By Andrew Loyola, Denver Elevator Company
An overwhelming number of owners and managers I speak with are either dissatisfied with the performance of their elevators or frustrated with the lack of communication from their maintenance provider. “I never see my mechanic but I sure see the invoice”. “The inspector just came and all my tests are past due”
Here are some basic steps to follow to improve your elevator experience:
- Maintenance Agreement: Understand what’s not covered, request hourly billing rates and make sure normal business hours are clarified in the contract. For example, you may consider normal hours to be 8:00am-5:00pm, however, their hours are 6:00am -2:00pm. This will reduce costly overtime invoices and repairs for work not included.
- Scheduled Visits and Safety Tests: Make sure the frequency of visits, (weekly, monthly, quarterly) are clearly written in the contract and identify when the code required annual and 5 years safety tests were last performed. For example, avoid vague language like “Regular Scheduled Visits” and hold your provider accountable to timely safety testing. This will avoid unnecessary inspection violations.
- Maintenance Control Program (MCP): Code mandates that each elevator has a MCP log kept in the elevator machine room and all maintenance, repairs and testing be documented once performed. Check your machine rooms to ensure cleanliness and the logs are on site and up to date.
- Contract Terms: Negotiate reasonable cancellation terms and avoid automatic long-term contract rollovers. Most elevator contracts require 1-3 months written notice of cancellation prior to the anniversary date or they automatically roll over. It’s fair to give a company written notice of non-performance and give them a chance to correct the problem if a mistake is made or if there experiencing an intermittent technical problem. It’s not reasonable that you can’t cancel your contract even though your maintenance provider hasn’t shown up in many months, safety tests are past due and you have no MCP documentation onsite?
To prolong the life of your equipment, ensure your mechanic communicates well, checks in and out and keeps you informed, doesn’t miss maintenance visits, keeps car tops, pits and machine rooms clean and painted, timely performs annual safety tests and documents performance in the onsite MCP log.
If your building is over 25 years old and the elevator equipment is original, it’s a good idea to start planning and budgeting for an elevator modernization. How soon is an unknown? It really depends on the usage, type of equipment and how well it’s been maintained. The good news is, authorities having jurisdiction in your area will only mandate elevators be brought up to current code if you make a major alteration to the equipment, change in speed, capacity, controls just to name a few.
Also, the State of Colorado Conveyance Division and the Denver Fire Department are implementing a couple of code changes everyone needs to be aware of.
- Effective January 2019, the code mandated annual elevator inspection (performed a 3rd party inspector) needs to be within 60 days of the annual safety test (performed by the mechanic). Your current service provider should assist with coordination at no additional cost.
- Effective July 1, 2018 the City and County of Denver is mandating all the fire service key switches be standardized to a FEO-K1 type. We recommend Owners and Managers with units that fall under this jurisdiction request pricing and perform this work as soon as possible, to avoid inspection violations and or fines.
Andrew Loyola has over 30 years’ experience in the elevator industry and is President and Owner of Denver Elevator Company.