Date: 23rd September 2011
September 23rd 2011 - Gunnersbury Court is a 1930s private housing development of 73 flats within three Art Deco apartment buildings arranged as an attractive square surrounded by extensive grounds. This popular residential development has recently been the subject of a total refurbishment and upgrading the lifts was central to the programme.
Knowing how much the residents value their period surroundings it was not surprising that the news of the complete removal of the original open-work shutter-gate 4-person lifts and the bronze ‘cage’ shafts was met with some sadness. The original oak panelled lift car with brass fittings that travelled over 6 stops was certainly evocative of the era and as one resident put it ‘a significant part of the history of the building’.
Retaining the feel of the building was uppermost in the refurbishment teams’ minds too. Plans to retain the caged shaft were initially considered, as this afforded maximum light into the stairwell and out onto each floor. After much deliberation and careful assessment, and mindful of current regulations, it was decided that this would not be the safest option for all users of the lifts. It would be easy for trapping to occur between the shaft and the car, particularly as many children used the lifts.
So a compromise was reached. The shaft was replaced with a solid structure in which the new lift car travels, but lighting was improved to compensate with the loss of natural light. Each lift car has a bespoke finish in wood with bronze architrave inside and out. Operating buttons are mounted on a bronze panel, handrails are brass and the whole lift retains a stylish feel of a classic design era in keeping with its surroundings, whilst delivering safety and reliability for all users.
Great attention was paid to the environmental impact of the new lifts. The permanent magnet WVF gearless traction drive ensures smooth journeys, accurate stopping and minimum vibration and noise, so protecting residents from disturbance from the lift operation.
The lift replacement project took place with all residents in situ so a step-by-step approach was taken. Each building’s new lift and related building work was completed one at a time so only one apartment block had an out-of-service lift at any one time. Stannah’s team of lift engineers were on site a total of 32 weeks so it was crucial that they worked in a way that was acceptable to the residents, whilst ensuring completion of the job was on time and within budget.
Engineering Consultant Roger Howkins of Arup, who awarded the contract to British independent lift company Stannah on behalf of Gunnersbury Court comments:
‘The challenges of this project were always met with good humour and professionalism from Stannah personnel. We are delighted with the outcome. Gunnersbury now has efficient and economical lifts that retain sympathy to their period surroundings.’
The new lifts and their accompanying roof-top refurbished machine rooms will be serviced by the Dartford branch of Stannah Lift Services covering London & The South East, part of a nationwide network providing 24 hour, 365 days a year support. This covers service, repair, modernisation and refurbishment of all types of lifts, stairlifts, escalators and moving walkways – not only those from the Stannah product range, but also other lift manufacturers’ equipment. Stannah also offers a bespoke lifts service, custom-building lifts to meet customers’ specific requirements.
For further information please visit: www.stannahlifts.co.uk
Tel: 023 8043 3348