Time to upgrade or replace your elevator?

Time to upgrade or replace your elevator?

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As the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. For those apartment dwellers fortunate to have a lift within their building, do you know how long it’s been there? More importantly, how will you know when your lift has seen better days and it’s time to act?

To help answer these questions we’ve reached out to Equity Elevator Consultants for advice on ways to extend the lifespan of your lift. They can also help you decide when it is time to move on.

According to Equity Elevator Consultants, the lifespan of a lift is generally between 15-25 years, depending on the type of equipment installed, and owners should take this into account when planning and budgeting.

“We often encounter lifts that are 40-50 years old, many still running without ever having been upgraded or modernised.

“While it is a testament to the quality of the original equipment, unfortunately most of these lifts are no longer reliable, nor safe when compared to the modern technology lifts installed today,” says Tim Steenkamp, Lift Consultant.

Signs that your lift may be past its use-by date

  • Frequent breakdowns or passenger entrapments
  • Extended ‘outages’ due to a lack of spare parts
  • High repair costs due to obsolete equipment
  • Poor ride quality and dangerous floor levelling
  • Disabled accessibility (DDA) non-compliance
  • High electricity usage costs


Outdated lift technology and components typically stop being manufactured 10-15 years after the original release date. After this date, components are considered obsolete and, in many cases, will no longer be covered under your comprehensive maintenance contract.

When parts can no longer be easily sourced, salvaged ‘used’ parts are commonly utilised to repair the lift. Eventually when these can no longer be found, and your own faulty parts cannot be rebuilt, your lift may not be able to be repaired.

Equity Elevator Consultants advise you definitely don’t want to find yourself in this position. Your lift may be out of service for 6-12 months before equipment can be sourced from a factory to complete either a major modernisation or a full lift replacement.

Checking the condition of your lift

To help determine how much life is left in your lift, Equity Elevator Consultants can provide a General Assessment Report. This is a general health check for your lift. It will identify any issues, provide advice on ways to improve your lift’s reliability, or manage any risks that can’t yet be eliminated.

The General Assessment Report also includes a lifecycle planning section so you can ensure your sinking fund is sufficient when the time comes to upgrade.

“Based on our report, you’ll know exactly when you will need to have funding available.

“We can manage your current lift maintenance or repairs with your current service provider to make the lift safe and reliable until you can upgrade.

“Depending on the type of equipment installed, and the number of floors served, a partial upgrade may be all you need,” says Steenkamp.

Should a major modernisation be required, it’s important to seek independent advice to ensure the solutions chosen are best for your Owners Corporation.

Equity can assist in designing an upgrade specification with optimal lifespan and technology that will be cost effective and reliably maintained by any major lift company.

Should it be more cost effective to completely remove the old lift and install a brand new one, this may provide technology and energy efficiencies that wouldn’t necessarily be achieved through traditional modernisation. The cost of both options is often comparable.

“A complete lift replacement solution may not be suitable for all buildings. We’re experts in this field and will guide you through the process. We can provide budgets for all available options, along with advice on the pros and cons of each, and a recommendation on the solution that will best suit your building,” says Steenkamp.

Planning a lift upgrade or replacement

Regardless whether you need to upgrade or replace your lift, considerable planning will be required during the transition.

“Lead times for new elevator equipment is generally around six months. During the process, your building may be without a lift service. Equity can provide advice to help minimise any difficulties or inconvenience.

“Once your project has been completed, you can look forward to many years of reliable lift service, and your new or upgraded lift will be smoother riding, more energy-efficient and safer for all,” says Steenkamp.

Making the right choice on a lift upgrade or replacement can be difficult. It can also be expensive. Equity Elevator Consultants are experts in the elevator industry and will provide independent advice to protect your interests.

Contact Equity for further information or for an obligation-free chat.

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The information provided is a general guide only and is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The company disclaims all responsibility and liability for any expenses, losses, damages, and costs which might be incurred as a result of the information provided by the company. This content is published in partnership with Equity Elevator Consultants.

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