4 FM quick reads on elevators
1. FMs Should Brush Up On Local Elevator Inspection Standards
I'm Justin Smith, managing editor of web development for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: ensuring proper elevator certification.
Most people probably consider elevators convenient, but one professor at the University of Rhode Island recently experienced anything but. Associate Professor of Sociology Barbara Costello entered an elevator in a campus building on Thursday, March 11, but instead of carrying her to her destination, the elevator began to bounce up and down in place, according to the school's student newspaper. The doors of the elevator opened about two minutes later, but the situation is hardly uncommon on the campus. In a February 2009 article from the student paper, it was reported that 36 out of 64 elevators did not fully meet fire and safety codes, 18 required modifications, 12 were ineligible for new inspection certificates and six were completely non-compliant with state codes. University officials say the affected elevators have now either been fixed, or are scheduled for inspection. Facility managers around the country can take a cue from this situation and refresh themselves on the codes and standards that govern elevators in their facility, since the guidelines for frequency of inspection can be international, national, state, regional or city-based. Doing a little leg work now can prevent a sticky situation later.
2. Is Your Elevator Getting Clean Backup Power?
Most buildings today have at least one elevator connected to an emergency generator. But there's a catch. When the power goes out, some generators can create problems for the solid-state components in a modern elevator. And that can cause a chain reaction that causes problems for other equipment connected to the emergency power system.
Since buildings rarely operate on emergency power, these problems are frequently overlooked.
The problem is that older generators have difficulty responding to the rapid changes in current required by solid-state elevator drives. The result can be variations in system voltage and frequency. Both can damage components in the elevator control system. To prevent problems, the system should be tested at least once a year. Testing should include monitoring the quality of power supplied by the generator with loads connected. If interference is detected, the sources must be found and fixed.
3. Avoiding Elevator Vandalism
Elevator vandalism is a problem no facility manager wants. It's one of the most common, expensive and irritating problems that can happen to an elevator.
The easiest way to prevent vandalism is to make sure the proper materials were used in the cab interior. As many of those components as possible should be easy to replace. When vandalism does occur, damaged items should be replaced quickly to prevent further vandalism. In some buildings, it may be necessary to inspect elevators on a weekly or even daily basis.
Here's one little-known tip to prevent vandalism. Make sure your elevators are operating efficiently. A defective relay or a damaged door track can slow performance. Long wait and travel times can produce frustration that leads to vandalism.
4. Prevent Elevator Overheating
I'm Brandon Lorenz, senior editor for Building Operating Management magazine.
Elevators components aren't particularly prone to overheating. The real problem is the location of the components. Rooftop penthouses get hot. Louvers are supposed to allow ventilation, but draw in dust and hot air.
To prevent overheating, install a dedicated cooling system. By using 100 percent recirculated air, the system can regulate both temperature and humidity levels while keeping dirt and dust out. When installing the system, any existing ventilation louvers, doors and other openings be properly sealed.
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