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Information for Building Owners

General Information for Elevator Upgrade and Modernization for Building Owners 

Elevator Modernization

A modernization of an elevator involves the repair and/or replacement as well as upgrade and addition of equipment to bring the elevator up to current code and industry standards.  The degree of the repair and replacement as well as the upgrade and addition of the equipment is dependant on the original installation time, the requirements of the code edition in effect at the time of the installation of the original equipment, any alterations to the equipment after the original time of the installation, the maintenance performance throughout the life of the equipment, the existing condition of the equipment, the intended utilization of the equipment and possibly the expected traffic the elevator was designed to accommodate as well as the actual utilization and traffic the elevator has endured.

Elevator modernization can be a major building upgrade and may impact most of the unit owners or occupants of the building.  Only with the proper planning and oversight will a building owner be assured of a chance for a successful elevator modernization.  Additional concerns with alterations or modernization of elevators are the correct definition of the work by other trades and coordination of the work performed by other trade contractors with work performed by the elevator contractor. The building required upgrades to coincide with an elevator modernization can include the fire alarm system, air conditioning, stairways and doors, signage, lighting, accessibility, fire command centers, emergency power systems and electrical issues.

Proprietary and Non-Proprietary
Another issue of concern in an elevator modernization is the proprietary nature of the equipment specified or proposed as replacement of the existing equipment.  Contractors, manufacturers and elevator professionals suggest that all elevator control systems are basically Proprietary in nature, by virtue of their design.   There are significant differences within design and application of control systems between suppliers.

The degree of Proprietary Restraint can be measured by the ability of service companies other than the original control manufacturer to maintain the equipment – and the degree of Proprietary restraint within distribution and support channels.

Freedom of choice is the reason most often mentioned by building owners when specifying Non-Proprietary elevator control equipment. The ability to select from among competitive maintenance providers, if necessary, ensures the sound financial future increasingly in demand by decision makers.

Elevator CSI typically specifies non-proprietary equipment for all modernization projects.  Non-proprietary equipment can be serviced by trained elevator mechanics employed by elevator contractors throughout the industry.  However, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) Contractors may be able to provide equipment with ownership of the necessary software and diagnostic tools to the building owner which may limit the proprietary nature of the equipment.  With building ownership of the proprietary software and diagnostic tools, the building owner may not be limited to exclusive maintenance services by OEM Contractors.  OEM Contractors may be the appropriate equipment for the modernization of a building’s elevators.  Elevator CSI consultants can explain the differences in control systems in today's market as well as recommend the best equipment for the modernization of a building’s elevators per the specific conditions, environment and  requirements of the project.

Elevator Consulting Services
Building owners and managers need to consider the services of a professional elevator consultant for elevator modernizations. The building owners or managers need to verify all credentials, associations, and references in consideration of a consultant.  A professional elevator consultant will independently work in the best interest of the building owner with the different trade contractors included in the complete scope of the project. The savings realized by the building owners by contracting a professional consultant will be evident in the quality of the specifications, contract negotiations, and the coordination of all trades for a proper, safe, and reliable operating elevators. The benefits received by contracting a true professional consultant will be well above the actual cost of the professional consultant’s fees.

Elevator CSI’s consultants can review the current condition building’s elevators to determine the original installation date, the requirements of the code edition in effect at the time of the installation of the original equipment, any alterations to the equipment after the original time of the installation, the maintenance performance throughout the life of the equipment, the existing condition of the equipment, the intended utilization of the equipment and possibly the expected traffic the equipment was designed to accommodate as well as the actual utilization and the traffic the elevator has endured.  Elevator CSI will provide a report of the elevator review to the building owner.  The main objective of the elevator review is to:

  • Evaluate the current level of installation and operational characteristics of all of the components to include machine room equipment, hoistway equipment and car equipment
  • Determine code compliance and quality of performance for the proper operation of all elevator
  • Evaluate performance of maintenance and advise on maintenance contract.
  • Review conditions required for repair, replacement, upgrade and/or modernization.

From the elevator review, Elevator CSI and the building owner can determine the degree of the repair, replacement, upgrade and/or modernization of the equipment required for code compliant, safe and proper operation of the building’s elevators.  Elevator CSI can provide consulting for the repair, replacement, upgrade and/or modernization with the following services:

  • Prepare, submit & track progress of permanent or temporary variances as required with the State of Florida Bureau of Elevator Safety or authority having jurisdiction.
  • Provide specifications and bid documents for modernization of elevators including performance based maintenance requirements.
  • After agreement of final specifications with Building Management, electronic copies of specifications will be sent to qualified bidders including determined bid date.  Sealed bids will be received by consultant, which shall only be opened by condominium board.
  • Review of all bids with Building Management to determine bid award.
  • Review of schedule, submittals and approvals as required.
  • Site checks during time of elevator contractors’ performance of work  including digital photographs for documentation.  Communication and updates with Building Management.
  • Include complete car speed testing and data reports, including up direction and down directions at high speed, leveling speeds and all times and G-forces measured during start, leveling and stopping of the elevator to landings.  Elevator speed and performance testing is to be performed prior to and also after completion of modernization for comparative results.
  • Include testing and reporting of all door speeds, door pressure and Kinetic Energy calculations as measured within the door-closing zone as defined and required by the applicable edition of the ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.  Door performance testing is to be performed prior to and after completion of modernization for comparative results.
  • Oversight and follow up inspection of all work performed by elevator contractor for compliance.
  • The elevator consultant shall provide a review and written punch list of deficiencies.

Elevator CSI can also assist with the drafting of modernization and maintenance contracts for review by the building owner’s legal counsel. 

Please contact Elevator CSI for hourly or flat rate proposals for elevator review, repair, replacement, upgrade and/or modernization consultant services

The above information is general information and is not intended to be all inclusive or directed at all elevator contractors or all building owners.  Every project is different and requires specific direction and contract language to best serve the building requirements.  Elevator CSI encourages all building owners to seek professional elevator consulting and legal counsel prior to signing any maintenance contract or equipment upgrades.
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