What Goes Up, Must Come (Safely) Down
Elevator Maintenance for Commercial Real Estate Properties
Per ConsumerWatch, in the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 900,000 elevators, each serving an average of 20,000 people per year. The vast majority of these elevators are located within commercial, retail or residential properties and each elevator averages about 5 people per trip. Interesting facts, right?
However, many are unaware are the amount of elevator failures that occur and the harm they can cause. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the CPSC, about 27 people are killed in elevator accidents each year, which does report on injury and death associated with elevators as well.
Elevators have come a long way in the past few decades through new technologies, but they are still severe risks for your commercial real estate property. If an elevator in your building requires maintenance, chances are you’ll need to hire a specialized contractor.
Because of the technology in today’s elevators, fixing them can be quite costly. That’s why you should always be on the lookout for potential problems and deal with them before they become a major headache for your property.
An elevator maintenance program is an essential part of your business to keep your elevators running properly and keep tenants, residents and visitors safe. A good elevator maintenance program should be:
- Proactive – to catch potential problems before an elevator is shut down
- Responsive – to get the problem fixed as soon as possible
- Capable – to recognize both common and uncommon problems and fix them in a timely manner
An elevator has many moving parts. Be on the lookout for potential problems such as:
- Long wait times – If the elevator seems to take longer than usual to get from floor to floor, time how long it takes and compare it to the elevator manufacturer’s specifications. If it takes longer than normal, have an elevator technician take a look.
- Overheating – If your elevator has an electrical traction system, it can easily overheat if the mechanical room is improperly ventilated. The mechanical room for this type of system is often on the building’s roof, so dirt and humidity can also cause the elevator’s traction system to overheat. Inspect the mechanical room regularly to avoid this common problem.
- Lack of hydraulic fluid – A lack of hydraulic fluid in the elevator’s reservoir can cause a loud noise when the elevator is in use. Luckily, replacing the hydraulic fluid in an elevator is a simple and cost-effective way to keep an elevator running smoothly. A hydraulic fluid test should be performed regularly and according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Door malfunctions – Elevator doors receive significant use and are vulnerable to misuse. Consider upgrading to infrared edges to eliminate physical contact with objects or passengers. The doors’ bearings and skirts should be lubricated on a regular basis.
- Vandalism – Elevators are common vandalism targets, so make sure vandal-resistant interiors and control panels are installed. Elevators that have frequent shutdowns are more likely to be vandalized.
It’s inevitable, all elevators will need service work at some point. If you notice any of the aforementioned problems, don’t try and fix them yourself. Simply disengage the elevator and rope the area off. When arranging for service to be performed, make sure to find a service company you can trust. A proper elevator maintenance program is the best way to minimize risk for your commercial real estate business.
To learn more risk management practices for commercial real estate, chat with a member of the ‘A’ team.
- Good Property Maintenance: Why It Matters
- Property Owners & Managers – Control What You Can to Lower Insurance Costs
- C.O.P.E. – What Is It, and Why Does It Matter?
- Safety E-Book
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