Lifts in school buildings

A means of access for people with special needs must be installed, where practical, to every floor in a multi-storey school building when it is being built or altered (section 118, Building Act 2004). This applies whether or not there are people with special needs attending the school at the time.

One possible solution is to install a lift. It is more cost effective to install a lift when building a new multi-level building or altering an existing building.

Lift installation requirements

The NZ Building Code D2/AS1 states that lifts must comply with:

New schools must use lifts that fully comply with NZS 4332.

New lifts installed in existing school buildings must also comply with NZS 4332 where possible.

If an alternative lift is proposed as part of the retro-fit of an existing school building, this lift must comply with EN81-70. Lifts that do not meet either NZS 4332 or EN81-70 are not acceptable.

Maintaining, servicing and inspecting lifts

The Ministry has a national bulk servicing, maintenance and inspection contract as part of the building warrant of fitness (BWOF) scheme.

  • This contract includes servicing, maintenance and safety inspection for all lifts that are out of their initial installation maintenance period. This is normally six to 12 months from the day the lift is ready for use.
  • Every lift must be compliant with the NZ Standard under which it was installed. We can’t accept lifts into the contract that don’t meet these requirements.
  • The contract is funded by the Ministry of Education at no cost to the school.
  • The maintenance contract does not cover damage from misuse or vandalism.
  • All lifts in schools are a BWOF compliance item so by now all existing lifts should be under the lift contract.
  • Schools must advise the Ministry when a new lift is installed. This is so the lift can be added to the national contract. Send your lift details, make, age, location, etc to Argest, [no spam] and to your school property advisor.

Funding allowance for a lift

Roll growth classrooms and replacement building programmes

The new teaching space to meet roll growth funding programme may provide funding for a lift if you’re proposing multi-storey construction. This allowance is approved at the Ministry’s discretion and is usually approved if the school’s building platform is limited and multi-storey construction is the most practical or only building solution.

Funding is only provided for one lift as the Ministry has no specific requirement for more than one lift in a multi-storey building. One lift can serve a large building or a number of buildings, providing there is a natural flow across the buildings.

Content last updated: 21 May 2015