14th July 2020

Maintaining the lifts in your home

By Roxy Hughes
Associate Director
Lift in luxury home

You may be thinking about future proofing your home and installing a lift or you may already live in a home with one installed. Whether a wonderful luxury or a necessity, having a lift means you have responsibilities, not just to yourself but your visitors and staff (if you have them).

Lifts come in many shapes and sizes ranging from a small dumb waiter (effectively a goods lifts that is used to carry food from the kitchens up to the dining room), and passenger lifts, right through to large deep underground vehicle lifts.

What protection is there under my home insurance for my lift?

Typically, household insurance will cover physical loss or damage to a lift. So, if you had a fire the repair or replacement of the lift will be covered. 

Most household insurance policies also provide cover for property owners liability, which will include the ownership of lifts.

What is not covered by my home insurance?

General wear and tear, maintenance and inspection costs are not covered. Your policy will not respond if you have failed to comply with regulatory requirements as under the policy’s terms and conditions, you have a duty to maintain your property to a good state of repair.

What regulations apply?

You must carry out regular maintenance and have a thorough examination annually.

The UK’s lift regulations, known as LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998), mean that you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your lift is thoroughly examined and that it is safe to use.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 also applies, for example, if your lift is used by your staff. You must comply with these health and safety legal duties.

Records of servicing and maintenance, together with thorough examination reports, should be kept and provided to the regulatory authorities (HSA/Local Authority) when requested.  Any actions required by the thorough examination report should be completed as soon as possible and before the time specified on the report.  Where a dangerous defect has been detected, requiring immediate cessation of work, the lift should not be used until the defect has been rectified and the lift declared safe to use.

Do these regulations apply to a lift in my private home and what should I do?

Yes, because you have visitors, or you may have staff. You should arrange for your lift to be maintained (regularly serviced and kept in good repair) and thoroughly examined at intervals in line with legislation.

What is the difference between ‘maintenance’ and ‘thorough examination’?

Maintenance is the regular servicing of the lift, encompassing the routine adjustment to components, replacement of worn or damaged parts, topping up of fluids and so on, and should be carried out by an experienced and competent lift company. This is carried out to ensure the lift runs efficiently and safely.

Thorough examination is the systematic and detailed visual inspection of the lift and all its associated equipment and would be carried out by an independent competent person. Inspections should not be carried out by the same person responsible for maintenance due to conflict of interest.  Thorough examination provides a good check that maintenance is being carried out properly. It focuses entirely on the safety of the equipment. You should keep a record of inspections and a copy of the inspection certificates with your insurance documents.

Am I legally obliged to have my lift maintained?

Yes. The general duties imposed by the regulations mentioned above mean that you are obliged to keep your lift in safe working order. This means you must arrange for regular maintenance of your lift.

Am I legally obliged to have my lift thoroughly examined?

Yes. The regulations require that a lift undergoes an inspection/thorough examination by a competent person at regular intervals (twice a year for passenger lifts, once for goods lifts or according to the lift’s situation)

How often should my lift be checked?

Passenger lifts and vehicle lifts – Every six months

Goods lifts (including trolley lifts and dumb waiters) – Annually

How can Aston Lark help?

We will check your home insurance policy and confirm what cover you have for damage, and our Commercial team can also advise on and arrange a Plant and Inspection insurance policy. Call 0208 712 8046 for more information.