Some of the original lift systems had been removed during the residential conversion, (due to the traffic requirements of a residential property generally being less than that of an office building), and the remaining lifts were subject to a partial refurbishment, which included retention of the original DC gearless machines.
There were seven lifts on site (arranged as a triplex in the tallest block, a duplex in the mid-rise block and with two single lifts in the external wings of the property).
At the time our survey was undertaken the control systems were 23 years old, and from a manufacturer who had ceased trading in the early 2000s, and the main hoisting machines were over 60 years old. This was exposing the property to the risk of increased breakdown frequency and the specter of obsolescence.
Total estimated saving over 20 year life cycle
Based on our calculations, we expected the modernisation works to save in excess of £100k over the lifecycle of the equipment, by way of added value, and this was prior to the recent rise in energy costs.
We met with the client, and the onsite management team to discuss the various options and how best to maximise their budget, whereby we were appointed as their chosen Lift Consultant and a specification of works was agreed.
Within our appointment we provided Principal Designer duties for the client (as required under the CDM Regulations 2015).
As part of this role, we identified the building conversion had removed some of the original lifting facilities for motor room access, meaning the route for the machinery would be cumbersome, challenging and potentially dangerous.
Provisions were put in place to ensure the safety of operatives, residents, and building fabric in advance of tendering to the respective Lift Contractors as part of our due diligence for the scheme.
We tendered the scheme to seven Lift Contractors, due to the scale of the project dictating a wide spread of the market.
The tendering was very competitive with the project proving an attractive prospect for the invited contractors, and there were three leading candidates who offered the client pros and cons from their respective bids.
We invited each of the contractors to post tender interviews held on site, ensuring we could discuss the challenges of the project firsthand, enabling total transparency in their bids, and the ability to provide the client with assurances that the logistics of the scheme had been fully considered and accounted for.
A Lift Contractor was appointed, and the process of design and manufacture was put into action, with car finishes, lifting plans and site safety conditions being at the forefront of the discussions.
Health & Safety Management
The advantage of starting both groups at the same time was that it ensured four lift engineers were working on site from the first day.
With the logistics of the building already being identified as challenging, it enabled heavy or cumbersome items to be correctly supported when being transported.
As part of the lifting plans, we worked with the Lift Contractors and determined that lifting eyes were to be added to the building fabric, at strategic points, to aid the safe transportation of materials.
Despite all the advanced works, lifts of this design and age often have surprises in store, and this was true of the original machines.
The large commutator units within the machines had fused with the main drive sheaves over their 60 years of service, making removal of these heavy and awkward items more labour intensive than anticipated.
Hours were dedicated to splitting this equipment into manageable sized components for safe removal.
Yet despite the unforeseen time allocated to these items, the teams worked extremely hard to keep to their original programme estimates, and lifts were reinstated into service as planned, prior to the refurbishment of the second lifts in each group.
The final lifts were completed in late 2022 with the onsite element of the project running from January 2022. They have been delivered on time and on budget, with the finishes and performance exceeding the client’s expectations.
We got in touch with Ardent to provide us with a full condition survey for our existing lifts.
Their findings suggested a full refurbishment of our existing lifts was to be carried out, phased out to allow for adequate spread of cost to our leaseholders.
Our site is quite complex and unique but great service has been provided at all times; Ardent were also presented with challenges and complexities, given to the nature of our listed and aged buildings.
Although we started engaging them during COVID-19 restrictions, our communication has always been very positive and productive, given attention to all key aspects of our project.
I would recommend working with them and we will certainly do so for other projects.
Director, Metro Central Height RTM Company Limited
Images of the lift equipment after completion of the refurbishment scheme.