4 FM quick reads on elevator
1. Elevator Service Provider Considerations
Once facility managers have evaluated the existing elevator equipment in their facility and the available budget to address needs, they will have the framework for determining what type of services to seek from providers.
When searching for a provider, facility managers should look first to see that the contractor is accredited to work in a given market. Accreditation requirements vary around the country. Some states require service providers to have a contractor's license. Others have specific licensing programs for the vertical transportation industry, which includes elevators and escalators. Research the company to make sure it has proper insurance coverage because elevators open the owner to substantial liability. The provider also should have the financial strength to follow through on its service commitments for the life of the contract.
Next, review the company's engineering experience. Ask whether it has an adequate inventory of spare parts and the logistics to get them to the job site. Find out how many service technicians are available to respond to calls, even if the call comes at 2 a.m. Pin down prospective service providers on response time. Experts say a typical response time during normal business hours should be 30 minutes or less.
Ask too about the contractor's technical training program and be cautious of partnering with service providers that don't have an ongoing tech training program, as they will likely not be versed in the latest industry developments.
The company's technicians should be intimately familiar with the building's original elevator equipment and have access to spare parts, necessary software, wiring diagrams and other documentation.
A good service provider, however, will do more than just meet the technical requirements of a contract. Service providers should be willing to make recommendations for upgrades and improvements to meet current or future standards.
2. Elevator Evacuation Closer to Practical Application
The industry is moving ever closer to practical application of using elevators for emergency evacuation. It has been determined in the 2009 NFPA code annex that elevators can be used as a means of egress in very tall buildings, as it can greatly shorten the time for a total building evacuation.
In the 2012 code, it was moved into the main body of the code. The infrastructure and hardware criteria have been established. What is being worked out is the communication piece to tenants. This includes signage to mark the elevator and also the proper notification modes, frequency and messages to provide in an emergency in regards to the evacuation elevator.
The final report by the Fire Protection Research Foundation was issued the first week of January and final elevator messaging recommendations will be worked on in the coming months, Robert Solomon, division manager for Building and Life Safety Codes, at National Fire Protection Association. However, even though the messaging is not yet standardized, there is enough guidance in the code for projects to move forward, Solomon says.
3. Facility Managers Can Help To Lessen Stress Of Elevator Stranding
I'm Justin Smith, managing editor of web development for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: keeping a cool head while trapped in an elevator. Once in a lifetime. Those are a person's odds of being stuck in an elevator, according to the Hometown Life newspaper in Detroit. With 700,000 elevators in the United States and 120 billion elevator rides per year, you may not know when it's your turn to get stuck, but facility managers can help soften the shock by communicating a few simple tips. These can help tenants, users or even yourself should the situation occur. First, don't panic. Remember that there is enough air inside. Locate the emergency call button or use a cell phone to call for help. Never attempt to open the doors yourself - the elevator may begin moving again at any time. Wait until a mechanic arrives to open the door for you. And don't worry about the cable snapping - many systems have redundant cables to protect against falling. With these short reminders, managers can prevent long headaches later.
4. Check ASME Codes Before A Full-Scale Elevator Modernization
I'm Justin Smith, managing editor of web development for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: elevator modernization. How can facility managers tell whether they should opt for a simple repair or a full-scale modernization? Start with codes. One resource is the National Elevator Code: American Society of Mechanical Engineers, A17.1. First, determine which version of the code is in effect. Some jurisdictions operate under code editions that may be 10 or more years old. Second, consider exactly what modernization means. It is critical to evaluate your system needs to determine if a simple repair will provide you with improved operation, or if a complete modernization will be required. Finally, consider that elevator upgrades can affect other building systems, like electrical or HVAC. If an elevator modernization is designed by the elevator company, the impact on the facility can be significant. With some planning, the upgrade process can be as smooth as possible.