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It Has to Be Safe

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The Paris Metro

Liftinstituut Solutions experts discuss consulting activities with governments, building owners and others.

Efficiency and reliability are ideals for any transportation system, be it road or rail, on the sea, in the air or within a building. The overriding concern, though, is safety. For Liftinstituut Solutions — an inspection, certification and consulting firm for the vertical-transportation (VT) industry — this has been true since its founding in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 85 years ago.

“In a world of financial and commercial interests, we are fully committed to giving wholly independent advice on elevators and escalators. With the support of a nonprofit foundation, we strive to contribute to higher elevator and escalator safety all over the globe,” said Albert-Jan van Ommen, Liftinstituut Solutions international business manager, who noted that building owners and managers increasingly are engaging the services of the company. “From hotels to health care, from transit to airports, all over the world, we share our knowledge of elevator and escalator safety, and help building owners and managers, as well as authorities, to make the right decisions.”

In addition to its Amsterdam headquarters, Liftinstituut Solutions has a regional office in Istanbul and is making a name for itself internationally by setting up inspection regimes in different countries. Van Ommen notes:

“We have partnered with LiftInspect in Ireland to set up a safety inspection regime with which we are helping to reduce the relatively high number of incidents involving elevators and escalators in the country. In the Caribbean, we are already very active, with safety inspections for elevators and escalators. On the island of Aruba, we will soon be officially accredited as a certifying body, which will enable us to share our safety knowledge even further there.”

Safety Partner in Singapore

Liftinstituut Solutions has been the sounding board for safety matters for the Building & Construction Authority in Singapore for many years now, according to van Ommen:

“We assist the authority with the investigation of incidents and accidents, and train the staff in the area of standards. We are also part of the International Panel of Experts for elevator and escalator safety in Singapore. Our efforts in Southeast Asia are obviously being appreciated, as the South Korean government has also now engaged our services.”

He said Liftinstituut Solutions is also the elevators and escalators partner of the Singapore Housing & Development Board (HDB):

“The HDB is responsible for 80% of all residential buildings in the island state. We train the employees so that they have the expertise to deal properly with all elevator and escalator manufacturers and maintenance companies, and know what they need to pay attention to when it comes to safety, operational reliability and maintenance. We also conduct an annual factory acceptance test for the HDB. With the purchase of hundreds of elevators for new buildings, they want to be absolutely sure that everything will meet the required standards and specifications. For this, we assess the first of the batch. Based on this first test, we provide a checklist HDB employees themselves can use to inspect the elevator after installation and take delivery of it from the installer.”

Subways

If there is one place where escalators and elevators play a vital role, it is the underground railways of the world’s major cities. Liftinstituut Solutions is involved in projects in Paris, Barcelona, Munich, Istanbul and Dubai, to name a few. Said van Ommen:

“For the French metro company RATP, for example, not only did we carry out the factory acceptance text, we also audited the manufacturer’s entire production process. This kind of audit gives assurance that very few problems will be encountered after the installation of the escalators during site acceptance tests. We are regularly called in just to examine the condition of elevator and escalator installations so that the maintenance budget for the next five years can be determined again.”

Suleyman Özcan, Eurasia regional manager, added:

“Subway organizations also turn to us to give a third-party opinion when there is a dispute between, for example, the owner of the escalator and the maintenance party. The subways in Dubai and Istanbul had to deal with a lot of escalator faults and downtime. As an independent expert, we examine the facts and deliver an opinion that is clear, solidly underpinned and usually supplemented with concrete proposals for improvement.”

VT Design

Liftinstituut Solutions is also instrumental in the genesis of large building projects. Said Özcan:

“Take a project like Maslak 1453 in Istanbul. Residents and retailers find their way to the 4,681 residences and 533 stores via 315 elevators and 40 escalators, all of which had to be completed at the same time. Trusting in our experience, the main contractor placed the entire project management in our hands: from coordination to installation and from inspection to handover. The outcome was that all the installations were completed on time and within budget.”

What is happening more and more, Özcan said, is that elevator consultants are taking over the entire VT design process from the builders, all the way through to the completion of the project. He continued:

“We help conceive ideas at the drawing board, do the traffic analyses, write the invitations to tender and take on the entire project management, if desired, as with the Etlik PPP Health Campus in Istanbul — a hospital project with 3,566 beds and more than 250 elevators and escalators. At every stage of the process, we not only take a critical view of quality and safety, we also consider the aspect of ride comfort.”

Air Traffic Control Tower

There are some projects where the safety and operational reliability of an elevator installation must never be left to chance. “Our inspection expertise is called on then, too,” said Özcan, adding, “For example, we took care of the detailed final inspection of the elevators in the new Air Traffic Control Tower in Istanbul. This tower is used day and night, so the elevators have to be available practically 100%.”

Future

With projects worldwide, consultants from Liftinstituut Solutions fly from Amsterdam and Istanbul all over the globe. Said van Ommen:

“To enable us to serve our customers even better, we are currently opening even more offices. We recently opened our Caribbean office on Aruba, and our office in Dubai will be opening its doors soon. After all, if there is one place where elevators and escalators play a leading role, it is in this extraordinary high-rise environment.”

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