Elevator Challenges - Parts Availability & Elevator Modernization

Elevator Challenges Parts Availability & Elevator Modernization

The phrases “You need to modernize,” “We can’t get your parts,” and “Your equipment is too old” have become all too familiar for owners and managers of buildings with elevators these days. It is prevalent across buildings of every size and affects organizations nationwide, prompting building owners and managers to seek solutions.

So, what do owners do when faced with these issues? Understanding the options buildings have to keep their elevators operational is imperative for the organizations’ operations. That is where an elevator consultant comes in.

Elevator consulting firms often encounter clients who have been informed by their service providers that certain parts are unavailable or that an elevator modernization is required. If a building is informed that certain parts are not available, an elevator consultant can determine whether the parts are genuinely unavailable or if they have become obsolete. They can also determine if the part can be repaired, where it can be fixed, and where hard-to-find parts can be obtained.

Different elevator companies service different parts of elevators and can either fix them or refurbish them depending on their expertise. These companies are known to elevator consultants. If there are other similar elevators in the company’s portfolio, there may even be an opportunity to do some value engineering. This is usually not the case for most buildings, but it is something that should be investigated. A skilled elevator service technician with experience working on a particular piece of equipment can keep an elevator up and running and conversely, the equipment may encounter more issues when this technician stops servicing the equipment.

The elevator labor pool with experience servicing older equipment is scarce. Technicians with this skill set are simply not as common in the marketplace anymore. Once a building has exhausted all its options to keep the elevator running, a modernization may be necessary. If you believe an elevator modernization is not an option, it is important to make sure that you do your due diligence.

Just because an elevator is old or parts are scarce is not always a reason for modernization. However, there are situations when a building will need modernization, and working with an elevator consulting firm will help in determining this, bearing in mind that a modernization should never be delayed if there are safety ramifications involved. Recognizing that many buildings simply cannot afford an elevator modernization, a building can, and should, look at creative ways to afford a modernization.

If a building hires an elevator consultant, they will share options for the building and may conduct an elevator audit to view the equipment and parts and will give the building the cost benefits and options. Elevator consulting firms understand the current economic times and challenges buildings are facing and will work with their clients to find an economical and safe solution that meets the operational needs of the organization.

Another area where unplanned modernizations arise is when a building is being sold. Many buyers do not perform elevator due diligence when purchasing a building. If the elevator has passed inspection by the authority having jurisdiction, they often overlook elevator due diligence. In other words, the elevator has the certificate in the elevator or managers office. Also, the elevator company says they have been maintaining it properly the building often feels it’s unnecessary to conduct an elevator due diligence. There are also cases when the seller discloses that they did a modernization when it was only a partial elevator modernization leaving more work to be done. When buying a building one should engage with an elevator consulting firm to do elevator and/or escalator due diligence on the equipment before purchasing.

Here is a real-life example of why a building should engage the services of an elevator consultant when buying a building. The buyer of a building hired an elevator consultant after they bought the building due to issues with the elevators. The buyer was initially told that an elevator modernization had just been completed before the sale of the building. The seller shared documents with the buyer to support this claim. The buyer reviewed the report and was satisfied with it. However, the client, the buyer, was not aware that the machines had a problem in the industry because they were not elevator experts.

After purchasing the building, the buyer hired The Elevator Consultants since they were having elevator issues almost immediately after the purchase. The buyer thought it was the service provider not performing proper maintenance, which was not the case. The Elevator Consultants conducted an elevator audit and uncovered the machine issue. It turns out that the machines were not replaced as part of the modernization which left the buyer looking at over a million dollars to replace them. The cost of elevator due diligence is a fraction of an elevator due diligence. If it had been done before the sale of the building it would have saved the buyer a lot of money.

Here is another real-life example of the benefit of hiring an elevator consultant, this time concerning parts scarcity. Our client was told by their service provider they had to undergo an elevator modernization because parts were not available. Parts are scarce these days not only because of ongoing supply chain issues but also because of the material used to make parts for elevators and escalators. It seems it is more economical for elevator companies to mark parts as obsolete and create new products. The client was preparing for the modernization, but we were able to find out that the part could indeed be repaired. This meant that the elevator would be down for a few weeks and yes it would stress the workload of the other elevators, but it was a much more cost-effective option to get the part fixed versus the expense of a modernization.

Engaging the expertise of an elevator and escalator consultant proves invaluable whenever these issues are in play. While initiating contact with such a consultant might require a bit more time, the long-term benefits are undeniable. These consulting firms specialize in addressing all matters related to elevators and escalators, serving as dedicated advocates to safeguard their clients’ interests and investments.