CHICAGO—December 31, 2020 The COVID-19 public health crisis has changed almost every aspect of our lives, including how we use buildings. These days, it’s important to accommodate a building’s changing needs while keeping everyone safe. Acting as the building’s main artery, elevators play an essential role in managing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Although there is no official rulebook for handling a situation like this, there are some important considerations for building owners and property managers to keep their elevator buildings running smoothly while COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
1. Do a traffic study.
People are returning to work in different capacities. What will the flow of tenants look like as they try to return to their offices? For example, when are the busiest and slowest times? What are the average wait times and the longest wait times? Patterns in elevator usage can help buildings assess their current operations and adjust accordingly.
2. Post guidelines for social distancing.
The CDC recommends social distancing, which can be challenging in the confined space of an elevator. Depending on the elevator’s size, some buildings have limited the number of riders to only 2, 3 or 4 at a time. These guidelines are posted and often include reminders to stay 6 feet apart.
3. Install fans, filters or lights.
It has been stated that COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets that can remain in the air and drift around with air currents. Although there is no proven solution to address this threat effectively, some buildings have evaluated installing fans and filters to control air flow and UV lights to disinfect the spaces.
4. Limit touchpoints.
To combat infected surfaces, some building owners have limited the need for physical contact by applying an antimicrobial film on the elevator buttons, using touchless technology, or even using security or a dispatcher to control the elevator for riders. At minimum, most buildings are providing masks, hand sanitizers and wipes to provide protection in shared spaces.
5. Stay on top of maintenance.
Because buildings have remained open at some capacity during the pandemic, elevators are expected to be able to perform day-to-day operations without issues. This is a great time to review the maintenance records and ensure all work is up to date.
6. Renovate/repair during slow times.
If elevators are not used as frequently due to a lower building occupancy, it could be an ideal opportunity to complete preventative maintenance, repairs or upgrades. Elevator service providers are essential workers and ready to work.
7. Protect your investment.
The costs of operating an elevator building are expensive, but any downtime, repairs and non-compliance fees can add up quickly. Building owners and property managers can review the contract for their elevator service provider and ensure they are getting the services and items they are paying for. It is a great time to review the details of your contract and verify compliancy.
These steps can not only help a building operate efficiently and safely, but also may help you save money while weathering COVID-19. As a reminder, always check with your federal, state and local officials on all COVID-19 requirements for vertical transportation operations. Why worry about your elevators when you can get to know them, visit www.theelevatorconsultant.com to request a copy of The Elevator Playbook, and for more information on how The Elevator Consultants can help you with you elevator management needs, please visit www.theelevatorconsultant.com