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  • Writer's picturePaul Torkan, P.Eng.

A Guide for Managing Elevator Performance

Maintaining elevators may not seem like a very complicated job, however, it requires extensive coordination by individuals that are remote from your site. The remoteness adds complexity if planning or other skill sets are not mastered by those involved. Additionally, mobile elevator/escalator technicians may not have your required sense of urgency, nor the proper motivation to complete all legislative inspections or overhauls adequately.

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The majority of elevator and escalator downtime is due to lack of proper long-term maintenance planning, and delay in the repair itself, which is often caused by the following:

  • Technicians do not show up on time due to:

i) Excessive emergency work in the same area,

ii) A planning mix-up at their back office,

iii) Being preoccupied with routine maintenance taking place elsewhere,

iv) A lack of urgency by their office or the technician.

  • A technician shows up and asks for another crew due to:

i) A job requires more than one person,

ii) Lack of electrical or control expertise.

  • The technician shows up but cannot make the units operational due to:

i) Not having the right parts or the right information from the end user.

ii) Newer elevators that they are not familiar with.

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Strategies to receive the best possible service and to minimize downtime revolve around proper management of subcontracted services. These are eight simplistic approaches to dealing with your elevator and escalator providers:

  1. Avoid a comprehensive service contract. These will put the technician at ease when planning to respond. In the case of all-inclusive contracts, the whole company takes their time and your site may be the lowest priority since your site is already provided payment for parts & services. If you decide to pursue a comprehensive deal, ensure that the next few strategies are included in your service agreement, one way or another.

  2. Avoid moving away from the original manufacturers of the elevators/escalators. You will always require their parts and knowledge, so try to communicate the nature of your business and consequences of failures in your building to them, as much as possible. There is no company that does not want a successful collaboration with its customers. If you decide to use an alternative service provider, the original manufacturers may conveniently delay parts delivery and create havoc for your elevators and escalators.

  3. Ensure that a strict response and rectification clause is incorporated into your service contract with the original manufacturer of the elevator/escalator. This will not be easily acceptable by the service provider, but it is worth a try and just might work.

  4. Make a request for at least two local elevator technicians, who reside in the vicinity, to perform regular maintenance and to respond to emergency calls. This will pressure the tech to perform well during routine work to avoid receiving afterhours calls for entrapment or other elevator failures.

  5. Ensure that your service technician signs in and out of your building, and also logs his routine, emergency work, and his findings after each visit. The property owner or operator is responsible for the actions of its contractors at all times when on premises.

  6. Invest in a quality management system by enlisting an elevator/escalator consultant to check your systems and their levels of maintenance, at minimum, every 5 years. This will be relatively inexpensive and will pay itself off in no time. This approach will mitigate the property owner’s risk and demonstrate a shift of liability back to the elevator service provider.

  7. Ensure that the elevator/escalator technicians are familiar with your site-specific units and receive adequate training. Due to rapid technological advancements, every elevator is slightly different than its predecessor. As part of your service contract, include a session of training provided by the elevator/escalator manufacturer for the technicians under your supervision.

  8. Ensure that you have adequate critical spare parts available on site and are in communication with other sites in your area with the same type of elevator/escalator. This can confirm that, between facilities, a maximum number of parts are available when a failure occurs.

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