The maintenance of a building’s transportation system is in many ways similar to the maintenance of a car or fleet of vehicles. This is because both involve tons of machinery traveling through space, sometimes at high speeds, with safety and convenience of passengers as the highest priorities. In the case of an automobile, a manufacturer designs and constructs the product which may then be maintained by a dealer of that same manufacturer. On the contrary a GMC owner is likely to have his truck serviced at the local Ford dealership, or by a private garage. In as much as annual inspections are required to ensure that the vehicle’s safety systems i.e. brakes, exhaust, etc. are functioning properly, the vehicle owner is charged with the responsibility of maintaining his truck/car’s safety. Such is the case where elevators and escalators are concerned. At the end of the day, it is the building owner’s responsibility to ensure the available building transportation is operational and safe. They are also tasked with orchestrating the work of manufacturers, maintenance personnel and inspection officials.
It is important to note that contrary to the common public misconception that the manufacturer of an elevator or escalator is not responsible for maintaining the equipment for the life of a building. The elevator and escalator manufacturers are only accountable when it comes to the provision of equipment that is up-to standard as per regulations, as well as the technical information necessary for the safe maintenance and inspection of the equipment.
The Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, ASME A17.1/CSA B44 requires a Maintenance Control Program (MCP) that is specific to the types of the equipment in the building as well its specific needs. On the other hand, while the MCP remains the owner’s responsibility, building owners can engage the maintenance company or elevator consultant to prepare their MCP. Moreover, while in some areas the escalators and elevators’ inspection is carried out by state or city elevator inspectors, others have third-party inspectors hired by either the jurisdiction or the building owner for the same purposes.
The minimum requirements for elevators and escalators maintenance and inspection are established by the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, ASME A17.1/CSA B44, subject to local laws or regulations. In most areas a license is required for both the Elevator Company and mechanics. The ASME QEI-1 Standard for the Qualification of Elevator Inspectors has established qualifications for elevator inspection personnel that are mandatory in most jurisdictions.
The aspects of elevator maintenance include but are not limited to:
- Cleanliness of elevator cars, car tops, pits, machine rooms and machines.
- Lubrication of guides, rails, suspension means, safety linkages and machines.
- Adjustment of doors to ensure full closure at a correct speed and proper operation of the door reopening devices.
- Inspection of buttons, key switches, lights, indicator lamps, and audible indicators.
- Testing of elevator control system, acceleration and stopping capabilities, safety circuits, fire safety features and electronics.
- Review of the elevator machine’s mechanical condition, adjusting or replacing gears, brakes, bearings or ropes when needed.