There are going to be a lot of fit office workers in Wellington with many of the city's 2500 lifts out of service until they can be deemed safe following the weekend's earthquake.

According to the E tū union, the region's lift technicians are "flat out" surveying elevators and it will be a few weeks at least before the majority are given the all clear.

Infrastructure industry coordinator Ron Angel said many of the lifts' counterweights had been rattled from their guides and needed to be repaired.

"Checking a lift is not as simple as just jumping into it. You need to get into the lift shaft, have a check that the counterweight is still in its guide properly ... and it's a lot of work to put them back in."


Each lift takes about an hour to check, and a further hour to fix a misaligned counterweight.

Angel said it would be weeks rather than days before all the lifts could be surveyed and repaired.

"The first three days since the earthquake they've really been just getting a handle on the size of the job. Most of the surveys are done and the repairs are starting now.

"The first priorities are hospitals, public buildings and hotels but everybody wants their lift fixed - 2500 lifts in the city, it doesn't happen overnight so there will be some very fit people in the next few weeks."