Facility Dude

5 ways to know what’s up with your elevator maintenance

By Kate Donnelly
Apr 22, 2015

Facilities Management

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elevator Elevators are a common fixture in nearly every office building across the country. Larger facilities, from commercial offices to hospitals, use them hundreds of times a day, most of the time without even really thinking about it.

In fact, elevators only tend to call attention to themselves when something goes wrong with one. But dealing with stuck elevators or other types of interrupted service doesn't have to be a fact of life at your facility. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining and upgrading your building's elevators.

1. Be proactive

As with nearly every other aspect of your facility's building management, one of the most important steps you can take in keeping your elevators in working order is to inspect them regularly. This is important not only to suss out potential repair issues, but also as a means to get a more general sense of your elevators' current condition overall. Have your elevators been modernized lately? Are you due for an upgrade?

Establishing the state of your cars is important for making sure your capital budget and operations budgets jive with your planned maintenance tasks.

2. Be regular with your maintenance

With all the different facets of managing a facility requiring attention simultaneously, it can be difficult to avoid slipping into an out-of-sight-out-of-mind approach to maintenance. In other words, repairs may be performed on a reactive basis rather than a preventive one.

Out-of-service elevators can result in service disruptions that inconvenience your tenants. This is why FacilitiesNet recommended maintaining a regular and consistent maintenance schedule. Staying on top of service will help prevent small maintenance issues from popping up, which will save you time and money. Additionally, it can even help extend the lifespan of the equipment, freeing up capital budget dollars for other major improvements.

3. Focus on safety

One of the key guiding principles governing your elevator maintenance should, of course, be safety. This extends both to the passengers as well as the safety of your maintenance team as they conduct repair operations.

Elevator maintenance is governed by ASME, which outlines in its Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators the need for facilities to have a written maintenance control program for such devices. Such a written schedule can be instrumental in creating and upholding a pattern of regular maintenance and, by extension, avoiding safety-threatening issues. Facility managers can even use a CMMS to keep the written guide in an easily accessible location that can be updated in real time by repair teams.

4. Know the trouble spots, and be prepared

Having an understanding of what some of the more common elevator maintenance operations are can help you formulate your repair schedule. As FacilitiesNet noted, around 70 percent of elevator maintenance calls are related to nonfunctioning doors.

One way to help cut down on this maintenance hot spot is with a closed-loop door operator. This is a system that monitors the speed at which doors open and close, and compares it to predefined standards. It then uses this comparison to apply additional force when needed to ensure consistent door operation. A closed-loop door operator may represent an investment, but it can go a long way toward cutting down on maintenance in the future.

5. Don't forget about contractors

While you may feel comfortable handling more minor elevator repair operations, for some of the more major jobs you'll likely want to turn to outside help.

The National Association of Elevator Contractors outlines a few participatory programs that can help guide you toward reliable contractors. For example, when making a hiring decision, try and find a contractor that participates in the National Elevator Industry Educational Program. You'll also want to do your best to find a contractor that participates in NAEC's Certified Elevator Technician program.

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