How do you remove a lift?

At Invalifts we get asked to remove old dilapidated lifts for replacement with one of our platform lifts. It is sometimes assumed that the removal of a lift is a straightforward process, simply the reverse of an installation, but this is not the case.

The removal has to be planned with consideration to health and safety, the environment and control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH). For example, depending upon the age of the lift, asbestos may be present in the shaft, controller and brakes. There may also be hydraulic fluids or mineral oils that need to be disposed of as controlled waste.

Before starting work, we also have to consider how heavy machinery, at the top of the shaft, may be lowered to ground level. At this point we decide whether to leave the motor assembly at the top of the shaft, if removal would present a large amount of demolition within the building.

Whilst working on the dismantling of the old lift, cutting tools may be used and so hot works would be taking place in the building. This could possibly need hot works permits and fire safety coordination. The shaft may require scaffolding in order to form working platforms.

We would also need to take into account that the building may be fully occupied whilst the lift is being dismantled and so access to the work area would need to be restricted. Each landing entrance will need fall protection during and after the removal. There may also be a large amount of noise created during the removal, which may be disturbing to users of the building or even neighbours.

Another hazard we consider when removing a lift is the control of dust. As work progresses dust from the shaft will be disturbed and escape the shaft. The dust could be harmful to the lift removers and other people in the building. There could also be a significant amount of waste material that has accumulated in the pit. This waste could be extremely dangerous such as discarded used needles, rotting animal flesh (rats and mice etc) and rotting food stuffs.

As you can see, there is a lot of planning which takes place before and during the removal of an old lift. We hope you’ve found this insight useful, and if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch via email or phone at or on 01827 438 797.