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Brussels acts to protect the city’s historic lifts

Following the lead of other local authorities in Brussels region, the city council on Monday evening unanimously adopted a motion aiming to register and protect old lifts which are part of the capital’s built heritage.

The royal decree from 9 March 2003 relating to lift safety, stipulates that those lifts that had come into service before 1958 must be modernised by December 2022 at the latest. A number of funnel lifts with accordion doors, typical of the early 20th century, fall into this bracket.

Two weeks ago, a citizen group from the “Save our elevators” NGO called upon the City council to point out that this modernisation, intended to replace accordion with ordinary doors, was simply not necessary to satisfy the safety criteria required by law.

According to the NGO, since 2005 the law has sanctioned the execution of a risk assessment employing the so-called “Kinney” method enabling ‘tailored’ solutions to be validated. Some lift renovations have therefore been able to benefit from modernisation using alternative techniques that respect the lifts unique and original characteristics.

The NGO explains that it is possible to modernise the lifts without changing their original designs by installing a photosensitive screen and employing a more elaborate method of risk assessment.

Led by Marie Nagy (DéFI), the city council adopted a motion co-signed by the Socialist Party, Ecolo-Groen, cdH and MR group heads, aiming to set up an inventory of the lifts, inform their owners and make renovations more cost-effective.

The motion aims notably to call upon the Federal government to adapt the 2003 law to authorise renovations for the lifts that will not completely mar the architecturally historic lifts.

The Brussels Times

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