News

Enjoy reading the most important industry news items happening in the UK on a regular basis. The UK Lift / Elevator / Escalator Industry is unique in many ways and generates news that cannot easily be found on other media platforms. EWUK Magazine is the news forum for this specialist industry. News items are submitted by various sectors of the industry, including Lift Contractors, Lift Consultants, Architects, Property Managers, Building Owners, Equipment Suppliers and Government Bodies.

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July 21-August 3

PLATFORM LIFT NAMED EXTREMA DISTRIBUTOR

Italy-based Extrema, a manufacturer of upscale platform lifts and stair risers, has made Platform Lift Co. U.K. its sole distributor in the U.K. and Ireland. This exclusive new agreement enables Platform Lift, which has branches throughout the two countries, to fulfill orders from other lift trade companies, as well as supply commercial and residential markets with Extrema accessibility products. Extrema’s products for the market include a customizable deluxe vertical platform lift and three different types of stairlifts specifically designed for curved and straight staircases. Platform Lift’s services include design, manufacture, installation, and service and maintenance. 

LIFT & ESCALATOR SYMPOSIUM ANNOUNCEMENTS

This year’s Lift & Escalator Symposium, traditionally held in Northampton, U.K., will be a virtual-only event taking place on September 23-25. In addition to the usual presentations, it will feature panel discussions on global standards and impact of COVID-19 on the lift industry six months on. It is sponsored by the Lift & Escalator Symposium Educational Trust, made up of the University of Northampton, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers and Lift and Escalator Industry Association. The event is free, but the organizers ask that attendees donate to the trust. The following edition is still scheduled to be held in Shanghai on June 7-8, 2021, and include technical visits. Partnering organizers for that iteration are Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Schindler.

ACQUISITION COMPLETE; THYSSENKRUPP ELEVATOR INDEPENDENT

The acquisition of thyssenkrupp Elevator by private-equity firms Advent International and Cinven is complete, with all relevant regulatory authorities approving the transaction, thyssenkrupp Elevator announced on July 31. "The successful closing marks a new chapter in our history," CEO Peter Walker said. Advent and Cinven said they aim to grow thyssenkrupp Elevator through organic growth; carefully targeted acquisitions, particularly in Asia; energy-efficient product development; and R&D. As part of the change in ownership, thyssenkrupp Elevator will relocate its global headquarters from Essen to Düsseldorf, Germany, in 2021. With operations worldwide and more than 50,000 employees, thyssenkrupp Elevator had sales of EUR8 billion (US$9.4 billion) in 2018-2019. Service is its most important business, with approximately 1.4 million units under maintenance and more than 24,000 service technicians globally. Its stable service business allowed thyssenkrupp Elevator to "demonstrate its fundamental resilience" throughout the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as it "ensured ongoing mobility in. . .healthcare facilities and public buildings."

ELEVATOR INDUSTRY COVID-19 SURVEY RESULTS ANALYSIS

Elevator World, Inc.; the German elevator association VFA Interlift e.V. and fair organizer AFAG, in association with Credit Suisse, recently shared results of a survey of elevator industry representatives on the current industry status and anticipated effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on business. Credit Suisse Managing Director and Head of European Capital Goods Equity Research Andre Kukhnin assisted with preparation of a chart analysis, including breakdowns by country, of the results (excluding China, as only three of the nearly 600 responses were from that country). Calculating results using a method akin to the widely followed, evenly balanced Purchasing Manager Index, observations include:

  • Overall assessment of the current economic situation leans toward “challenging,” with 34% answering “bad,” 26%, “good” and the remaining 40% “neutral.”
  • Industry associations are most negative in their outlook versus pre-pandemic times
  • Manufacturers and service providers are least negative in their outlook versus pre-pandemic times
  • Overall, the industry outlook is slightly cautious, with 29% expecting unfavorable development over the next six months, half expecting stability and 19% expecting favorable development. Respondents from Europe and North America were less negative.
  • In terms of business outlook, industry associations are most cautious in their pandemic-era outlook, followed by manufacturers/components suppliers and consultants/service providers.
  • The most-cited business-limiting factor is COVID-19-related restrictions, followed by economic uncertainty and lagging demand.
  • Those in Europe and North America plan to maintain current levels of employment over the next three months, but those in the Asia-Pacific region do not.
  • New equipment providers in Europe anticipate business to be up to 10% below pre-COVID-19 levels, while modernization providers, expect the firms to be only 3% below previous levels.

July 7-20

INTERLIFT ORGANIZERS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT 2021 EVENT

With approximately 160 registrations as of July, organizers of Interlift, planned on October 19-22, 2021, at Messe Augsburg in Augsburg, Germany, are optimistic about the upcoming iteration, stating, "After much uncertainty, the outlook for next year is positive." The international vertical-transportation tradeshow is set to occupy the same 46,500 m2 as in 2019, including two temporary exhibition halls (one of which is to be occupied by Wittur exclusively). Organizers reflected on a recordbreaking Interlift 2019, which had 577 exhibitors from 44 countries and 21,260 visitors from more than 100 countries. Interlift representatives aim to determine hall placement in August, by which time all placement requests should have been received. For more information, email VFA-Interlift e.V. 

CTBUH NOW ACCEPTING AWARDS SUBMISSIONS

The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has begun accepting submissions for its 2021 awards program. A panel of judges will evaluate projects and individuals that have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of tall buildings and the urban environment, in addition to sustainability achievement. The awards have more than 20 categories, including “Best Tall Building,” “Urban Habitat,” “Innovation,” “Renovation,” “Interior Space,” “Construction” and “Engineering.” The deadline for submissions is September 4. Award-winning projects will be recognized at the annual Tall + Urban Innovation Conference in Chicago, scheduled for April 19-20, 2021, involving selected teams presenting their projects for live judging to an international audience.

ELDERLY COUPLE HOSPITALIZED IN U.K. FROM ESCALATOR FALL

A woman was airlifted to a hospital in serious condition, and her husband was also hospitalized following a fall on an escalator in a shopping center in Guildford, U.K., on July 7, SurreyLive reports. Emergency medical personnel were called to the scene at approximately 1:20 p.m. and treated the elderly couple onsite. Describing the incident as “accidental,” a shopping center spokesperson said, “Our thoughts are with the couple and their families at this difficult time.”

June 23-July 6

TÜV SÜD ISSUES “COVID-19 REOCCUPATION OF BUILDINGS” GUIDANCE

Guidelines for lift and escalator use are a key part of the “COVID-19 Reoccupation of Buildings” guidance issued by TÜV SÜD in the U.K. Before implementing changes, the company advises employers to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, for which interactive tools are available from the Health and Safety Executive. Managing risk involves social distancing, regular cleaning of high-touch areas such as elevator buttons and escalator handrails, placing signage on equipment to indicate social-distancing protocols and thorough and frequent communication with staff. Many elevators can also be programmed to bypass floors when maximum passenger capacity has been reached. For more information, contact TÜV SÜD Managing Director Paul Hastings.

LONDON SKYSCRAPERS FACE AN UNCERTAIN COVID FUTURE

With many large corporations realizing working remotely saves money and doesn’t reduce productivity, office skyscrapers in London — both existing and planned — face an uncertain future in the COVID-19 era, The Guardian reports. Firms are downsizing or giving up their in-office staff, including insurer Lloyds of London, which closed its underwriting room in London’s Square Mile in March for the first time in more than 300 years. Lloyd’s plans to reopen it in August, but at only a fraction of capacity. Deloitte consultants predict office tower construction delays of up to six months, with completions scheduled for this year pushed to 2021. Observing that “behavioral science is unique to [the COVID-19] crisis,” Mat Oakley of property firm Savills says he is confident London’s office market will bounce back. The only question is when.

U.K. ORGANIZATION ISSUES UPDATED LIFT-TESTING GUIDELINES

The Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed), a membership organization in the U.K. representing the interests of independent inspectors of manufacturing plants, systems and machinery, has updated its 2009 guidelines on supplementary testing of vertical-transportation equipment. Overseen by SAFed representative Vince Sharpe and Nick Mellor of the Lift & Escalator Industry Association, the revisions include new sections for unintended car movement protection and automatic power-operated doors, and a recommendation that equipment owners retain records of supplementary

MULTIPLE TOWERS PLANNED IN MANCHESTER, U.K.

A construction plan to bring more than 1,300 new homes to the Salford Quays area of Manchester, U.K., would include a 41-story tower, the Manchester Evening News reported on June 25. The Salford council has already granted outline permission for a development of up to six buildings in the area near the Broadway Metrolink stop, but X1 Developments and construction firm Vermont have instead proposed four separate residential buildings containing a mixture of apartments, townhouses and shops. The plan calls for new open spaces, including a central courtyard, private gardens and a link to the Metrolink stop. The development will be constructed in phases, with the first phase including a 31-story tower with 366 apartments and nine townhouses. Another building, comprising two towers of 35 and 11 stories, will have 387 apartments and seven townhouses. The third phase will focus on the 41-story, 365-unit building, followed by a 14-story, 180-unit structure.