the EN81 series of standards. This regulation covers passenger lifts.
  • Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 2008/1597 - Regulations for the construction of platform lifts, goods and service lifts. Again compliance to this regulation is with the relevant below standards. For new lifts, building regulations need to be looked at for guidance on specification.
  • Part M and B Building Regulations These are Building Regulations that give guidance on providing ‘access for all’ (Part M)  including people with disabilities, when considering vertical circulation within a building. It provides information on door opening widths and landing spaces, and positioning of control panels and push buttons in lifts. Part B building regulations give guidance around building fire safety and certain elements of the building, including lifts. 
  • Scottish building regulations - Provide practical guidance with respect to the requirements of the building regulations in Scotland.


An EU Directive is a form of legislation that is "directed" at the Member States and sets out the objective or policy which needs to be attained. The Member States then pass the relevant domestic legislation as codes of practice and British standards to give effect to the terms of the Directive. 

  • The Lift Directive 2014/33/EC - Sets out the rules for the construction of lifts where they are intended to be used for the transport of persons.
  • The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC - Sets out the essential safety requirements on all machines placed on the market.

When moving people or goods, your lift will fall into either the Machinery Directive, or the Lift DirectiveWhilst all are "lifts" in the general term, the Directives do help to identify the key differences and ultimately identify the standards they will then fall under. 

Codes of Practice & Standards

Codes of practice and standards are British Standards that either take the form of guidance and recommendations when making a lift selection, installing/working on lifts, or the technical requirements of a lift to comply with standards. The main ones are: 

  • BS 5655:2002 Part 6: 2011 - Code of practice for the selection and installation of new lifts (passenger and platform)
  • BS 5655:2005 Part 11/Part 12 - Code of practice for the undertaking of modifications of electric/hydraulic lifts  
  • BS 5266-10:2011 - Guide to the design and provision of emergency lighting
  • BS 7255:2012 - Code of practice for safe working on lifts
  • BS 8300:2018 - Part 1 and 2 - This revised code of practice aims to give the information needed to create an inclusive environment from the outset of a project. Part 1 primarily covers access in and around the external environment and the approaches to buildings. Part 2 provides guidance on access within buildings, including the facilities that should be provided inside buildings. Both parts of BS 8300 supersede the 2009 version of this standard, which has been withdrawn.
  • BS 9102:2014 - Code of practice for safe working on lifting platforms
  • BS 9999:2008 - Code of practice for fire safety in the design, management and use of building evacuation.
  • ISO/DIS 25745-1 - This International standard is in response to the rapid increase in the consumption of energy on a worldwide basis. The Standard provides a uniform method of measuring energy consumption of all lifts, escalators and moving walkways.

Standards for lifts

Standards are used to establish the technical detail, allowing the legislation to concentrate on long term policy objectives. Depending on the type of lift and its use, different standards are relevant.

  • BS EN 81-1 (electric/traction lifts) & 81-2 (hydraulic lifts):1998 - Safety rules for the Construction and Installation of Lifts now replaced by BS EN 81-20.
  • BS EN 81-3:2000 - Electric and hydraulic service lifts
  • BS EN 81-20:2014 - A new Safety rules for the Construction and Installation of Lifts standard replacing 81-1 and 81-2 and effective for all lifts handed over from September 2017.
  • BS EN 81-21:2009 - New passenger lifts, goods passenger lifts and complete lift modernisation in existing buildings
  • BS EN 81-28 2018 - Remote alarm on passenger and goods passenger lifts
  • BS EN 81-31:2010 - Accessible goods lifts
  • BS EN 81-50:2014 - This new EN81-50 standard governs the design of lifts and effective for all lifts handed over from September 2017.
  • BS EN 81-70:2018 - Accessibility to lifts for persons including persons with disability
  • BS EN 81-71:2005 - Vandal-resistant passenger lifts and goods passenger lifts 
  • BS EN 81-72:2020 - Lifts for fire-fighters
  • BS EN 81-73:2020 - Behaviour of lifts in the event of a fire
  • BS EN 81-76:2011 - Evacuation of disabled persons using passenger and goods passenger lifts
  • BS EN 81-80:2003 - Rules for the improvement of safety of existing passenger and goods passenger lifts
  • CEN TS 81-83:2009 - Rules for upgrading existing lifts for the improvement of the resistance against vandalism
  • BS EN 81-82:2013Rules for upgrading existing lifts for persons with disability
  • BS EN 13015:2001 - Rules for maintenance of lifts and escalators
passenger lift range

Standards for platform lifts

  • BS EN 81-40:2008 - Stairlifts and inclined lifting platforms intended for persons with impaired mobility
  • BS EN 81-41:2010 - Vertical lifting platforms with enclosed liftway, for persons with impaired mobility
  • BS EN 81-42 - A draft standard for cabin platform lifts
  • BS 6440:2011- Powered lift platform with non-enclosed or partially enclosed liftway intended for use by persons with impaired mobility
  • BS 5900:2012 - Powered homelift in domestic single-occupancy dwellings.

There is no current standard that specifically covers cabin platform lifts, but they must comply to the Machinery Directive. Many manufacturers reference applicable parts of relevant standards, in particular EN81-41 and EN81-70. There is work underway to create a new  standard to cover low speed lifts which is expected to cover cabin platform lifts and will be called EN81-42, however it is at the draft stage.

So how are all these standards used? For any the type of lift agreed upon should meet the relevant requirements, for example:

  • Conventional passenger lifts should conform to the requirements of BS EN81-20
    and BS EN81-70 and any regulation relevant to a special feature (e.g. Vandal resistant lifts
    should conform to BS EN-81-71) 
  • Cabin platform lifts should conform to BS EN 81-41 and deviate through the Machinery
  • Enclosed vertical lifting platforms should conform to BS EN-81-41
  • Non-enclosed vertical platforms (or steplifts) should conform to BS6440:2011

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Still not sure what you need your lift to conform to? No problem!

At Stannah we recognise that keeping up to date with the latest standards and regulations can be overwhelming. Therefore, we're here to take the weight off your shoulders! As a reputable lift service provider, we are happy to offer our expert advice, helping you to meet these standards in the quickest and easiest way possible.

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