Lift Engineer Job Description - Duties, Skills and Career
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What Does a Lift Engineer Do?
Lift engineers carry out the design, construction, installation and maintenance of vertical and horizontal transport systems such as passenger lifts, service and goods lifts, travelators, moving walkways and escalators.
Lift engineers are required to have a knowledge of all of the electrical, mechanical and hydraulic components of vertical and horizontal transport systems, be able to read and interpret technical drawings, plans and diagrams and be familiar with all relevant regulations, legislation and best practices.
They also need to possess the technical expertise needed to handle all of the various problems, issues and emergencies that may arise in relation to a lift or other vertical or horizontal transport systems, including cabins stopping between floors, accidents, breakdowns and damage due to vandalism or tampering.
One of the key duties of a qualified lift engineer is ensuring that lifts can be operated safely. In addition to carrying out periodic inspections, lift engineers are also often required to install advanced safety devices on lifts to ensure the safety of lift users. These may include emergency call systems, automatic doors and alignment systems that ensure the doors only open when the cabin is properly aligned with the floor. When fitting new lifts, lift engineers are responsible for all the lift installation work, including connecting up all of the relevant electrical and electronic systems and performing start-up and operation. Once the lift has been checked for compliance with all the relevant requirements, the lift engineer issues the lift instruction manual and log book together with the declaration of conformity.
A large proportion of a lift engineer’s work is related to lift maintenance. Mandatory preventive and corrective maintenance of lifts by qualified lift engineers (focusing in particular on aspects such as the electrical circuits, the motor and the braking system) is a very important operation carried out in order to ensure that high levels of safety, reliability and durability are maintained.
Equally important are refurbishments and upgrades of older models of lift in accordance with the relevant legislation. In addition to preventive and corrective maintenance, lift maintenance engineers also carry out extraordinary and emergency maintenance work on lifts and escalators when a breakdown, fault or other mechanical or electrical issue occurs (e.g. stalled lifts, passengers stuck in the lift shaft). Since this is unplanned maintenance work performed on a call-out basis, lift engineers need to be available to work shifts that may fall during weekends or holidays and may also be on-call to respond to nighttime emergencies.
A lift engineer is typically either an employee, associate or owner of a company specializing in the installation, maintenance and repair of lifts and other vertical and horizontal transport systems.
Lift engineers need to be capable of working autonomously, as well as able, where necessary, to cooperate and communicate with other workers, who may include engineers, electricians, surveyors or building managers. They typically carry out their work in locations in which lifts are commonly situated, e.g. office buildings, industrial facilities, hotels, hospitals, high-rises and apartment buildings, or - in the case of new developments - on building sites. They are therefore often required to travel and in some cases may need to have their own car.
Lift Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
The duties of a lift engineer include:
- Fitting and installation of new passenger and goods lifts, escalators, travelators and moving walkways on the basis of technical documents
- Start-up and operation of lifts
- Ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of lifts
- Periodic checks and inspections of lift systems
- Identifying and repairing electrical and mechanical faults and replacing damaged parts
- Upgrading and refurbishing old lift systems
How to Become a Lift Engineer - Education and Requirements
To become a lift engineer specializing in the installation, maintenance and repair of vertical and horizontal transport systems some form of qualification in electrical, electronics or mechanical engineering is typically required, in many cases followed by an internship or apprenticeship with a specialized lift services company.
Lift engineers need to possess an in-depth knowledge of electrical, mechanical, electromechanical, electronic and hydraulic engineering and its application to passenger and goods lifts and building services and systems. They also need a strong familiarity with the constituent parts of a lift, the various types of lift system together with the applicable safety regulations, and excellent knowledge of the methods and procedures for installing, testing, upgrading, removing, repairing and maintaining, removing and repairing passenger and goods lifts, moving walkways, travelators and escalators.
In some countries, the legislation in force may require lift engineers to sit an exam to obtain a license or certificate before they can begin working.
Skills and Qualifications
The skills required by a lift engineer include:
- Excellent knowledge of technical systems
- In-depth knowledge of mechanics, electrics and electronics
- Ability to read and understand electrical and electronic diagrams, plans and drawings
- Knowledge of lift maintenance equipment
- Precision, attention to detail and ability to work autonomously
- Good manual dexterity and practical intelligence
- Problem-solving skills
Career Path and What to Expect
Lift engineers are technicians specializing in the installation and maintenance of lift (or elevator) systems. They typically start out their careers with an apprenticeship, under the guidance and supervision of more senior and experienced colleagues.
Experienced lift engineers working for companies with a number of employees may progress to a position as a senior lift engineer or lift engineer supervisor and coordinate the lift installation, maintenance and repair work carried out by their colleagues.
An alternative career option for expert lift engineers is to start their own business providing lift installation, maintenance and repair services.
Top Reasons to Work as a Lift Engineer
Lift engineers are specialized technicians for whom there is no shortage of demand and good prospects for stable employment. They deal with a wide variety of situations on a daily basis, including emergency call-outs and maintenance visits, in a broad range of locations, from smaller residential settings to larger office, industrial.or public environments. Every single job is an opportunity for a lift engineer to apply his or her expertise and problem-solving skills to ensure the ongoing safety of lift users.