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January 11, 2010

The 1995 Disability Discrimination Act and the Lift Industry

Whatever its impact on the rest of the country, the UK’s 1995 Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) has been a huge boost for the lift industry. Even as the national and global economies have gone through a downturn, the lift industry has posted steady profits since 2000, especially after 2004, when the final part of the DDA went into effect. The DDA created a booming demand for lifts that has benefited all parts of the industry, from manufacturers to installers to maintenance. And while the boom has receded somewhat, the industry continues to benefit from strong demand.

In particular, the DDA has helped out small lift installers and contractors. This is because a great deal of the work created by the DDA is the result of building owners needing to retrofit small passenger lifts, platform lifts, or stair lifts to bring their buildings into compliance. These sorts of jobs are too limited to attract the attention of larger companies, and the small companies have stepped forward to fill the gap. Many are now advertising themselves specially as experts in satisfying the DDA’s requirements.

Besides the increased demand for lifts, the DDA has also created a demand for refitting existing lifts to make them more accessible, such as replacing existing controls with controls that are easier to read and use for the blind or mentally disabled, or adding hearing loops for the hearing-impaired.

The future continues to look bright. While demand for new elevators has dropped since 2004 as more and more buildings have been brought into compliance with the DDA, the new lifts installed will continue to produce revenue for the passenger lift industry in the form of maintenance contracts, which should continue to be lucrative for years to come. And new construction works will continue to need assistance from the lift industry in meeting DDA standards.