Compliance and your elevator

Elevators have to comply with standards that regulate how they operate to ensure and maximise passenger security. The main standards in Europe relevant to elevators are:

  • EN81-20 which determines the overall level of safety for an elevator
  • EN81-70 which determines how elevators can be made accessible to people with disabilities

In addition to these, EN81-28 focuses specifically on emergency elevator phones and the requirements not only for the design and installation but also for monitoring and maintaining operability.

Why 3-day test calls?

The EN81-28 standard mandates how an emergency phone should operate including the requirement that a ‘test call’ be placed every 3 days (interesting fact – this period was determined as 3 days is the longest a human can survive without water).

The maximum time between test calls is set at every 3 days, though some lift owners will run them even more often to ensure operability is maintained while the risk to passengers and the liability for the facility managers in case anything goes wrong, is minimised.

How are the tests done?

For the test to be run, the standard requires the emergency phone simulates an alarm input (as part of an elevator maintenance visit, to supplement the required testing, the alarm button should also be manually tested) which establishes a connection to the receiver – this is normally a piece of software or specialist equipment.

The reception equipment can be provided by either the elevator owner or the elevator maintenance company but should be agreed on by both parties to ensure the required monitoring and maintenance takes place.

The receiver will log that the test call was placed, including the following information:

  • The autodialer was able to dial out and connect to the receiver
  • It will dial back in 3 days’ time

Additionally, specific information about the emergency alarm hardware is also transferred to the receiver including:

  • the mains power (on/off-running on battery)
  • the status of the battery (fully charged / charging / fault)
  • status of the speaker
  • status of the microphone

Both the speaker and the microphone are tested by a wraparound test whereby the speaker emits a tone and the microphone registers whether it is able to detect the tone or not.

If there is a fault in this test, it could mean that:

  • the speaker never made a noise, and the microphone is working properly
  • the speaker made a noise, and the microphone is broken
  • or both speaker and microphone are broken

In any of these scenarios, someone needs to check the equipment to diagnose the exact fault and fix it.

It is important to consider when the 3-day tests go off because, depending on the building, the noise made by the speaker may be heard by people on that level (making it an issue when the tests are taking place at midnight in a residential building!).

Who’s responsible?

The standard does not specifically state whose responsibility it is to receive and record the 3-day test calls. Though the data record belongs to the owner of the equipment, it could be stored by the elevator company, an emergency call centre, or even the building owner themselves. The elevator owner and the elevator maintainer should discuss and agree on with whom the responsibility will lie, to prevent an assumption of responsibility that may not be fulfilled.

Facility managers should be aware that in the event of a lawsuit resulting from the entrapment of a lift passenger, they may be asked to present their compliance records (which are part of the required risk assessment) and even, possibly, their full maintenance records for the lift.

To help ensure the 3 day test call requirement is being fulfilled at all times, the Avire Hub is a secure, remote, and easy to use monitoring tool where either the facility manager or the lift company can easily access records of the 3-day test calls and in case proof of them is required, offering additional peace of mind. The Avire Hub is compatible with most emergency phones.

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