Lift Use and Occupancy


This document is part of the CIBSE series Emerging from lockdown. It provides guidance on reducing the risk of using lifts in the current circumstances. It is primarily intended for application in offices but may be applied to other buildings subject to an appropriate risk assessment.


The following guidance interprets the government guidelines at the time of writing that should reduce the risk of using lifts, but not eliminate it:

  • All intending lift passengers should decide whether they wish to use a lift under, at least, the recommendations below or use some other method to reach a floor in a building.

  • The lift car occupancy should only be one person per car up to a rated load of less than 800 kg.

  • For lifts with a rated load of at least 800 kg the permitted occupancy should be one person per square metre, rounded down. Example 1: An 800 kg lift has a maximum car area of 2 sqm and can accommodate two passengers. Example 2: A 2500 kg lift has a maximum car area of 5 sqm and can accommodate five passengers. Note: To determine the permitted occupancy, each lift car should be measured to determine its exact area.

  • Hand sanitising facilities and waste bins should be provided in all lift lobbies.

  • All intending passengers should sanitise their hands, before touching push buttons or entering the lift car.

  • All passengers entering a lift must wear an effective face covering as minimum PPE.

  • On entry all passengers should operate all the pushbuttons using a clean disposable object such as a coffee stirrer, straw, tissue, glove, etc.

  • All passengers should space themselves uniformly in the car, maximising interpersonal spacing and facing away from each other and towards a car wall or the car doors as much as possible, although they may need to check the location of the lift when it stops if the lift does not have voice annunciation.

  • After exiting the car any disposable objects should be safely disposed of in the bins provided in the lift lobbies.

  • After exiting the car all persons should sanitise their hands.

  • All surfaces touched or likely to be touched including the lift push buttons, doors, door frames, etc. should be cleaned regularly according to a risk assessment. The frequency shall be determined by the lift usage. In a large busy office building it might be every 15 minutes. In a small care home possibly once every three hours.

  • Those responsible for the management of the lift should strictly control passenger behaviour by posting notices explaining the conditions of lift usage.

The document can be found here.

CIBSE July 2021

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