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Lifts must have a two-way communication system so that in the event of a person being trapped, they can communicate with the outside world. Migue Fernández
Four out of ten community associations will need to adapt their lifts to meet Spain's tougher safety rules
Health and safety

Four out of ten community associations will need to adapt their lifts to meet Spain's tougher safety rules

Upgrades to comply with the Royal Decree can range from 350 to 1,000 euros, if it is only to change or fix a part, to more than 30,000 euros if it involves replacing the lift with a new one

Susana Zamora

Malaga

Monday, 3 June 2024, 14:57

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A new rule will oblige many homeowners' associations in Malaga and on the Costa del Sol to adapt their lifts so they meet technical and safety requirements.

In some cases, it will be enough to change or repair a part to comply with the so-called Complementary Technical Instruction (ITC AEM 1), which originates from the Royal Decree 355/2024, approved by the government in April, but in others, the obligation to comply with the new law may mean replacing the lift with a new one and undertaking work that will take weeks and could cost a fortune.

Four out of every ten residents' associations in Malaga province will be affected and will have to undertake some kind of reform to comply with the provision of the ministry of industry, which will come into force on 1 July. "It will be a progressive adaptation, so that each community will carry it out when it is time for its review," said Manuel Jiménez, president of the Association of Property Administrators of Malaga and Melilla. "They have been announcing for years that its implementation would be immediate and this has allowed companies to prepare themselves and, also, that many systems are already adapted."

The reason behind the performance requirements and adjustments is to improve safety, in lifts of residential flats and those in office buildings, private premises or public facilities. The aim is to incorporate the safety measures of new lifts into older lifts.

The new standard sets out a series of technical requirements, including the levelling of the lifts to correct any steps between the inside of the lift and the outside and the detection of people so the automatic doors do not hit them when they enter or exit. Older elevators usually have two photocells installed at the bottom, while more modern elevators have photoelectric barrier systems that cover a larger surface area.

Another of the conditions is that lifts must have a two-way communication system so that in the event of a person being trapped, they can communicate with the outside world to ask for help and receive instructions. The new law will also make it compulsory to have control devices that prevent the lift from overloading, "provided that it is technically feasible and does not imply the replacement of the control panel", according to the BOE. Old lifts, if they're not going to be changed, "will have to reduce their load by 50%".

Lifts that have to undergo an inspection from 1 July must be adapted to the new safety requirements. If they do not meet the requirements, homeowner associations must remedy it within a period that will depend on the type of repair that is necessary. Minor defects that have not been rectified after the scheduled inspection "will become serious in the next inspection". The regulation warns, the maintenance company will be obliged to stop the lift if the community does not accredit that the mandatory periodic inspection has been carried out when it was due or has given its approval to the deficiencies.

30,000 euros if the lift needs to be replaced

Adaptation to the new state regulations on lifts is going to mean a financial outlay for a large number of residents' associations in Malaga. Upgrades to comply with the Royal Decree can range from 350 to 1,000 euros, if it is only to change or fix a part, to more than 30,000 euros if it involves replacing the lift with a new one. However, the president of the Association of Property Administrators of Malaga and Melilla, Manuel Jiménez, calls for calm because of the total number of communities that will be affected, he believes that only a minority will have to change their elevators and gives an example: "I manage 130 communities and only two will have to replace them". A measure that, if it had to be carried out, both the administrator and the president would be legally empowered to do so, "because we are obliged by law and because it affects the safety of the building". It would not, therefore, require the agreement of an owners' meeting. However, as it is an economic issue, Jiménez recommended including this matter on an agenda to inform all the residents why this adaptation is necessary, so that they can assess the previously requested budget for the work to be done and decide how to deal with it, whether to assume it with the community's own funds - if it has them - or if the expense is high, to agree on a charge or request a loan. "The most burdensome will be when there are lifts that, due to their age and obsolescence, there is no choice but to change them". Jiménez also called on communities that currently do not have lifts and have more than three floors to take advantage of the aid provided for in the Junta de Andalucía's Ecovivienda Plan. "Although they are for energy efficiency measures, other accessibility measures (a lift, for example) can be considered if they are part of the same action. Jiménez also pointed out that there are others with funds from the regional government only for accessibility and two from Malaga City Council, one for building refurbishment (still in force) and another for accessibility, which will be announced in December.

Jiménez assured property administrators are used to dealing with regulations from the ministry of industry and that the new regulations are a positive development. He said lifts enjoy a "high level of reliability", given that in the past eight years they have included some of the standards that will now be mandatory, such as two-way communication or automatic systems that allow the machine to anticipate a breakdown and inform the control centre. "The lifts of today have little to do with those of the past and, although it is a field that worries us property administrators as it is a very used and fundamental resource in a community, we have no records of serious incidents in Malaga".

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