These changes will include recertifications, installation lifecycles, product designs and the use of accredited maintenance and inspection service providers.
An important change resulting from the new regulations is that inspection and test cycles will be reduced, at first to 24 months and, later, possibly to 12 months. The improved standards and regulations will create higher levels of safety and quality compliance through the Department of Labour and the Operational Health and Safety Act.
The technical committee comprises important participants and stakeholders in the industry sector, such as the Lift Inspectors’ Association, the South African Property Owners Association, the South African Lift Engineering Association (LEA), the Engineering Council of South Africa, the Department of Labour, the Department of Minerals and Energy, the SABS and the Independent Lift Engineering Association of South Africa.
The committee is chaired by Bruno Isler.
Isler, a long-serving line manager, was recently appointed quality-compliance manager at Schindler Lifts. The appointment is an indication of Schindler’s increased emphasis on quality as a result of the convergence of quality standards both locally and internationally, driven in South Africa by the SABS and its working committees, he says.
“Without such compliance, service providers will have the opportunity, in collaboration with the Department of Labour, to disable installations,” explains Isler.
At Schindler, Isler’s new responsibilities will include ensuring standards compliance throughout the organisation and the coordination and control of practices and procedures aligned with the company’s new installations and existing installations.
“I see my task as drawing together the relevant components of quality enhancement taking place across the various sectors of the global business spectrum as well as the international and local changes affecting the lifts and escalators sector specifically.” He adds that Europe’s recertification process takes place on a yearly basis and there is hope that South Africa will follow suit in the future.
Isler explains that changes in design and technology occur continuously and it is the responsibility of the owners of assets, such as lifts, to reinvest and make the necessary upgrades.
The lift industry can help by way of proposals and creating awareness of new developments.
“Safety and reliability are not up for compromise,” emphasises Isler.
There is more of a trend towards augment-ing the aesthetic value of a building, what Isler terms “cosmetic upliftment”, but upgrading of the lifts themselves is not always a priority. With large upcoming projects, such as Gautrain and developments for the 2010 soccer World Cup, Isler predicts that, owing to the huge increase in the volume of work, there is danger of a shortage of skilled people. For its part, Schindler Lifts contributes to training and skills development through the establishment of accredited in-house training centres. Learnership and employee apprenticeship development programmes cover non- technical and higher and lower technical levels. Individuals are groomed for various positions in the industry and empowered through education. The aim is to ensure sustainable and profitable growth as well as continuity within the company and the industry as a whole.
Schindler also offers education for users, and promotes the safe use of equipment in an effort to help them avoid accidents and injuries.
The LEA educational video is given to clients, such as Airports Company South Africa and Murray & Roberts for safety training. The videos are also displayed, in collaboration with the LEA, at industry conferences and exhibitions. Isler hopes that this initiative will move through to schools. Schindler is currently involved in 35 African countries, such as Sudan, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe.
Isler says that it is involved in several “huge developments” that are supported by South Africa though the setting of standards and requirements for installation safety and maintenance safety. If there are no established standards in place, Schindler implements South African national standards to control the process.