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April 6, 2022

Owners Corporations, Strata Management and Lift Management your responsibilities

Owners Corporations, Strata Management and Lift Management your responsibilities

An increasing number of people are getting trapped in elevators, in a report from Fire and Rescue NSW in 2019 close to 1620 people were rescued from lifts, the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, an 80 per cent increase since 2014. In Melbourne estimates that 15 people every month are needing to be rescued by it’s Melbourne crews.  With increasing numbers of lifts being installed across office buildings, residential towers and low to medium rise townhouses, lift maintenance companies believe that this number will increase over the next few years.

In NSW, the Strata Community Association believes the number of rescues is likely to keep climbing because older elevators are reaching their use-by date.

“They’re a sleeping liability that people tend to ignore until [the lift fails],” said association president Chris Duggan.

While people are increasingly getting stuck in elevators, Mr Duggan said they now had better access to emergency lift services. “We’re not seeing problems that would create a safety risk,” he said.

Unfortunately whether we like it or not the NBN rollout will affect the existing technology used for Emergency Lift phones.  One the NBN is rolled out, two issues become clear; Firstly conventional lift phones will cease to operate in the event of power failure and secondary it remains a legislative requirement to have an operating emergency phone installed in a lift.  According to the BCA (Building Code of Australia); If an emergency lift phone is deemed to be inoperable or not compatible with the NBN network, the lift must be shut down until the phone is repaired or upgraded to NBN compatibility standards.

What are the responsibilities for strata managers when it comes to lifts?

1.     Ensure that the lift is registered, maintained and is safe for both users and workers.
2.     Have public liability insurance cover of $10 Million in place.
3.     Keep compulsory Legal Records:
1.     Proof of original design approval (Design Registration Certificate).
2.     Proof the original installation was inspected and deemed safe (Safe to Operate Certificate).
3.     Proof of current registration (Plant Registration Certificate).
4.     Proof of current maintenance (Service provider's "Adequate Maintenance" certificate).

Risk & Hazard assessments

All strata managers know that maintenance of a building's plant and equipment is something they must do, but owners are sometimes reluctant because it means spending money. There is also nothing worse for a strata scheme than to be confronted with unbudgeted costs. This can be a real problem for strata schemes with elevators that are ageing or when technology changes such as the NBN rollout shutting down existing PSTN technology.  

This assessment outlines the risks in terms of high, medium and low levels across your elevators, and indicates what solutions should be put in place to reduce the potential for harm to owners, tenants, visitors and workers, and reduce exposure to potential claims.

The Australian Department of Communication and the Arts (ADCA) have advised that phone and internet services connected to the NBN will not work during a power outage. If the power goes out, the lift will stop working and leave you without an operational lift phone. As a result, will leave passengers at risk, being trapped with no way to call for help. Not deploying an alternative solution to your lift phone under NBN would be a breach of obligations under federal, state or territory regulations, building codes, and/or Australian standards.


If someone gets stuck in a lift am I liable for compensation?

Stuck elevators are common occurrences, and often, these are resolved quickly without harm or excess stress. However, depending on the nature of the situation you may be eligible for a form of compensation, particularly if injury, such as heat stroke, or psychological damage has occurred

As mentioned, the strata legislation imposes a duty on an owners corporation to maintain and repair and, where necessary, renew or replace the common property.

If the owners corporation fails to maintain and repair, or renew and replace the common property where necessary, an owner can claim compensation from the owners corporation for any loss suffered by the owner as a result of the breach (section106(5) Strata Schemes Management Act 2015).

If the incident has occurred in the workplace, they may be able to seek damages under the Workers Compensation Act (1951).  In buildings such as shopping centres, office buildings or hotels, a public liability claim may be sought if negligence of care can be proven. This may involve an investigation into the maintenance of the elevator, availability of emergency lift phones or any unreported faults that had occurred over recent weeks.

What can be done about it

Now Technologies provides a communications solution that is independent of the NBN network. Our Emergency Lift Phone solution provides a full end-to-end communications hardware upgrade and offer full service management including battery backup and device monitoring. Now Technologies can provide: Dual network 4G gateway 4 hour battery backup - double the code requirements. No proprietary technology - ensuring a robust telecommunications solution Now Technologies provides and manage the SIM and relevant hardware - no need to deal with having to manage the signal and battery strength yourself.

When was this supposed to happen?

Disconnection of almost all fire and lift services from the legacy copper network, including emergency lift phones and monitored fire alarms, was scheduled to start occurring shortly after 18 March 2022. For these services to keep working, Fire and Lift companies, businesses, government entities, building and strata managers, body corporates and private users must take action to ensure these services are migrated to an alternative solution.

For more information speak with your Account Manager now!

For more information regarding the NBN and the lift phone requirements, visit:


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