How Genesis Lifts Rescued a Norwich Academy from a Lift Breakdown

13th June 2023

Genesis Lifts recently came to the rescue of a Norfolk-based multi-academy education trust when they were faced with an ongoing lift breakdown.

One of the main traction passenger lifts at an academy in Norwich had failed from what would be a challenging issue. The lift’s inverter/drive unit had failed, having worn out over the years due to frequent use. The situation was particularly challenging as the lift was over 20 years old and the new replacement units were on back-order. The incumbent supplier/manufacturer had therefore left the lift shut down and out of service.

The problem was made worse by the fact that modern traction passenger lifts depend on this inverter/drive unit to turn the lift motor, which drives the lift up and down. Inverters have an average life expectancy of 10 years and are almost considered a “consumable item” (so, after 20 years, it was in serious need of replacement). The education trust had received a costly quotation from their incumbent lift engineers, a large multi-national manufacturer of lifts, which carried a long lead time of well over a month. This was unacceptable, given that the lift was required daily to assist both pupils and staff.

Genesis Lifts were asked to give a “second opinion” and whilst a direct replacement for the existing unit was indeed difficult to obtain we were able to propose an alternative solution by deploying what is known as a service exchange repair. We removed the existing (failed) lift inverter/drive unit and sent it away to one of our specialist suppliers just outside of Cambridge, so that it could be reconditioned and used by the next person who needed a similar unit. In exchange we received a like-for-like replacement unit that had been reconditioned and best of all it was sitting on the shelf and ready to go.

The replacement VF drive had all the necessary replacement components fitted within it, carried a long warranty and was supported by a UK-based business. It had also been thoroughly cleaned and bench tested. Because it was a like-for-like replacement, no additional equipment was required which made the installation simple and caused less disruption on site.

When Genesis Lifts issued the education trust with our alternative proposals/quotation the academy agreed to proceed with the new solution. Genesis Lifts quickly ordered the replacement drive/inverter unit on an expedited basis. In the meantime, one of our lift repair teams briefly attended the site to remove the failed inverter/drive unit and have it sent away for refurbishment. The replacement VF inverter unit arrived at our Norwich office and one of our lift engineering repair teams promptly attended the site and fitted the replacement VF drive. The lift was thoroughly tested, the out-of-order notices were removed and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Genesis Lifts’ service exchange solution is cheaper, offers a faster turnaround, causes less disruption on site and is more sustainable for the environment. This solution is just one of the many ways that our expert knowledge and experience in the lift industry can help businesses overcome lift breakdown situations, ensuring that everyone can access the building without interruption.

To find out how Genesis Lifts can help you with your lift maintenance and repair, call us on 01508 493708 for Norwich, 01223 636810 for Cambridge, or contact us at