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Understanding Both Perspectives: Common Sources of Frustration Between Elevator Safety Authorities and Owners

Operating an elevator is easy. Designing, installing, and maintaining an elevator is an entirely different story. It requires meticulous attention to detail, careful adherence to complex codes and regulations, and a strong working relationship between facilities owners and governing authorities.

The latter can make the difference between projects that run over-budget and off-schedule and those that put passengers in elevators without a hitch. While a close partnership between owners and governing authorities can streamline the elevator inspection and installation processes, there are common obstacles that need to be cleared.

Identifying the Common Frustrations of Regulatory Staff

Employees at regulatory bodies frequently experience these common challenges when working with elevator owners:

  • Managing responsibilities. The onus for safe elevator operation ultimately falls on owners; they are responsible for maintaining their elevators, scheduling inspections, obtaining certificates of compliance and/or current licenses, and completing other key tasks. Failing to handle these properly can result in delays and even shutdowns for noncompliant elevators.

  • Clearing deficiencies. If deficiencies are uncovered during an inspection, owners are given a period of time to fix them (e.g. 30 days, 90 days). They must notify their governing bodies when they have resolved the issues and then ensure they are reauthorized to operate.

  • Handling “minor” administrative details. While it may seem like a small matter, failing to notify authorities of a change in ownership can create a significant administrative hassle. When buildings change hands, the current owner may need a new operating license. To ensure full compliance, the new owner needs to advise the appropriate jurisdictional body.

Vice Versa: Owners’ Common Frustrations With Regulatory Bodies

It’s no surprise that the safety authorities aren’t they only ones with frustrations. There are common challenges that building owners face as well. These include:

  • Code complexity. Elevator codes are complicated, and they change frequently. Keeping up is often an administrative and financial hardship for building owners – who likely do not have much experience with or knowledge of the technical aspects of elevator operation.

  • Maintenance provisions. ASME 17.1/CSA B44 includes maintenance provisions. For example, all elevators need a Maintenance Control Program (MCP), and this needs to be maintained and updated regularly. The document, which must be on site, keeps a record of equipment servicing, descriptions of maintenance tasks performed and the pertinent elevator code, wiring documents, tests performed, and more.

While the elevator maintenance company typically handles this, it is always the legal – and financial — responsibility of the owner. Given budgetary constraints, this can be a big challenge.

Overcome Obstacles, Ensure Safety and Compliance by Bringing in the Experts

Though the staff at regulatory bodies and building owners alike understand that a strong working relationship streamlines the process for everyone, these relationships can be challenging to build. The solution is to bring in the experts who understand both perspectives. Elevator contractors and maintenance companies consulting can act as a conduit between owners and governing bodies. As trusted partners, they are able to combine in-depth knowledge of elevator safety and compliance with a keen understanding of owners’ needs (such as budgets and timelines). A clear line of communication is essential for optimal efficiency, speed, and convenience; Key elevator contractors can provide the vital connection between owners and authorities.

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