Ira Meister, founder and CEO of Matthew Adam Properties, says that when his company is retained to take over management of buildings after a board changed management companies, it has found a disturbing number of properties that are not current with elevator inspections either by not having the inspections conducted, or not filing the proper reports. “This raises two issues,” Meister says. “Most importantly, is the need to keep elevators in good working order to prevent accidents. Secondly, the buildings are subject to fines for not complying.”
Elevator accidents have changed the elevator inspection codes
In recent years, several well-publicized elevator accidents have led the city to rework the elevator inspection codes. This also followed a report in 2009 from the Department of Buildings which showed lax compliance. Of 50 elevator inspections and tests that were randomly monitored, the department found that 28 of the inspections were performed late, seven were performed by inspectors who lacked the necessary certifications and 19 were not properly documented. This led to new inspection and testing requirements that went into effect in December 2010.
Under the current code, a basic test must be conducted annually by an approved elevator inspector and witnessed by another company or inspector who is not connected with the company performing the inspection.
“Then, the owner, board or most likely the property manager must file a report with the Department of Buildings with the results. This must be submitted within 45 days of the inspection,” Meister says. “However, very often the responsible party fails to file the report.”
You have 45 business days to repair defects after filing inspection report
If defects are found requiring repair, the work must be done within 45 business days of filing the initial inspection report. A final report, saying the repairs have been done, must be filed within 15 business days of completion of the work.
Failure to perform the inspection, or to correct defects once found, can result in fines of $150/month per elevator. After one year, the fines increase to $3,000. A “full-load” test is required every five years. Fines for this are $250/month for failure to perform the test and $150/month for not correcting violations. After one year the fines increase to $5,000.
“In addition to changes in the inspection requirements,” Meister says, “the new code and recent amendments have added requirements for various safety features in the elevators, which require additional expenses for the owner. “