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Ten Things Building Owners MUST Know About Their Elevator Service Contract

1. Avoid terms like "systematic, periodic, or routine" when it comes to stiplulations of schedule of maintenance in a contract. If the equipment needs monthly maintenance, the elevator maintenance contract should state so and provide a credit if service is not performed. Quarterly or semi-annual maintenance in a commercial application is questionable as door equipment regularly needs adjustments and electrical contacts need to be cleaned. 

2. Save money by knowing what you can do yourself! All elevator operational parts should only be installed or maintained by elevator personnel. However, the building owner owns the elevator, and is free to purchase common replacement parts to have as inventory. Building owners can purchase things like push button lamps at a fraction of the cost from Elevator Supply Direct and have them on site when elevator personnel come to replace them. This will save money and time by getting the elevator up and running faster. Elevator Supply Direct can help you build a small inventory of common replacement parts to have available so you do not have to pay the inflated prices of elevator maintenance contractors. Elevator contractors also charge a premium for signage, keys and other items that can be purchased directly from Elevator Supply Direct. 

3. Make sure the contract defines what parts are covered and what is "obsolete." Many elevator maintenance contracts stipulate that equipment over 15 years old is obsolete. This may be convenient for the elevator contractor, but expensive for the building owner. The contract should define parts not covered by the maintenance agreement due to availability problems of parts and components for purchase or repair. 

4. Keep in mind your contract renewal dates! Most maintenance contracts include automatic renewal terms. If the contract includes a cancelation clause which requires a minimum of 90 days notice, do not wait! Make sure contractors know they must continue to prove themselves as the best maintenance providers or they will lose your account.

5. Require licensed personnel! Include a provision in the contract that all personnel performing maintenance and adjustments must show proof of valid licensing. This will provide assurance that the personnel has the experience and training required for working on the equipment. 

6. Get it in writing! Each time service is performed, get a copy of the work performed in writing. Sometimes maintenance is recorded with corporate code numbers that help the contractor know what was done but are of no value to the building owner. Get a copy of the actual maintenance work that was performed, as well as a log of the hours spent on the maintenance, including times in and out. 

7. Hire an independent inspector for annual testing. If you are in a state or jurisdiction that allows or requires private elevator inspectors, hire your own. An independent inspector will inspect the work of the elevator contractor as well as issues which are the responsibility of the building owner. Elevator Supply Direct will be happy to connect you with a recommended inspector in your area. 

8. Know the word "Indemnification." This is a term to limit or direct liability to responsible parties. Indemnification of the party directly working on or adjusting the equipment should not be done without legal advice. Standard contractors' agreements include this language. Some building owners do not thoroughly read the agreements or seek legal counsel and sign these agreements anyway. This practice leads the building owner to own full responsibility for all work performed. 

9. Be prepared for an accident, should it occur. (Hopefully it won't!) Before an elevator accident does occur, does the building owner have a plan? If not, contact an elevator consultant immediately. Confirm in writing that the consultant does not have any contractual or other affiliation with the buildings elevator contractor. DO NOT ALLOW ANY REPAIR WORK, ADJUSTMENTS OR ERASING OF CONTROL SYSTEM SOFTWARE BY THE ELEVATOR CONTRACTOR. ONLY ALLOW SUPERVISED EMERGENCY REMOVAL OF ENTRAPPED PERSONNEL. Regardless of how small of an injury or incident, inform the consultant of the injury or incident immediately. Request a site review and finding by the consultant as soon as possible. 

10. Secure the services of an elevator consultant to help you understand code requirements. Quotes for "code required" modifications should always be confirmed with a consultant. Many contractors use the latest code modifications to up-sell customers. While the modifications may be beneficial, they may not be required for your elevator vintage. By seeking advice from an elevator consultant, building owners can more than pay for the consultant's fees by qualify what actual "code required" modifications are required for each specific elevator. 

The above information was provided by Elevator CSI. Elevator CSI is an international elevator consulting company that provides professional elevator inspection, consultation, and expert witness services.

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