Norman Disney & Young (NDY) provided specialty vertical transportation consulting services to Arts Centre Melbourne for the full refurbishment of four lifts in the main theatres building on St Kilda Road.

The original lifts were installed when the building was constructed in the mid-1970’s and, despite a number of partial upgrades, many mechanical components had been in daily service for almost 40 years and were in need of replacement.

The existing Lifts comprised:

  • 2 x Front of House Public Passenger Lifts – 3370kg (49 Passenger) at 1.75m/s
  • 2 x Back of House Goods Passenger Lifts – 2284kg (33 Passenger) at 1.75m/s

The primary objective of the project was to replace all electrical and moving mechanical components. The only equipment retained from each existing lift includes the guide rails, landing door panels, the lift car sling and platform, lift car shell and the counterweight.

The new equipment includes highly efficient variable frequency AC gearless machines and drive units, new logic control systems and new door drive systems. All primary mechanical safety components including the safety gear and pit buffers were replaced and new electrical distribution boards were installed. Cooling systems were added in the lift machine rooms as part of the upgrade works.

To comply with Heritage Listing requirements, the existing landing lanterns were retained and upgraded to include LED illumination. To improve the passenger experience, car interiors were replaced with modern glass and brass finishes complementing the heritage listed finishes in the public lobbies and offering full compliance with the latest DDA legislation.

The new lift car interiors in the public lifts feature the first touch screen control panels to be installed in Australia, incorporating high quality LCD displays and providing Arts Centre Melbourne with an innovative means of communicating with, and informing, patrons.

One of the biggest challenges throughout the project was the requirement to carry out the works whilst the building remained operational and accessible to the public. To minimise disruption to staff and patrons, one lift in each group was upgraded at a time. All noisy works were scheduled around performance times and much of the construction works occurred during the night.