Tuesday 28 July 2015

Should the Paternoster lift be confined to History?

The paternoster lift takes its name from the first two words of the Lord’s Prayer - “paternoster,” or “Our Father” in Latin. The image of a moving chain decorated by small, individual compartments reminded its designers of rosary beads being turned in people’s hands whilst praying, which is how it got its name. The first paternoster-style lifts were installed in Oriel Chambers, Liverpool in 1868 and were designed by the architect Peter Ellis. In 1876 a German company R Stahl* installed a paternoster London’s General Post Office. However, in 1877, British engineer Peter Hart obtained a patent on a paternoster design. Then in 1884, the Dartford, England, engineering firm of J & E Hall built its "Cyclic Elevator”. Paternoster lifts comprise of a chain of open compartments (each usually designed for two persons) that move slowly in a loop up and down inside a building without stopping.

Where was the Paternoster lift popular?

Paternoster lifts were popular in Europe during the first half of the twentieth-century, but their use led to numerous health and safety concerns. These concerns were understandable. The fact that paternosters do not stop means they are particularly dangerous for the elderly, disabled and children to use. Add to this the fact that paternosters are door-less and it is easy to appreciate how accidents could happen and unfortunately they did happen and some included fatalities. Riding a paternoster is no time to be staring at your smartphone; timing your steps on and off the lift demands total concentration. The poor safety record of paternosters has led to them being described as ‘death traps’ in some circles.

When was the Paternoster lift banned from manufacture?

By the 1970s this poor safety record led to new paternoster installations being banned in many countries across Europe. Germany banned new installations of paternosters in 1974. In recent times government initiatives to remove the remaining 250 operational paternosters in Germany have met with a fairly surprising public backlash. Supporters of paternosters claimed they had efficient design and perhaps nostalgia caused them to overlook safety concerns. In the UK British National Standards Related to Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks were updated with BS2655 Part 5 in 1970 that specifically outlined safety requirements for paternosters. All of the UK’s paternosters in service had been constructed before BS2655 Part 5 was introduced. 

Did any manufacturer ever improve upon the design?

In 2013 Hitachi introduced a design for a Circulating Multi-Car Elevator System that appears similar to a paternoster but has two additional benefits – the lift cars are independent of each other and are able to stop like conventional lifts. In the Hitachi prototype lifts are counterweighted against each other. You can see the set up here 

Safety first: Yes, Paternosters should be confined to history?

Given the number of accidents that have occurred with passengers travelling on paternosters it seems sensible that they are confined to history. It is extremely unlikely that new paternoster installations will be constructed anywhere in the world. It remains to be seen whether architects and building contractors have any appetite for paternoster –style vertical transportation systems such as the Circulating Multi-Car Elevator System designed by Hitachi.

However, contemporary multi car systems, as designed by TKE, may be given the name of paternoster as a ‘modern variation’ on an old theme. 

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve vertical transportation? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0)20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

* Jumping into the present, R Stahl was purchased by Thyssen Krupp Elevator (TKE) and J & E Hall was purchased by Otis.

Friday 24 July 2015

July News Update

The lift companies are complaining they are very busy so it will be a challenge for them to focus on performing to clients expectations during the immediate future. This increases the pressure on our teams.

In June Chris and I visited Dubai to support our growing team and link up with clients and wider design teams. (Photo) The Dubai 2020 Expo is a catalyst that will drive forth new hotels and exhibition areas. We are also one of the sponsors for the forthcoming Fa├žade Access Conference in September www.facades-uae.com/sponsors

In the UK we are to welcome Geoff Hooper to our Cardiff office and Rob Taylor to our London office. Both have decades of experience and we look forward to their contribution.

I am pleased to announce that Dunbar and Boardman achieved a 1st place in the Excellent Performance Awards of Newcastle University under the Category of “Consultants”. Phil Mantey accepted the framed certificate on from Clare Rogers the Director of Estates Support Services. Well done to the local team.

We are looking forward to our September gathering when we can discuss the changes to legislation and our processes. There is also an element of socialising and formally saying goodbye to Jim Baynam who retired in May. Karen from out London admin team is off to live in Portugal – we wish her well. We also welcome Chloe who will join the team.

I am pleased that global footprint is growing as the Google stats confirms.

Tuesday 14 July 2015

Industry Pioneers: Dr. Joris Schroeder and the Miconic 10

Little is known of Dr. Joris Schroeder’s early life and upbringing and no details emerged after exhaustive searches on the most popular search engines. What is clear is that Dr. Joris Schroeder had a huge impact on the vertical transportation industry particularly with regard to one specific invention but we will return to that later. He also impressed Peter Boardman on the subject in terms of its relevance to the future of lift control systems.


There are more details available regarding his career. He was a graduate of Stuttgart Technical University and received a Ph.D. from the Berlin Technical University. He achieved the position of Vice President of Corporate Engineering and then Vice President of Product Research with Otis in Germany and then also in New York, USA.  In 1977 he left Otis and joined Schindler in Switzerland as a member of their Corporate Executive Committee and his remit included: engineering, production, construction and service. He passed away in the early 1990’s.

His Body of Work

During his career Dr. Joris published a number of industry leading articles and white papers including The Energy Consumption of Elevators published in 1980. If you read the piece it’s easy to appreciate that he laid the foundation for what was to come later. In 1985 he first wrote about ‘Destination Dispatching’ in the July edition of Elevator World and he followed this up in 1990 with the publication of an article in the March 1990 issue of Elevator World entitled "Advanced Dispatching" ("the Schroeder Article").

Why is Dr. Joris Schroeder so Significant?

Dr. Joris Schroeder’s contribution to the vertical transportation industry was more than theoretical, though. In 1990 he was granted a patent for the Miconic 10 along with Dr. Paul Friedli (also from Schindler). Using microprocessors Schroeder created Schindler’s Destination Dispatch system – what we now call Destination Control. The first building to install the Miconic 10 system was the Hamburg Electric Company in Germany in 1990. The first installation in the USA was in 1993 at the Ameritech building in Indianapolis.  As architects, building contractors and the public came to understand these new ‘smart button-less’ elevators their popularity grew. Energy efficiency was also 30% better with the new Destination Control elevators. Schindler, under Dr. Friedli’s guidance have progressed with the development of M10, now known as their Port system which has the ability to interface with other building elements, i.e. speed-gates and door locking systems.

All lift companies now have Destination Control systems so this idea can be seen as transformational. D&B have been specifying these systems enthusiastically for years and as a Consultancy can be considered to be leading the way.

To read more about the benefits of Destination Control click here
For details of our Destination Control experience click here

Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. Are you currently planning a project that will involve Destination Control? We would be happy to discuss with you. Give us a call on T +44 (0)20 7739 5093 or send us an email via peterboardman@dunbarboardman.com to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Image credit:

Friday 3 July 2015

Spotlight on Cardiff

Dunbar and Boardman first opened an office in Cardiff during March 2000 and became the first Lift consultant operating in Wales. The office was located at Victoria House on Andrews Rd in Llandaff, North Cardiff and we remained there until 2012 when we took the opportunity to move to our current address at Vaughan House on Llandaff Road, Cardiff. Llandaff Road is closer to Cardiff Central and accessible to all areas. 

The first project that the office worked on was Marland House, located directly opposite Cardiff Central Train Station in Central Square. The project was carried out on behalf of Jones Lang La Salle in 2003 and required the upgrading of two lifts located either side of a corridor that ran between the lifts. The lifts were operating independently and as a consequence every client that entered the building pressed both lift buttons, which resulted in poor service.

The upgrade consisted of new control equipment with VF control and changed to Duplex control to provide a more efficient service. The cars and buttons were also upgraded. Many other projects followed - below are just a few of them.

National Retail – Peacocks. For Peacocks we successfully updated their lift portfolio with a new maintenance contract and Maintenance Management. There was also a major project involving the provision of two lifts and two escalators in an existing building on Cardiff’s main high street. We were consultants in the design and project management.

National Supermarket – Asda. For Asda we completed a project that required two Passenger Lifts & two travelators at Coryton in Cardiff. We also successfully completed a similar project in Cwmbran with the same units.

Food & Beverage – Waitrose. We carried out audits at Waitrose in Monmouth.

Office Management –We were brought in to resolve a troubled operation involving the upgrade of 18 units for the Welsh Government Offices located in Cathays Park, Cardiff.  We recommended that the existing contractor was removed from the project. Subsequently a new contractor was appointed and the project was completed successfully.

Since then D & B have had further appointment to produce specifications & tender for further buildings.

Higher Education – We have been involved in producing specifications & evaluation of tenders for a number of units in the university of Cardiff.

Property Portfolio – We have carried out Lift replacement of two lifts in a seven storey block of privately owned flats for Estateways & have others in our portfolio.

Project Management  - This service is offered in addition to our Maintenance Management for the Coastal Housing Group where we produce specifications based upon our recommendations at design stage which subsequently get incorporated into the tender for the whole building project to main contractors. We then ratify selection & project manage on site through the main contractor following appointment. We have completed this on a number of new buildings to date.

Do you have a current or planned project in the Cardiff area? We would be happy to discuss any such requirements and how we may be able to assist. Please contact us via our Cardiff Office and ask for Vance Cunningham to start the conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Vaughan House, 72 Llandaff Road, Cardiff CF11 9NL
Tel: 0207 739 5093 Email: vancecunningham@dunbarboardman.com