Elevators: The Ups and Downs
Jason Lockton (Superintendent) here, to talk to you about the elevators.
Everyone knows one of the greatest frustrations of living in a high rise building can be the elevators. The long wait, the one kid that presses every button, and (perhaps even most of all) the maintenance.
When an elevator gets taken out of service, we understand it can be a major inconvenience... trust me, I need to take them between the entire length of the building several times each day. I have also walked both up and down the full buildings stairs on several occasions, and know that it is particularly not fun. I wanted to take this time to explain a few things about their maintenance.
"Why does it take so long when they are down for maintenance?"
"What are we doing to avoid these down times?"
Let me start off by explaining why it often takes so long to get the elevators back to use after they've been down for repairs. Unfortunately, this seems to be a by product of the building boom that is occurring all around Toronto.
1. Technicians Needed:
According to an article published by City News, in Ontario (2018) there are roughly 57,900 elevators and only 4700 Licensed technicians in to maintain them. That's 1 technician for every 12 elevators!
2. Manufacturing: Where are our parts?
While a large majority of these are located in Toronto, the manufacturing of parts for our elevator company (ThyssenKrupp Elevators) is done in the United States. This leads to long delivery times and can slow down even “simple” repairs.
3. More Elevators = Less Priority for Parts
We also have the dis/advantage of having 4 elevators. This leads to problems when we lose one elevator as it is seen as a minor emergency compared to a building which might only have that 1 or perhaps 2 elevators. Meaning they get priority over any parts that would be in stock. Some might ask "well, why don’t companies stock more parts?". The problem is that these parts are often expensive and custom-made, meaning anything left on a shelf is a large loss for the company. It also means that just changing companies isn’t a fix for the long wait times as they would simply have to order the custom parts through ThyssenKrupp’s manufacturing.
4. Proprietary Equipment
Our elevators are installed and maintained by ThyssenKrupp, and their parts and equipment is proprietary. That means that only ThyssenKrupps' licensed employees are allowed to work on it, and if anyone else does, the Corporation risks losing any and all warranty with ThyssenKrupp. Elevators are expensive, and losing warranty would be a huge expense to all Owners of suites at Emerald City One - and this is an unnecessary cost that we try our best to avoid, so that it won't drastically increase maintenance fees.
Please understand that when we do have an elevator down, both Management and Staff do their very best to accommodate the Residents and fix the situation as quickly as possible. Management is on the phone with ThyssenKrupp or speaking with our regular technician to get as many updates as they can but are often stopped by “the part has been shipped” with no estimated time of arrival. Staff, on the other hand, adjust our schedules to avoid putting the elevator on service for maintenance during any times that we expect high traffic. We appreciate that these are frustrating situations, but we assure you that we do try everything that we can think of to help.
"So, what are you doing to avoid down times?"
As no one on-site has undertaken the years of training required to become a licensed elevator technician, none of the staff are able (or allowed!) to directly repair the elevators. As such, Management has obtained a contract for regular maintenance of the elevator with ThyssenKrupp. We have a good relationship with our technician, Kevin - in fact, you may have seen him in the elevators. He has found and fixed many issues with the elevators before they had a chance to escalate. He is in regular contact with both Management and Superintendents.
From the Superintendents perspective, we try to stop downtimes through constant monitoring. We check the elevator machine rooms for general cleanliness, check that all cooling is functioning properly, and do regular maintenance on anything that we are able to see, tightening rails and mirrors, fixing the service hatches, and are in regular contact with Kevin to tell him even minor issues such as leveling or bouncing. I would also be mistaken if I didn’t credit the cleaners with helping their operation by doing simple tasks like keeping them clean and getting all debris out of the door tracks.
Should you notice anything that is not functioning well with the elevators, we ask that you please report it to Security (24/7), Property Management (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm), or via the online reporting tool (FORMS > MAINTENANCE).
- Jason Lockton, Superintendent at TSCC 2368.