Machinery Directive vs. Lift Directive Lifts


There are two main legislations that define lifts and elevators – the Lift Directive and the Machinery Directive. Both are EU directives and apply to different lifting products.

These directives provide requirements and restrictions on lift operation (speed, useage etc). The differences between the 2 could help to determine which lift you want, or just help you to position, use and look after your lift correctly.

In the end, as long as your lift has a CE mark, it will comply with EU legislation. It is more about making sure you get the most cost effective, efficient and suitable system for your buildings.

Both the directives sit under the Lift Regulations 1997.



The Lift Directive is specifically designed to govern most passenger and goods lifts. It is referred to as “The Lifts Directive 2014/33/EU” and was created in 2014 to amend the previous 1995 version. It is used in line with British Standards, such as BS EN 81-20 for the design of new lifts.

This directive covers permanent lifts which service buildings, whether this is for people, goods (where a person can enter), or both.

The BSi (British Standards Institution) define lifts as:

“a lifting appliance serving specific levels, having a carrier moving along guides which are rigid and inclined at an angle of more than 15 degrees to the horizontal, or a lifting appliance moving along a fixed course”

The main point to take away is that it covers lifts that travel at over 0.15m/s – so generally this will be traction and hydraulic lift systems, or ‘conventional’ lifts.

The Lifts Directive covers most types of passenger lift, but excludes things like travelators (moving walkways), military lifting equipment, construction hoists or ski lifts. These will fall under the Machinery Directive instead.



The Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC is an EU directive covering most types of machinery. The purpose was to create a standard level of production across the EU for Essential Safety Requirements.

The Machinery Directive was not intended to cover lifts initially, but applies basically to passenger lifting equipment that travels slower than 0.15m/s.

Generally these lifts will travel up to around 6 floors, and provide ample disabled/pram access to a commercial or public building. They must also be weight tested and have safety gear such as overload devices and load plates. It also states there must be a protective roof/top where travel exceeds 3m.

As there are fewer restrictions in the Machinery Directive, lifts that fall within this directive are often more cost effective.

Gartec’s platform lift range are all covered by the Machinery Directive, which gives greater flexibility with design options and mostly limits speed.



The easiest way to determine which directive applies is by looking at the speed and travel of the lift. If it is 0.15m/s or less, or does not travel over 6 floors, it is probably machinery directive.

Realistically the regulations will not dictate the lift you choose. By looking at the requirements for your site, the most suitable option for the job will be apparent – the regulations are just something to be aware of.

If you need more information or want some tailored, expert advice, just get in touch with our team on 01296 459 079, or drop us an email.