It's easy to take major building features for granted. Consider elevators, for example. A well-maintained elevator can function smoothly for decades, ferrying residents up and down without incident or complaint. Nevertheless, no matter the age of the building, there will come a point where the elevator system will need repair—and possibly even total replacement.
Elevators are convenient, sure—but they're also crucial for residents unable to climb stairs, as well as for deliveries and certain maintenance work. The key to minimizing the disruption of elevator work is identifying signs of wear and tear before a major breakdown occurs.
“While the life span of a properly installed elevator can vary greatly depending on the type of technology and the quality of installation, as a general rule-of-thumb a brand new elevator, or one that has undergone complete modernization, should last at least 25 years before requiring major mechanical upgrades,” says Rene Hertsberg, chief operating officer at Urban Elevator Service in Cicero.
Even if a building owner is diligent with elevator maintenance protocols, there may come a time when the equipment becomes unreliable and the down time is increased, says Suzy Martin, president of Naperville-based Smart Elevators Co.
“Case in point, last week we had a building approach us with a down elevator in a single-elevator building with an elderly tenant,” she says. “Their current service provider could not get the elevator back in operation, so through troubleshooting, we determined a new CPU board for a 1980s elevator controller was needed. The cost for the rushed part was $6,000.00, which is only carried by a single vendor and not in stock.”