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Finding the right service provider for elevator maintenance should be a priority for facility managers. But making the right choice means doing some homework, especially today, when new Building Internet of Things (B-IoT) technology is beginning to change the rules for elevator service. Knowing the right information to gather can help facility managers more quickly identify the most qualified candidates.
Good elevator care ensures the safety of riders as well as those who operate and maintain the elevators. What’s more, since elevators are one of the most expensive and indispensable assets of a building, “good elevator maintenance is a way of caring for that investment,” says Chris Bowler, senior director of global service marketing for Otis.
Good elevator maintenance also increases reliability and maximizes uptime. “We have found that there is a direct correlation between good solid preventative maintenance and elevator callbacks,” says Erik Zommers, senior vice president and general manager for Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. Elevator & Escalator Division. A callback is a term used for a shutdown or problem with an elevator or escalator that needs to be addressed by a technician. “When you are on top of your preventative maintenance and performing it to the manufacturer’s spec and to the maintenance program, the number of callbacks is minimized,” he says.
Effective elevator maintenance also offers a very straightforward benefit for facility managers: “It makes life easier,” says Melain Wielkens, vice president of service sales at Thyssenkrupp. The last thing a facility manager needs is an elevator shutdown.
Asking the right questions
To avoid unnecessary headaches, facility managers should hire a reliable service provider, which may or may not be the manufacturer of the original equipment.
Careful screening is required. For starters, ask about the service providers’ capabilities, experience on the facility manager’s equipment, and whether the provider can provide repairs or purchase replacement parts, says Wielkens.
Another important factor has to do with local coverage. How many technicians does the provider have covering the area where the building is located? “If something goes wrong, how quickly can the technician get there to limit downtime?” asks Wielkens.
It’s essential to examine all candidates’ safety records. “Protection of their people’s safety is a key element” of a vendor review, says Greg Nagle, vice president of portfolio for Schindler Elevator Corporation, North America. Other items to check include the tools, processes, and technology used to provide service. And don’t forget about internal professional development, Nagle says. Find out whether an organization has focused on the training and development of the people who will take responsibility for servicing the elevators.
In looking for a service provider, Zommers recommends choosing a company “with a reputation for doing thorough preventative maintenance.” Facility managers should get reviews on how companies are performing in a particular market, since performance of a national or global brand can vary from market to market.
It’s a good idea to find a service provider with experience serving your particular category of building. Different types of buildings have very different needs when it comes to vertical transportation, including when they can tolerate interruptions created by maintenance. “A good provider should be able to speak to your specific pain points and have a strategy to address them," Nagle says.
Finally, before signing a contract, look carefully at the terms of the agreement. For example, Zommers says, “there has been a trend in industry for some companies to not indemnify and agree to defend the customer.” In such instances, the building owner is on their own in the event that legal action is taken. Zommers recommends that facility managers specify such coverage in their contracts with service providers.
Careful Screening Required to Find Reliable Elevator Service Provider