Installing Lifts Without Scaffolding


Installing Lifts Without Scaffolding

The installation of vertical lift solutions in new buildings or during the refurbishment of older structures is a time consuming and costly endeavour. A new concept in installing or replacing lifts is the scaffold-less installation method.


Passenger or goods lifts run on several rails mounted on each side of a vertical shaft. These rails serve to guide, locate and provide emergency braking for the lift car. Traditionally the installation of these rails has involved the building of a scaffolding structure inside a vertical shaft to provide a working platform for the installation technicians. Apart from cost, the assembly process is time-consuming, restricts the working space of the technicians and has workplace safety implications.


The scaffold-less installation method involves using a temporary working platform during the installation process. This may include the use of a “false car” as a platform or even the use of a suitably protected new lift cabin as a base for technicians to work from.



There are a number of different methods for installing lifts without scaffolding, two popular options are:

1)     The False Car

The false car is an adjustable platform built of lightweight, high-strength aluminium for ease of handling and installation. The design allows for a wide range of distances between guides and depth dimensions allowing it to fit in virtually all lift shafts and to accommodate all rail sizes. The operating controls and braking systems meet stringent safety requirements. A frame with a protective canopy is mounted on the platform that shields technicians from falling objects within the lift shaft during the assembly process. The crash deck installed at the top of the shaft provides a further level of protection.

2)     The New Lift Cabin

In this method, the basic skeleton of the new lift cabin is constructed in the pit of the lift shaft. After this, an initial section of guide rails is fitted to the sides of the lift shaft. The structure is carefully protected from damage as technicians work from the roof of the cabin while installing new guide rails above the cabin. As new guide rail sections are installed the lift cabin is slowly winched up the shaft by the wire rope climber or hoist.

An obvious benefit from this method is that the installation and removal of the false car is avoided together with associated costs and time.

The Installation Process

  • The first set of guide rails are installed at the bottom of the lift shaft.
  • A “false car” or assembly platform is installed in the pit of the lift shaft that runs on the guide rails
  • The material hoist is installed
  • A waterproof “crash deck” is constructed at the highest point in the lift shaft
  • The false car is hooked up to a wire rope climber or hoist
  • A full safety audit is performed before operations can begin

Benefits of a scaffold-less lift installation:

  • Safe and secure working environment for installation staff
  • Improved available working space in the pit and shaft
  • High level of independence from the building contractors progress
  • Early commencement of lift installation before shaft construction is complete
  • Savings of lift installation time up to 30%
  • Unlimited operating height
  • The concept can also be employed while removing existing lifts from buildings under renovated and in the installation of replacements

Installing a lift without scaffolding reduces installation times and offers considerable associated cost savings. An added benefit is that there no scaffolding operating height constraints.

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