New York City is famous for being highly populated and has many high-rise buildings. There are plenty of flickering residential towers from the boroughs of New York ( Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and The Bronx ). Elevators are an essential part of day to day life of the New Yorkers. For the building owners, it is crucial to make sure that the elevators are well maintained by conducting regular Preventative Maintenance.
New York City has more than 70,000 elevators which makes this a regular part of our lives. But using this machine the wrong way is dangerous that most people did not know about due to the advancement of technology nowadays.
Generally, elevators are a secure and dependable mode of transportation for your tenants. But as time goes by, all the mechanical systems can develop a severe problem. For instance, there would be costly emergency repairs, excessive downtimes, code violations, and legal liabilities. And those problems can be avoided by having regular maintenance.
Elevator Inspection and Testing
Elevators located in the five boroughs of New York must undergo inspection and testing twice a year in compliance with the NYC Building Codes. A contracted inspection agency on the Department of Buildings ( DOB ) side conducts the annual inspections.
These are commonly random inspections, and the owners must allow the inspector to complete the inspection required. If the owner does not allow the inspector to gain access, the owner must post a sign located in a visible area with information about rescheduling the inspection.
Elevator Test Category.
Category Testing is conducted and witnessed by accredited independent third-party agencies duly licensed by the DOB. The building owner is the one responsible for hiring these inspection agencies.
- CATEGORY 1 ( CAT-1 ) – This is a no-load safety test conducted between January 1st and December 31st each year. If defects are perceived during the inspection, they must be corrected and certified through an Affirmation of Correction ( ELV-29 ). It is the same form being used to correct Elevator PVT ( E-Elevator ) violations. Corrections of defects must be within 120 days of the original inspection date and must be filed within 60 days before the correction date.
- CATEGORY 5 ( CAT-5 ) – This is the same test as CAT-1, but it includes test weights to check the full load and rated speed to test the full speed operations of buffers and tripping speed and the break and slip traction ability. It is performed every five years from the date of installation. CAT-5 test takes a minimum of five hours, so it is best to make an advance advisory of the service interruption for the residents. The result of the test must be file within 60 days of the date of inspection. If defects are found, defects must be corrected within 120 days of the original date of inspection and must file an Affirmation of Correction ( ELV-29 ) within 60 days from the date the defect has been corrected.
Violations and Penalties.
- EVCAT1 – An administrative violation issued for failure to file a CATEGORY 1 ( CAT-1 ) annual elevator inspection. These violations do not change and are issued administratively and no accompanying copies. The penalty for an EVCAT1 is $3,000 per device that is noncompliant. Payment of total civil liability with the Elevator Division at DOB will resolve this violation.
- EVCAT5 – An administrative violation issued for failure to file a CATEGORY 5 ( CAT-5 ) load-bearing test. Same as EVCAT1, EVCAT5 violations do not change and are issued administratively, and no accompanying copies. The penalty for an EVCAT1 is $5,000 per device that is noncompliant. Payment of total civil liability with the Elevator Division at DOB will resolve this violation.
Disputes and Payments.
- CATEGORY 1 ( CAT-1 ) To file a dispute, provide evidence of the appropriate, filed, and complete Category 1 test together with the canceled check copy for the inspection fee within 30 days of issuance of the violation to the Elevator Division of DOB.
- CATEGORY 5 ( CAT-5 ) To file a dispute, provide evidence of the appropriate, filed, and complete Category 5 test together with the canceled check copy for the inspection fee within 30 days of issuance of the violation to the Elevator Division of DOB. Another way is providing proof that the non-compliant device does not require the CAT-5 test to the DOB.
As of June 2020, all payments for penalties must be paid online via DOB NOW Public Portal and the civil penalties.
Failure to file inspections within 60 days after the test or correction date will mark as late and with corresponding late fees. CATEGORY 1 ( CAT-1 ) will be $150/month; for CATEGORY 5 ( CAT-5 ), it will be $250/month, while for the affirmation of correction will be $150/month.
A present maintenance contract with an approved elevator agency with the availability to conduct elevator repair, replacement, and maintenance that the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) requires is necessary if you are a building owner.
The building custodian and department must have readily available information of the contracted agency’s name, address, and telephone number.
According to the NYC Construction Code, maintenance contracts should be included in the Maintenance Control Program ( MCP ) that comply with the maintenance protocol define by the elevator manufacturer. A design professional that the building owner hires can also establish MCP. In addition, a maintenance log that has detailed dates and descriptions of maintenance conducted on the device is required and must remain on-site together with the MCP.
In a multi-family unit, residential building, or condo apartment building, the owners must notify the residents if it is out of service for two or more hours or if there would be a planned construction.
If the owner files for an application for modernization, they must post a notice at least ten days before starting work. There should be a specific type of work and the start and end dates of the elevator maintenance.
For conducting elevator works, the owner must obtain all the necessary permits. An NYC licensed Elevator Director or a registered design professional must file an Elevator Application (ELV1) to the DOB as the applicant representing the owner to obtain an elevator permit.
Elevators have become essential in multi-story commercial and residential buildings. Appropriate Elevator inspection and maintenance stimulate safety for users and the long-term use of the device. Overall having a well-maintained elevator in a rental building or condominium encourage more people into renting due to ease of stress and minor inconvenience on the part of the tenants.