Case Study: Glasgow City Chambers, Scotland

The Scotland Branch of Stannah Lift Services won the contract to completely refurbish two passenger lifts within the City Chambers and both lifts were far from standard applications.

The modernisation programme was to improve the lift performance, meet the requirements of the Lifts Directive (95/16/EC) 1995, BS5655, EN 81-80 – and the Lord Provost!

Overlooking George Square, in the heart of the city centre, is one of Glasgow’s grandest buildings. The City Chambers, the headquarters of the City Council since 1888, is a most prestigious historical building.

The Lord Provost's lift

A 12 person passenger lift with traction drive for the specific use of the Lord Provost of Glasgow and staff. The lift car and landing doors were custom-made with a finish to befit the historic interior of the City Chambers. Specified by the Lord Provost, the interior of the lift car is lined with Jatoba wood and highlighted with brass fittings to match the Jatoba lined doors on each landing. The five-floor lift travels from basement level to chambers on each floor above.

Removing the old motor room equipment and installing the new was particularly challenging. The existing lift motor room was isolated on the roof top of the chambers building. In order to remove the old equipment, the motor room roof had to be removed and the redundant parts were hoisted out by mobile crane. The new lift traction machine and control panel were then positioned in the motor room in the same manner. Positioning of the lift crane to carry out this operation was restricted to a courtyard in the centre of the building, access only through an ornate arched passage way with restricted height.

The second lift

A goods passenger lift, principally used to move equipment and supplies from the goods entrance to the kitchens on the top floor. Again the situation was far from straightforward with this project as there was no access to install the new equipment in the existing motor room, which is located above the lift shaft. A new motor room, complete with trapdoor and lifting beam, was constructed in the ample upper headroom of the lift shaft and the new equipment was hoisted via the lift shaft into the new motor room.

Access to the new motor room had to be constructed to meet new Health and Safety requirements and to adhere to the strict guidelines applied to a listed building. A black wrought iron spiral staircase was installed to ensure both easy access for engineers and suitable aesthetics within the building.

The lift specification

Internal car dimensions: width 1,600mm, depth 1,220mm

Entrance width: 1,020mm

Travel: 17,800mm

Speed of travel: 1.5m/s

Lift well width: 2,784mm

Lift well depth: 1,669mm

Headroom: 5,950mm

Pit depth: 1,040mm

“The listed status of the City Chambers presented several challenges to the refurbishment project. Collaboratively, the challenges were overcome and the results blend beautifully with the building’s ornate interior.”

Stannah Project Manager for Glasgow City Chambers