In this article, we will summarise the difference between emergency lift power systems (ELPS) and uninterruptible power systems (UPS). Firstly, let’s put some context around why either or both of these systems may be important for your building design.

Whether you are responsible for the design of a building, the construction of that building or the management of the building. It is crucial that you consider all elements of emergency evacuation.

Some of these considerations will involve the mechanisms of evacuation in the event of a fire or power failure. Particularly for any individuals who are unable to make use of stairs. In the planning and preparations for these situations, it’s certainly worth considering emergency lift power systems (ELPS) and uninterrupted power supplies (UPS).

In this post, we have offered up details of both ELPS and UPS systems. The intention is to help building designers understand the respective functionality, making the decision-making process easier.

Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

A UPS is a type of unit that is installed into buildings to assist with emergency evacuations. These units came before ELPS units and have been used for many years in many public buildings across the country.

Uninterrupted Power Supply units make sure vital power isn’t shut off in times of need, such as during an evacuation. These systems are also used for other power-critical events, such as for computer backups. From a building design perspective, they come in very handy for emergency evacuation purposes.

UPS units typically have a shorter operation time than ELPS and so are recommended for smaller buildings, for example, or for buildings that don’t have an immediate need for these systems.

These systems can last for up to 13 years when properly maintained and serviced and are recognised by many of the standard regulations, including the BS9999.

Emergency Lift Power Systems (ELPS)

An ELPS is specifically designed to assist in the event of an emergency evacuation. These systems aid compliance with the necessary health and safety standards specifications (including BS, EN and IEC).  Naturally, they have proven extremely useful and helpful in various contexts. Not least within schools, hospitals, care homes, universities, apartment blocks and other buildings.

Emergency Power Lift Systems are reliable tools to invest in, for the safe and efficient evacuation of any individuals who are unable to use the stairs or another fire evacuation route independently. These systems are essentially a standby power system which can be used on any lift (both traction and hydraulic) in an emergency. A certified or authorised individual is able to control the system from an external switch, typically located by the lift call button.

Once activated, the individual can then operate the lift for a certain number of journeys within an hour. As recommended in the BS9999 regulations. The limit is usually set to around 10 upwards journeys and 10 downward journeys. However, these limits can be altered dependant on your building’s specific requirements.

The time limit can also be extended where required, for larger buildings or for buildings that are purpose-built for the elderly or disabled, for example.

When not in use, an ELPS unit will keep its batteries fully charged. Hence, the system is prepared for emergency scenarios, when their power supply is critical. Most ELPs units are expected to have a lifespan of around 10 years. Of course, based on the assumption that the recommended maintenance and servicing is carried out.

A cost-effective evacuation method

An ELPS unit is an extremely cost-effective and eco-friendly way of ensuring safe evacuation in your building. When not in use, these units typically use up only 250 watts of electricity. In relative terms, this could save around £2,500 a year when compared to other evacuation units.

Here we have provided a simple overview of the two main emergency evacuation systems. It’s vital that you thoroughly understand the advantages and drawbacks of each system before making an investment decision for your building.