Everything You Wanted to Know About Condo Elevators

Over the past several years, Toronto has become known for its high-rise development, being dubbed a “high-rise boomtown” and “North America’s new high-rise metropolis.” In 2012 alone, Toronto saw nearly 150 high-rise buildings under construction, while the next runner-up was New York with a mere 74 buildings.

­­Looking at the current year, the trend continues, with Toronto having 50% more high-rises currently in development than the Big Apple; these buildings also share a common trait: 92% of them are residential. As Canada’s largest city continues to grow, more and more people are taking to the sky as they look for ways to expand housing options, and seeking out the assistance of condominium management companies throughout Toronto.

This growth in housing is encouraging for the local economy and real estate sector, but it also brings to mind new challenges. Specifically, how are people making it to the tops of these buildings and then safely back down again?

Elevators are the natural response to this question; climbing dozens or even hundreds of flights of stairs is out of the question for most people, for time constraint reasons even if physical fitness is not an issue.

Elevator Safety Issues

Despite their prevalence and relative safety (problems usually only occur in 1 in every 12 million elevator rides, and the vast majority of problems are usually minor, such as the doors not opening), many people have fears associated with elevators. To be sure, elevators are responsible for what would otherwise be a very dangerous endeavour: raising and lowering people across hundreds and sometimes thousands of feet. However, with the right condo management services, high-rise condo buildings can ensure that residents and guests are safe when using these important vehicles. It is primarily the responsibility of the condominium management companies in Toronto, as directed by their condo boards, to comply with all elevator licensing and servicing requirements under Ontario law.

Elevator problems are some of the most frustrating that residents can deal with, as they can cause delays or even prevent some residents from accessing their homes altogether until they are fixed. In particularly bad situations, sometimes repairs can even be delayed, leading to long waits to get elevators fixed due to time and resource constraints.

Elevator Inspection & Licensing Requirements

Even with these resource constraints, elevators in Ontario are subject to regular inspection under the watchful eye of the Technical Standards & Safety Authority (TSSA). This requires that all buildings with elevators have their equipment evaluated periodically to ensure safe and normal operation. How frequently these inspections occur depends on various risk factors, such as the age and condition of the equipment.

In addition to required inspection periods, elevators in Ontario are subject to licensing requirements. The condominium management company is required to ensure all elevators in the building are licensed and up-to-date before they are operational. The license should typically be posted in the elevator itself, although some buildings make the licenses available elsewhere in the building in order to avoid vandalism. If you are concerned, you should communicate with your property manager to obtain access to the elevator licenses applicable to your building so you can verify they are up-to-date.


Dealing With Elevator Issues?


 What To Do In case Of Elevator Problems

When problems with an elevator do occur, there are a few things to do, depending on the nature of the issue. To learn best practices when maintenance problems arise, ICC® offers a free eBook for download so that condo residents and board members and understand what condominium management companies in Toronto should do.

For specific elevator problems, take each of the following steps, where applicable:

  • If you are personally stuck on the elevator, then it will be equipped with an alarm button, phone button, or a handset. Use this system to obtain assistance; never attempt to force open an elevator door and crawl out. You should wait for personnel to assist you in exiting the elevator safely, or you could subject yourself to serious injury. Only a certified elevator mechanic or emergency rescue personnel can help you if you become trapped.
  • If you become trapped on an elevator but are uninjured and released within a reasonable amount of time, then you usually have reason to make a complaint with your condominium management company. They should then investigate and repair the elevator in question.
  • If you have suffered an injury due to an unsafe elevator, e.g. due to a sudden stop or other event, then you have suffered what the TSSA dubs an “incident.” These should be reported to both the property manager and the TSSA.

Elevator Incidents

Elevator Problems & IssuesPrimarily, elevator incidents are limited to inconveniences more than serious injuries, which is impressive given the frequent use of these devices. In general, an individual elevator will carry up to 20,000 people per year. In North America alone, there are up to 20 billion passenger tips made on elevators per year. For those who regularly use elevators, they typically take 4 trips per day on an average of 250 days each year.

Breakdowns & Repairs

When inconveniences and breakdowns occur, condominium management companies in Toronto can take precautions to minimize resident disruptions. Signs notifying residents of the issue should be posted so that residents know the problem is being addressed. When long lines are starting to form, it is also a good idea to send out an email or text message to all residents so they can prepare for the wait.


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If problems are starting to occur regularly, it may be time to evaluate the condo’s elevator maintenance contract and see if a change is in order. The property manager should also be working with a company that has technicians available on nights and weekends in order to ensure problems can be resolved in a timely manner.

Conclusion

Communication in this area is key; residents can avoid significant frustration if they are notified in a timely manner when an outage is occurring. Property management companies should be proactive in their approaches to elevator problems and should follow carefully laid-out maintenance and inspection plans to ensure the safety of their residents.


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