Up to Code Maintenance and Security Measures Ensure Sound Elevator Performance

 Every resident living in a building with more than two stories understands the  convenience an elevator affords. While antiquated forms of the modern elevator  date back to Ancient Rome, the first passenger hydraulic elevator was installed  in New York City in 1857. Since then there have been many updates in the  industry.  

 “Looking at elevators from a hundred years ago to today is like looking at a  Model T opposed to a 2011 car model,” says Brian Black, a code and safety consultant for the National Elevator Industry Inc., a national trade association representing the interests of firms that install, maintain and or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks and other building transportation products. “In the last 20 or 30 years, the biggest change is that all elevators are  computer operated. So often, performance is based on the software and how it  interfaces with the machinery.”  

 If properly maintained, the majority of elevators have a life span of 20 years;  in some cases, newer models can have a life cycle exceeding three decades. For  those high-rise buildings with older elevators still in operation, maintenance  issues are often experienced for a handful of reasons. In some cases, parts are  outdated or companies have gone out of business.  

 “Most of the older elevators in mid- and high-rise buildings have the old  mechanical relays. These older systems are prone to breakdowns and they are  getting harder and harder to get repaired,” says Michael Pasquino, senior portfolio manager for Barkan Management Company  in Boston. “These constant breakdowns start adding up in cost. Parts are getting hard to  find. When an elevator company does a replacement in an old building, they keep  many of the old parts to use on elevators with these old relays.”  

 Safety First

 According to Consumer Watch, there are an estimated 900,000 elevators in  operation in the United States, each serving an average of 20,000 people per  year. This equates to 18 billion passenger trips per year. As with all  statistics involving transportation of humans, higher frequency results in more  accidents.  

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