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Dangerously Old Elevators

A while back, we published this blog about old elevators in major Canadian cities leading to unanticipated repair and replacement costs for strata corporations. The causes are multi-fold; with so many elevators reaching the end of their life, and an increase in use due to rising populations, specifically among the elderly, elevator technicians have not been able to keep up with demand, leaving long wait times for repairs and many people stranded.

New research however is citing additional repercussions such as injuries and even death due to faulty machinery. As elevators become older, they start to have leveling issues, mechanical problems, and electrical malfunctions.

Some examples of these are when the elevator does not stop flush with the floor and causes people to trip in and out of the elevator. Other users have been caught between the car and door, crushing people and resulting in amputation. Electrical fires are combusting spontaneously, some causing minor damage to wiring, and others causing major damage to properties. As well, the unexplained loss of hydraulic oil is causing some elevators to stop or drop suddenly, leaving people wary of dangerous and old elevators.

The Technical Standards and Safety Authority, which regulates elevators in Ontario, says that the number of elevator related incidents has more than doubled between 2011 and 2016 and continues to rise annually by a rate of 14%. Over 1200 people have claimed injuries due to faulty elevators, 69 individuals have been permanently injured, and there have been 6 deaths reported.

While faulty, old elevators are certainly a concern, it’s also important to note that many of the injuries reported are caused by “user behavior” – meaning that people are either distracted and being struck, or purposefully trying to prevent the doors from closing and then getting hurt. While prevention of these types of injuries seems easily achievable, it does not eradicate the need to perform routine maintenance to ensure the full life span of an elevator or to ensure there are adequate reserve funds for replacement.

Normac’s Certified Reserve Planners and Engineering Professionals can help you by preparing you for these costs with a Depreciation Report. For more information on Depreciation Reports & Reserve Fund Studies, email or call us at 604-221-8258.

To read the original article by Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press, click here.

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