There’s nothing quite like the feeling of stepping onto an old, dingy elevator with flickering lights, dated interior, and clunky doors; you’re almost sure it will make the trip to your desired floor, but there’s always that little seed of doubt. The average lifespan of an elevator is about 25 years. What does this means for owners and building managers? Starting around the 20 year mark, key components and equipment should be inspected, upgraded, or even completely modernized.
Modernization Benefits – What’s in it for You
First and foremost, the safety of your elevator is the leading benefit to modernization. Meeting regional fire codes and elevator safety codes is crucial to your elevator’s operation. Out of date systems are often missing upgraded safety features, and are more unreliable and prone to breakdowns or malfunctions.
Frequent malfunctions lead to costly service, parts, and repair charges, and with technicians continually upgrading on new systems, it can be a hassle to find a technician who can service an older unit. While functional, an out-dated elevator does not serve you or your passengers as well as it could.
Modernizing an elevator’s mechanical components can increase safety, functionality, and efficiency. Elevator modernization often leads to reduced passenger wait times, as well as building energy conservation; modern elevators can feed energy back into the building upon their descent. So, while modernization is an upfront investment, upgrading your elevator can lead to greater savings in the long run.
Ask The Right Questions – Let Your Elevator do The Talking
More often than not, your elevator is an excellent source of information. Is your elevator accelerating and decelerating sluggishly? An accelerometer can accurately measure ride quality. Are there unnecessary noises or vibrations while in use? Do the doors open and close in a reasonable time? Are there levelling issues? Each of these questions offer insights into whether or not your elevator is due for modernization. Other factors to consider are how frequently service calls are required. It’s best to document and track these calls over a 12-month period starting when the elevator reaches the 20-year-old mark. This way, you can be certain to catch any increases in service calls and costly repairs.
Another consideration for elevator modernization is appearance. Certain clientele and tenants have standards and expectations of how the elevator should look, inside and out. Does your elevator meet their needs? Does the cab or exterior need a face lift? Have you lost tenant contracts or occupancy because of the appearance and condition of the elevator?
Elevators Don’t Last Forever – Plan for the Future
Twenty years is a long time for a critical component of your building that is in constant use. Elevator technology is constantly evolving, and there are new components that can improve the safety, ride quality, and appearance of your elevator. It is also important to consider that, as with most machinery, parts can become obsolete and hard to find. Rather than allow this to force your hand, plan ahead. Regular service and maintenance can ensure you’re on top of any potential modernization requirements, which allows you to plan – and budget – for new components or upgrades.
Every owner, every building, and every elevator has unique requirements. There is not necessarily a set standard for modernization. It’s important to take into account every aspect of your elevator and its occupants. Ask the right questions and arm yourself with the answers. An elevator service and installation expert will help you make decisions based on the information you’ve gathered, as well as assessments they complete. Working together, you can complete an elevator modernization that leaves you confident in your elevator’s safety, function, appearance, and overall performance.