Saturday, 25 January 2020
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Updated standard enhances barrier-freedom in lifts

DIN EN 81-70 includes minimum requirements for accessibility and the use of lifts – a basic precondition for barrier-freedom in multi-floor buildings.

The updated standard creates more barrier-freedom. (Photo: © Kone)

The standard, which had been valid since 2003, has now been revised. Barrier-freedom in buildings – a subject repeatedly discussed, not just for the disabled, but also for older people and families with small children.

DIN EN 81-70:2018, which had been valid since 2003, has now been revised. It now specifies numerous aspects regarding the nature and equipment of lifts for further improvement of barrier-freedom, above all for the disabled.

In future, lift cars must have minimum dimensions of 1,100 x 1,400 mm (width x depth) and a door width of 900 mm to conveniently admit someone in a wheelchair with a companion. The standard even recommends a car size of 1,100 x 2,100 mm for lifts in public buildings.

Buttons must be tactile

"The idea is to ensure disabled people are not disadvantaged, meaning planners, architects and building owners should check in good time whether their lifts correspond to these dimensions," explained Björn Sürig, new lift product manager at Kone.

Apart from changes in lift car sizes, DIN EN 81-70:2018 also includes new contrast requirements for all operating elements. For example, the luminance contrast of buttons with their surroundings must be 30 to 60 percent to ensure people with visual impairments can see them. Not new, but essential in this respect: the buttons must be tactile, i.e. provided with tangible symbols, for people with visual impairments.

New features regarding special car equipment

There are also new features regarding special car equipment. For example, accessibility may not be restricted by fittings on the car wall (for example, handrails). A mirror is mandatory, to enable wheelchair users to see behind them when leaving the lift.

"Distribution of lifts corresponding to the original DIN EN 81-70:2003 is still possible up to 31 May 2020. This is when the transitional period ends," noted Sürig.

Kone provides information about standard-compliant lifts at

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