Professionals in the escalator and elevator industry often use terms like “inspection”, “audit” and “testing” to mean basically the same thing. However, these terms actually mean different things.
An inspection of an elevator is usually carried out by an AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). The inspection is used to determine the condition of the elevator equipment. It also ensures that every aspect of the elevator meets the standards of the State or Municipal elevator safety codes. In order to pass an elevator inspection, various parts of the elevator must be tested. The tests that are used for this inspection are detailed under ASME A17.1, and they depend on the type of elevator being inspected.
Different tests are used for hydraulic, escalator, traction and dumbwaiter units. There are different levels of testing as well. Category 1 tests occur annually, while Category 5 tests take place every five years, and these only apply to traction elevators. For hydraulic elevators, an annual pressure test is required. Escalators are also tested every year, and they may also be tested whenever the AHJ decides they need to be. The Electric Service Provider carries out all testing for elevators and escalators.
According to safety code, the elevator machine room must contain all testing tags. These tags detail the type of test taken and the date it was performed. An inspector will ensure that all the necessary testing is carried out during an inspection.
An audit for an elevator, on the other hand, determines how safe the unit’s equipment is. It also assesses performance and determines how well maintained the unit is. Audits are not a code requirement, and they are often requested by the owner of the property or building to get an idea of the what condition the elevator is in. The audit also tells them about the quality of maintenance the elevator is receiving. During an audit, the elevator’s maintenance plan will be reviewed. The units’ service contract is also examined. These documents will be cross examined with the current state of the elevator to ensure that the plans that are currently in place are being followed.
Audits, when performed regularly, can improve an elevator’s performance and the level of service the elevator receives. These audits can also find gaps in service and maintenance, exposing flaws and ensuring he elevator is able to pass inspection and meet code requirements. Many times, an elevator audit will also be called an “elevator survey” or an “elevator assessment”.
“Elevator” can be a general term as well, referring to any vertical transporting, including dumbwaiters, escalators and LULA, among others.
Many times, building owners will pay for a service that they never actually receive.
At Innovative Lift Consulting, we have found that many building that have a preventative maintenance contract are not receiving that agreed upon maintenance.
This means elevators are not being taken care of like they should be. The building owner has to rely on their elevator service provider to know what is going on with the elevator and what condition the elevator equipment is in.
Sometimes, the terms and conditions for an elevator contract can be designed to deceive building owners. The terms of these papers are written in the favour of the service provider. The building owner only knows what those providers tell them about the elevators. The owner doesn’t even usually have any control of the elevator equipment that they supposedly own.
National building safety codes require that all buildings that contain an elevator or an escalator have an elevator service provider contracted to maintain the elevators for them. Building owners often wonder how those services that are contracted can be verified. There isn’t really any oversight for the elevator service providers (ESPs), and that means that many of the ESPs are not being held accountable. They often do not provide the service they are contracted to carry out. While this is happening, the building owners are still being charged full price for that non-existent service.
Without proper maintenance, the equipment simply won’t last as long. The elevator equipment will need more frequent repairs, and those who use the elevator will be put at risk. A lack of proper maintenance also leads to more costs for the building owners.
Building owners need to be aware that they can draft their own terms and conditions. They can force the ESP to stick to the agreed upon maintenance schedule and make sure they are being held accountable. By doing this, owners can empower themselves, cut down their costs, reduce the amount of repairs they are required to have done, improve inspection scores and protect their clients.