As a building manager, you know that when elevators, escalators, or any other vertical systems go down, you are suddenly faced with turmoil for the people who rely on them. Those affected, whether building managers, tenants, or even visitors, often don’t realize the degree of mechanical complexity and the high level of specialization required to fix the equipment.
At Vertical Systems Analysis, we want to help you be proactive about your systems’ maintenance and also eliminate the frustration that can come in the event of a possible failure of your elevators and escalators. We’ve developed the VSA Elevator checklist – a guide for vertical systems managers to assist with keeping everything moving reliably and efficiently.
Based on years of hands-on experience with specialized vertical transportation systems, our Elevator checklist contains information that is crucial to help manage your systems. As a building manager, owner or other stakeholders in charge of elevator maintenance, certification and overall safety of your elevator, here are the key things to keep in mind:
· Keep great records of all your maintenance. This will help us get to know all aspects of your system and its equipment.
· We’ll provide counsel so you completely understand service contracts and the associated key terms and conditions. This will ensure you are protecting, tenants as well as the building.
· We’ll help you make sure you are measuring your elevator’s performance against industry standards as well as methodologies including entrapment, usage, downtimes and other issues.
· Learning about your local code requirements. Properly understanding these is critical and can prevent you from incurring excessive costs from non-compliance fees.
· Understanding key terminology of service contracts, and conditions set forth in them that help you to protect your building, its owners, and its tenants.
The VSA Elevator Playbook is designed to give building owners and property managers a leg up with their system’s maintenance demands. By providing information based on our working industry knowledge, research of emerging technology trends, and more, our VSA Elevator check list provides building personnel a better ability to make decisions and alleviate concerns about day-to-day and even emergency-based vertical transportation operations.
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When it comes to testing for elevator code adherence in New York City, impartiality is a key part of ensuring equipment is functioning properly and works safely for all users.
According to the Department of Buildings (DOB) and NYC Maintenance of Buildings Codes, any elevator or escalator located within the city’s five boroughs must be inspected and tested twice a year. Contracted inspection agencies conduct these inspections on behalf of the DOB. Inspections are usually unannounced.
Category Testing is a further means to ensure safer and more reliable performance of equipment. Vertical Systems Analysis is an approved by DOB Elevator Consulting Company that can provide Witness Testing.
The NYC Department of Buildings Guide to Elevators describes the different category tests as follows:
Category 1 (CAT1)
No load safety test performed between January 1st and December 31st each year.
Category 3 (CAT3)
Performed on water hydraulic elevators only every three years from date of installation.
Category 5 (CAT5)
Performed with rated load and speed every five years from date of installation
Under New York law, building owners and managers have the responsibility of hiring competent and, more importantly, licensed and approved elevator inspectors to perform annual elevator and escalator tests.
In addition, they bear the responsibility to obtain the services of an impartial, unaffiliated third-party agency (typically an elevator consultant) to provide witnessing of the inspection. This part of the process is called Category Test Witnessing.
Category Test Witnessing (or sometimes just Test Witnessing), is an additional service in the testing process, employing the use of third-party agencies to witness the category testing performed by elevator inspectors.
Per the NYC Department of Buildings, only third-party agencies that are licensed by them are permitted to witness annual safety tests.
Aside from Elevator Test Witnessing Being Legally Mandated, What Are the Major Benefits to You?
Test witnessing helps you best comply with federal, state and local jurisdictions
New and more rigorous annual elevator inspections attended by independent witnesses are detecting about 50 percent more violations in New York City.
Test witnessing helps you satisfy requirements of insurance carriers and protects your assets
As a building owner or manager, you bear the responsibility under the law for hiring a competent and approved elevator inspection agency to perform elevator and escalator tests. By hiring an unaffiliated third-party agency to witness the inspection, you provide yourself with the extra assurance that you have met the requirements of the law, resulting in your insurance not becoming nullified by negligence.
Test witnessing can minimize your liability by ensuring the safety of elevator and escalator users
When performing an annual test, we subject Elevators and escalators to extreme conditions not typically encountered under normal operation. We do this to bring out any possible adverse situation that can cause the verticals to fail. Acting proactively in this manner helps us spot small issues before they become large ones, keeping all users safe.
Why Choose Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA)
VSA is a state licensed third party agency that can perform test witnessing of your vertical devices. As your third-party witness, it is our goal to ensure that your elevators and escalators are performing to code and that the testing work carried out meets the legal mandates required by New York.
With our extensive support staff, we can also complete your third-party code inspections, processing, and filing fees for you.
To find out more about the role Vertical Systems Analysis can play in CAT1, CAT3 & CAT5 test witnessing, please contact our licensed and fully qualified technicians and engineers.
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From 1883 when the Temple Court Building and Annex was built, a 9-story building that was the third ever skyscraper in New York City, to the 2014 completion of One World Trade Center at 104 floors, elevators have been bringing people to and from high-rise offices, restaurants, apartments, and observation decks. In fact, commercial goods have been moved up and down floors of factories, warehouses, and the like in NYC for well over a century.
Most early elevators were more simple in their engineering, operation, and maintenance than those created according to today’s standards. To remain current and to ensure safety for passengers, today’s elevators may need to be replaced or require elevator modernization.
Signs that Elevator Modernization May Be Needed
Various things can occur to indicate that it’s time to consider modernizing existing elevators. These can include:
Common Modernizations to Expect
Power units, controllers, braking and traction components, signal equipment, and door equipment are all items that may need to be addressed to modernize an existing elevator. Additionally, the cab enclosure may need to be addressed as it, plus the signaling on the inside and outside, should be ADA compliant.
Who Handles Elevator Modernization?
When upgrading and modernizing an elevator, this service should not be trusted to just anyone. Elevator Consulting companies, have the full suite of services needed to do any elevator modernization project properly. A good option for an elevator owner who needs to upgrade is to look for an elevator consulting firm that can cover everything from the machine room to the pit, including the hoistway, hoistway equipment, overhead, and the elevator cab.
Elevator consultants typically work with clients who own, or manage buildings that have elevators, lifts, moving walkways, and escalators. The consultants work with the client to provide evaluation and design of these forms of vertical transportation. When existing equipment is involved, these consultants can evaluate and provide solutions for existing systems that can help the building owner utilize the latest techniques and technologies to optimize their existing structure. Elevator Consultants remain independent of elevator mechanic companies allowing clients to have confidence that the work will be done properly and on budget.
Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA)
Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA) is a consulting and engineering firm whose services include surveying, design engineering, feasibility studies, test witnessing, traffic analysis, permit expediting. VSA completes elevator modernizations in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Miami. Their elevator modernization services begin with a comprehensive visual examination. VSA then prepares specifications, meets with the client to discuss scope of work, and finalizes a list of bidders. They then manage drawing approvals, fixture/cab selections, and oversee construction through the completion of punchlists.
VSA is known as a firm that will lead and manage an elevator modernization project in-house from initial consultation through completion. This will help ensure that any elevator modernization project they are involved with is done properly to spec every time.
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I'm April Bailey, a freelance writer and editor for hire who has been writing about various topics for many years. Most of my early print work was destroyed in a major house fire. Luckily, I was able to pull some copies from an old PC and have posted them here. Other items on this blog reflect my current articles and blog posts written for online publications and copied here so I never lose my work again!