Five Elevator Inspection MythBusters

Elevator inspection is an often-misunderstood requirement among building owners. Your complex machines were first installed with thousands of electrical and other components in custom dimensions to ensure the safety of your public’s access, as well as the efficiency of your building’s traffic. But how do you continue to trust your vertical transportation equipment over time?

State authorities instituted elevator inspections to monitor your equipment’s security and ensure the safety of your riding public. Here, we look at five popular misconceptions building owners may have about elevator inspections, and inform you about your responsibilities as an elevator owner:

  1. Elevator inspection is covered in my elevator maintenance: False Elevator Inspections are separately required by the state.

Elevator maintenance and elevator inspection are two different but potentially complementary processes. Preventive elevator maintenance is important for the long-term care of your equipment and can indeed help prepare you for a successful inspection. Elevator maintenance is conducted by your contracted elevator repair company. Companies like Kencor, Inc. offer both comprehensive and partial plans which cover services like Lubrication and Adjustment. Effective preventive maintenance programs identify your machine’s operating behaviors before problems occur, which means that your equipment is more likely to succeed for its inspection when you’re due.

Elevator inspection, meanwhile, is a separate, officially conducted test on your equipment witnessed by a third-party agent and may be accompanied by an elevator repair technician. This test is pre-scheduled, mandated, and due at regular intervals as determined by the Authority Having Jurisdiction.

  1. Inspections are up to my elevator repair company: False Elevator inspections are the owner’s responsibility.

It’s important to clarify that your elevator repair company does not schedule or perform inspections for you. While an elevator manufacturer guarantees that your equipment meets safety specifications when it’s first installed, your ownership now means that you’ve not only invested in valuable equipment, but you’ve also assumed responsibility for that equipment moving forward. Just like car ownership, individuals must take it upon themselves to bring their transportation (in this case, elevators) for inspection at regular intervals for required testing and inspection.

Your elevator repair company can work with you to navigate your responsibilities. After you’ve scheduled your 3rd party inspection agency, contact your elevator repair company to coordinate the visit. Both parties need advance time to effectively schedule for your inspection. At Kencor, Inc., we’ll speak directly with agents to ensure smooth communication.

  1. Inspection rules are the same everywhere: False Inspection mandates can vary by state or locality.

Even if you own or have owned buildings in a next-door township, your elevator inspection requirements may be different. Elevator inspections can vary by state, county, jurisdiction, municipality, as well as by equipment type. Building owners should contact the state in which your equipment resides to learn about your inspection requirements. You may then be directed to your local township or other agency to get references for applicable 3rd party inspectors as well as learn about regulations.

Contact Your State to Learn About Your Elevator Inspection Requirements:

Your state can tell you the make and model of your equipment if you don’t know, as well as your inspection requirements and available 3rd party inspectors to choose from.

Delaware – Contact your county or municipal office to learn your specific regulations.

City of Wilmington – Department of Licenses and Inspections 302-576-3030

New Castle County – Land Use 302-395-5555

Maryland – Division of Labor and Industry, Elevator and Escalator Safety  410-767-2990

New Jersey – New Jersey Elevator Safety Unit, Department of Community Affairs 609-984-7833

Pennsylvania – Bureau of Occupational and Industrial Safety   717-787-3806 and select from the menu.

Washington, DC – Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs 202-442-4400

Virginia – Department of Labor and Industry 804-371-3104

Northern Virginia (Alexandria) – Department of Code Administration 703-746-4200

  1. I don’t have a choice during elevator inspections: False For many states, owners can choose their own third-party inspectors from pre-approved lists.

While your elevator inspection is mandated, you do get to choose who completes your inspection in states like Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, for example. However, some states don’t offer your choice of inspection agency, so you should check your jurisdiction to learn the rules.

It’s important to consider your 3rd party inspection agency because this represents a long-term relationship. Once you’ve engaged a 3rd party inspection agent, you enter into a contract that will continue for the agreed-upon term until you cancel in writing. Some building owners mistakenly receive inspections from multiple agents because they’ve forgotten to terminate their existing contracts.

Owners consider factors like budget, professionalism, hours, and importantly, who they most want to regularly visit their properties over many years when deciding on an elevator inspection agency. We encourage building owners to identify what factors are most important to you as you select an agency. You may want to generate a list of questions in advance of calling to help prepare, such as:

  • What days and/or times of day are you available to visit my building for inspection?
  • What is the cost of your service? Are there additional costs, such as travel or overtime, that I will be billed for?
  • What’s your policy on schedule changes?
  • How will you communicate with me and/or my elevator repair company?
  • Have you worked in my region previously?
  • Can you provide proof of eligible clearances to work in my building?
  • How many hours do you usually invest to inspect elevators such as the ones in my property?
  1. I’ll have a grace period to get my inspection or repairs done: False Your equipment can be shut down and/or you can receive fines for non-compliance of inspections.

Any elevator that is out of inspection can be shut down and/or fined for non-compliance. This information surprises many facility owners who operate elevators for vulnerable populations, such as elevators in hospitals or accessibility lifts in schools. No matter how vital an elevator is to your operations, if it’s past inspection, your equipment could be sealed and disabled. Furthermore, some states levy financial penalties for every day that an elevator does not meet requirements, either for inspection and/or for completing repairs to bring the equipment to code.

The solution to keep your elevator operational and to protect your riding public every day is to be proactive. Learn your equipment type and your inspection requirements today. You can contact your state authority (listed above) to find out both, or speak with your local elevator repair company to assist you in assessing your equipment, developing a maintenance program, and accompanying your inspection agency on-site. Getting started may take effort, but you’re preparing a program that will continue for years.