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:

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Unusual Lifts: What are the Magic Carpet® Lifts of New Zealand?

Image credit: @lauralboardman - Outdraw

New Zealand has a higher proportion of self build homes than the UK, approximately 40% compared with 12% here according to the National Custom and Self Build Association. New Zealand homes also tend to be bigger than those in the UK  (an average of 1913 versus 826 square feet for new homes*) These two conditions have laid the foundation (no pun intended) for a flourishing market for lifts in private residences, usually for two or three storey homes. Often lifts are added to existing buildings rather than conceptualised at the planning stage and as a consequence homeowners install vertical transportation solutions that differ from the usual conventional lift. The Magic Carpet® Lift is an example of a different vertical transportation solution.

What is a Magic Carpet® platform lift?

The Magic Carpet is a hydraulic platform lift system that can transport passengers (there are 300 kg and 750 kg load capacity versions) up to a height of ten metres serving any number of floors within that height restriction. The ascent speed is limited to 200mm per second. New Zealanders have been installing them in ever increasing quantities since 1990. This company (link to owns the registered trademark for Magic Carpets lifts.

How do Magic Carpets work?

Magic Carpet® platform lifts are powered by a direct-acting pumped (recirculating) water-hydraulic system. In the unlikely event of a power outage a backup battery system allows for safe and reliable descent. The Magic Carpet platform system uses a handrail mounted on a floor that is buffered from flush & smooth lift well walls by a complete carpet overlay, it moves vertically within those stationary walls. Travelling controls are incorporated within the floor-mounted handrail.

What are the benefits?

The Magic Carpet® lift system is easy to install and affordable compared to a conventional lift. There are many successful installations and happy customers in New Zealand. However, we recommend that any lift should comply with international standards and this product would not comply in anywhere other than New Zealand.

Are you working on a project that requires vertical transportation? Dunbar and Boardman is the lift, escalator and access equipment consultancy. 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 to start the conversation.


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Spotlight on Leeds

Dunbar and Boardman first opened a Leeds office during November 2002 in Westgate House at 100 Wellington Street in the city centre. The first project that the office worked on was Tower House Leeds now known as Tower North Central.  Tower North Central is a 77 metre high office tower with 20 floors situated at the top of Leeds city centre on Merrion Way close to the Merrion Centre.  Initially constructed in 1967 it was refurbished during 2003-2004 and now provides 76,800 sq. ft. of office space. The refurbishment included modernisation of a four-car group of passenger lifts for Jones Lang LaSalle.

Many other projects followed including the HBoS HQ Halifax. That was a project that necessitated the modernisation of 12 passenger lifts. In April 2013 as a consequence of our business growing we moved the short distance from Wellington Street to Wellington Place.  Below are a few of the projects that we have completed recently:

Asda - We completed a number of stores for Asda in 2014 including their new Mosborough store near Sheffield. That project required:  3 x moving walks, 2 x Passenger lifts, 1 x DDA platform Lift & 1 x Dock Leveller. All installed by Kone Plc.

Wm Morrison Plc
– During 2014 we also completed a number of stores for Morrisons including their new Weybridge store. Two moving walks and two passenger lifts were installed at their Weybridge store.

Bradford Royal Infirmary - D&B drew up the specification on behalf of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The project required the installation of 1 x 2500Kg 33 person Bed Evacuation Lift including a modular lift shaft. Pickering's Lift won the tender to manufacture the lift; Traditional Lift Products constructed the modular shaft. The lift equipment was installed within the shaft modules by Pickering’s at TLP’s factory unit in Knowsley. The five storey lift shaft & lift equipment was installed in 3 days.

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

5th Floor, 2 Wellington Place, Leeds LS1 4AP Tel: 0207 739 5093 Email:

Monday, 18 May 2015


How Does the Schmid Peoplemover Work?

In 1999 Emil Schmid, the owner of Schmid Maschinebrau in Sonnenbuehl near Stuttgart invented a new form of vertical transportation. He applied for a patent in the same year and when it was granted he named his invention the Schmid Peoplemover. He built the first prototype at his engineering factory and then worked with Thyssen Aufzugswerke (now part of ThyssenKrupp) to scale production of his Peoplemover system. The first Peoplemover was installed in Pfulligen, Germany in December 2001.   

What is the Schmid Peoplemover?

The Schmid Peoplemover enables pedestrians to cross major roads and thoroughfares or railways without the need for traffic lights or railway crossings. This is achieved by taking passengers up and over the traffic. The Peoplemover is built as a free hanging system and consists of two towers, a bridge connecting them and a lift car. The Peoplemover is ideal for pedestrians in wheelchairs or with strollers or suitcases. It is of benefit to all pedestrians and cuts overall journey times because there is no need to wait for traffic lights or railway crossings.

How Does it Work?

First of all passengers enter a lift car and are transported vertically to bridge height and then horizontally across the bridge before being transported vertically down on the other side. When travelling vertically, the lift carriage and car are held in the lifting gear guides before gliding smoothly over into the horizontal travel position with the aid of a special guide rail and a sophisticated mechanical system. Construction of the Peoplemover is completed within 3 days and does not require as much surface area as a traditional underpass. The lift car is made of aluminium with stainless steel centre closing doors and a window. It

has a rated load of 600kg and a speed of 1mps vertically and 2mps horizontally. There is a limit of 5 metres for travel height and a span of 20 metres. A total of 720 passengers per hour can make the crossing in both directions.

How Many Schmid Peoplemovers are in Existence?

Peoplemovers can be installed in a wide variety of scenarios: the crossing of streets, railways and waterways etc, linking motorway service stations to car parks and at shopping centres, exhibition centres, leisure parks, hotel complexes, and hospitals. There are currently 3 lifts of this type in Germany at Pfullingen, Altenbach and in Berlin. You can watch a video of the one at Altbach Peoplemover here.

Peoplemovers are a very special type of vertical transportation. 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 to start the conversation.

Image Credit:

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

What Makes the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway Different?

The Lynton and Lynmouth Railway is a funicular or cliff railway that connects the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth in Devon. Predominantly located in seaside towns there are quite a few working examples of funiculars dotted around the coastline of the British Isles. For a comprehensive list of funiculars in Britain click ‘here’.  In the 19th century the hill separating Lynmouth at the bottom of the hill and Lynton at the top created difficult transport conditions. It was relatively easy for food and other essentials to arrive at Lynmouth via sailing vessel but then the goods needed to be transferred via pack horse up the steep hill to Lynton. From the 1820s holidaymakers who visited Lynmouth from Bristol, Swansea and other channel ports were often deterred from visiting Lynton because of the hill. The economic prosperity of Lynton was being limited because of it. In 1881 the idea of a tramway between the two villages was first discussed publicly.

Three men were largely responsible for bringing this idea to life and they were Thomas Hewitt, John Heyward and George Newnes. Through their endeavour a dedicated act of parliament, the ‘Lynmouth Promenade, Pier and Lift Provisional Order became an Act of Parliament in 1888. Construction of the railway occurred between 1887 and 1890 and on Easter Monday in 1890 the Cliff Railway was opened.

How Does the Railway Work? 
Similar to other funiculars the Cliff Railway at Lynton and Lynmouth consists of a pair of tram like cars attached to each other by a cable. The ascending and descending vehicles counterbalance each other. The Lynton and Lynmouth Railway is one of only a handful of water-powered funiculars currently in existence. Both cars contain full water tanks (700 gallons) and to generate movement the driver of the bottom car discharges water from its tanks and that makes the top car heavier. The cars then begin to move then and gravity takes over. Each car has two sets of brakes that are water operated. The ‘governor’, which in turn, is driven by the main wheels, operates one set. The other set of brakes are calliper type and are permanently on - operated by a large water accumulator via the driver’s hand wheel. When the cars are unattended, the brakes clamp it to the rails making movement impossible.

No water is pumped from the top to the bottom, instead it is taken from a nearby river and the Act of Parliament mentioned above granted The Lynmouth and Lynton Lift Company the perpetual right to extract up to 60,000 gallons of water a day.

How popular were Water Powered Funiculars?
In the late 19th century there were a lot of water-powered funiculars constructed around the world but most of them were later converted into engine driven versions. There are a few still remaining at: Elevador do Bom Jesus in Portugal, Nerobergbahn in Wiesbaden, Germany, Funiculaire Neuveville-St.Pierre in Fribourg, Switzerland and of course at Lynton and Lynmouth.

What makes the Lynton and Lynmouth funicular different?
The funicular needs absolutely no power to operate (however power is required for the lighting). The funicular works on a total loss system. Water provides the power and is not pumped from the bottom to the top. Used water is dropped onto Lynmouth beach 100 metres away from the river from where it was taken. The lifts do not create any emissions and have a low carbon footprint for this reason the railway is recognised as one of Britain’s most environmentally friendly tourist attractions.

Funiculars are a very specific type of vertical transportation. 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 to start the conversation.

Image credit:

Friday, 1 May 2015

Peter Boardman's May Update

We have welcomed Richard Booth to our Leeds team having recently joined from Schindler, we wish him well and look forward to his general contribution.

Ken Young is pinging back from retirement to help our Warrington team on a part time basis.  Ken retired 3 years ago and perhaps he is looking for another retirement party?

Grenville Brookfield and Jim Baynam have now retired and John Daniels will also retire at the end of May.  We are presently recruiting new people in London – so watch this space.

Recovering from the recession our business continues to grow year on year surpassing any pre-recession activity.  We are therefore confident about the future and look forward to continuing supporting our client base and team members.

- Peter Boardman