Q: Where is Tower Elevator located?
A: Our office is located in Brooklyn, NY.
Q: What geographical areas does Tower serve?
A: Our primary focus is the 5 boroughs of NYC (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island). However, we do travel outside of this geographical area as needed to service our customers. We do not charge travel expenses to Long Island, New Jersey, Connecticut or Upstate New York. Outside of those areas, travel expenses may apply when on-site visits are required.
Q: What is an elevator consultant?
A: An elevator consultant is an expert typically hired by a facility owner/manager, developer, architect, or general contractor to work on their behalf in regard to the vertical transportation in their building or facility. Elevator consultants typically have expertise in all areas of vertical transportation projects including design, construction, maintenance, and modernization of all types and vintages of equipment.
Q: Do you do escalators and other devices?
A: While the industry term is typically an elevator consultant, it is common practice that an elevator consultant can also be a consultant for escalators, dumbwaiters, freight lifts, platform lifts, man lifts, and pretty much any other piece of equipment designed to move people or material up and down.
Q: What does an elevator consultant do?
A: Vertical transportation equipment such as elevators, escalators, lifts and dumbwaiters are actually extremely specialized and effectively managing them requires expert knowledge of the equipment and the industry surrounding it. That’s where elevator consultants come in to play.
An elevator consultant advocates for you and your building investment when it comes to ensuring the safety, operability and efficiency of your equipment. Elevator and escalator consultants help buildings stay on top of regularly scheduled maintenance, which often means helping ensure the maintenance service is performed by qualified elevator companies. As infrastructure ages and the elevator industry changes, buildings are experiencing missed maintenance, costly repairs, downtime, premature modernizations, extensive deferred maintenance and even tenant or user complaints.
An elevator consultant represents the building owner and property managers to protect their elevators and escalators in the building. An elevator consultant will answer all the buildings questions and provide a strategy to meet the goals and needs of the building. The Elevator Consultants makes that promise to its customers and promises to help you protect your investment.
Q: Why hire an elevator consultant?
A: Elevator consultants are experts in their field and have gained this level of expertise by working directly in the vertical transportation industry for many years. They know the ins and outs of the industry and provide you affordable access to years of highly technical and code related training that would typically require you to have a full-time employee or spend years going through related training programs. An elevator consultant can save you from making mistakes that could cost significantly more than an elevator consultant and allow you to have work performed the right way the first time.
We constantly hear after a project that clients wish they had hired us sooner or on a previous project because of how smooth an elevator or escalator projects goes when using our consulting services. We know the industry, the costs, the markups, and the schedules for nearly every type of project.
Q: What are the most common reasons to hire an elevator consultant?
1- Maintenance Goals:
One of the most common reasons to hire an elevator consultant is to perform a maintenance evaluation on their equipment. This can include a full diagnosis of the elevator, how well it has been maintained, the life expectancy of the unit and future capital planning expenses that might be required to keep the units at optimal performance.
2- Maintenance Contracts:
Elevator consultants can put together comprehensive maintenance contracts and plans for your building or facility. An elevator consultant will typically evaluate your building type, occupancy, age of equipment, and current/future needs from your elevators and escalators. An elevator consultant will typically work for you to negotiate with the maintenance provider of your choosing to establish the best partnership. Elevator companies are constantly changing, and it is important to put in place a contract that holds everyone accountable for the safe and reliable operation of the vertical transportation in a building.
3- Modernization Projects:
Elevator consultants are probably most commonly hired for the task of completing a modernization project on behalf of the owner. An elevator or escalator is nearing the end of its expected life and it is time to bring the elevator or escalator up to current code, modern day design and optimal performance. An elevator consultant will go through a plan with the owner and find out the needs and wants of the building in order to put together a comprehensive scope for the work to be performed by an elevator contractor. This can include everything from a cab interior upgrade to a full mechanical and aesthetics upgrade package. The elevator consultant will typically coordinate the bids from contractors and evaluate the most responsive bids in order to provide a comparison to the owner for a decision.
A modernization project can be extremely difficult for a building to go through because they are typically performed in occupied buildings. So, disruption to a building can be incredibly inconvenient and communication is one of our strongest assets, which is why we will walk you through every step in the process and keep you well informed on progress or your modernization project.
4- Construction Projects:
Elevator consultants for construction projects are typically hired by either the developer, the architect, or the general contract. Depending on whom the elevator consultant is working for can depend on the services that are offered. Overall, an elevator consultant can evaluate how many elevators or escalators a building may need, put together a scope for construction, provide available options for unique building designs, evaluate the performance of a contractor during or after installation, or testing of the equipment.
An elevator consultant that is hired during one of the construction phases require a very unique set of skills that is not typical of most elevator consultants. Most elevator consultants have a background in maintenance or modernization of elevator and are not necessarily familiar with the process for construction or available elevator designs. At Tower Elevator, we have decades of experience in the construction of elevators and escalators and have worked on hundreds of millions of dollars of escalator and elevator portions of the construction process
Q: Can you provide an audit of my building’s elevators (or other devices)?
A: Consultants are often hired to do a thorough review of an elevator’s performance and the maintenance it has been receiving. If you have had minimal problems with your elevator, trust your elevator mechanic and see your mechanic on a frequent basis there should not be a reason to hire a consultant. However, if you have multiple elevators with multiple traps and shutdowns over at least a 6 month period of time, and can’t get a good response from your elevator maintenance company, you may want to hire an elevator consultant to review your elevators.
Q: How does an audit of my building’s elevators (or other devices) work?
A: Typically, they will send a consultant or subcontracted consultant on site to do a thorough inspection. The consultant will check all the preventative maintenance that has (or has not) been completed. They will review standard performance of the elevator to the manufacture’s specifications. For example, they will check the door opening and door closing speeds to see if they align with what is recommended. You can require your elevator maintenance company to adjust these parameters.
After the inspection a written report is shared with the building owner and the report is given to the elevator maintenance company. Typically, there will be low/high priority items and a window (30-90 days) for the elevator company to fix the issues. Always give the elevator company some time to give their feedback on what the consultants wrote up. If they do not respond, they should remedy the issues. It will be the building owners and/or the consultant’s responsibility to make sure the elevator company fixes any issues. Sometimes this process is not a one and done. Instead a building owner will hire a consultant to do bi-annual reviews.
Q: What is normal wear and tear by contract definition?
A: Generally speaking, any repairs needed resulting from normal day-to-day use of your elevator are covered in your maintenance agreement. Things that would not be covered would be; acts of God – for example, flooded pits and damage due to storms etc., vandalism, broken parts due to delivery men/move ins, floods and damage caused by other building systems, and issues resulting from overloading. If you have any questions about what may or may not be covered in your maintenance contract, it is best to ask your elevator company.
Q: How do I know when it is time to modernize my elevators?
A: The quick answer is that your elevators will tell you when it is time, and if they don’t, your tenants will. In reality, modern elevators typically require modernization about every 20-25 years. However, each system and each building is different. Tower Elevator offers a variety of modernization solutions for elevators and escalator that can help improve your equipment’s reliability, performance, and aesthetics. Feel free to give us a call with the specifics of your building and we can give you a rough idea right over the phone whether the time has come to consider modernization.
Q: Can Tower conduct a traffic analysis for my building and recommend a modernization or upgrade for my elevators and escalators?
A: Yes, Tower Elevator can analyze the traffic in your building(s) and recommend the ideal solution.
Q: I’m not happy with my current service provider, but I have several months left on my service contract. How can I change service companies?
A: It is vitally important, as a building owner, that you regularly review your service contract. Be aware of the limitations, and the requirements for cancelling. Many elevator service contracts are long-term and difficult to cancel. Often, larger companies require 90 days cancellation notice in the form of a certified letter prior to the contract end date, or your contract automatically renews. We can work with you to determine if the contract you are under can be cancelled, and what next steps to take.
Q: What types of inspection must my elevator (or other device) go through?
NYC building owners are required to conduct an annual basic, no-load test called a “Category 1 Test” (formerly known as your Local Law 10/81 elevator inspection), and a full-load inspection test every five years called a “Category 5 Test” (formerly known as your 5-year safety test).
Q: What is a Category 1 Inspection?
A: The Department of Buildings requires all elevator devices to undergo an annual inspection called a Category 1 test. Owners and managers are responsible for hiring an approved elevator inspection agency to perform the test, as well as an unaffiliated third party approved agency to witness the inspection. Category 1 tests must be performed and submitted to the DOB by December 31st of each year.
Q: What is a Category 5 Inspection?
A: Depending on the type of device, some also require a Category 5 full load inspection test every five years. Category 5 tests are due at the end of the month in which they were last performed.
For example, if a Category 5 report was last filed in March 2012, it would be due again at the end of March 2017. When Category 1 and Category 5 tests line up for a device, owners may choose to perform both types of inspections at the same time and file the results on the same ELV3 form.
Q: Whose responsibility is it to hire the 3rd party inspector to perform my annual inspection?
A: The property owner is expected to make arrangements with a 3rd party inspector of their choice. The elevator service company cannot hire a 3rd party inspector for the owner, as this is considered to be a conflict of interest by the NYC DOB.
Q: What are the fees for filing a late elevator inspection?
Inspections must be filed with the Department of Buildings within 60 days after the test date, or correction date if a correction. Reports filed after this period will be marked late, and subject to monthly late fees:
Category 1 Annual Inspection: $150/month
Affirmation of Correction: $150/month
Category 5 Inspection: $250/month
You cannot perform an annual inspection within less than 6 months of the previous year’s annual inspection. Also, while you can file inspections late with penalty, you may not perform inspections late. That is, you cannot perform an elevator inspection in January 2020 and file it for the 2019 cycle. Failing to perform the test within the appropriate cycle will lead to the full penalty, applied in the form of an administratively issued violation.
Q: I received a surprise visit from a NYC DOB inspector and was issued a violation. What do I do?
A: PVT/DOB Violations issued by a contracted agency inspector must be corrected within thirty (30) days from the date of the violation. To dismiss these violations, an Affirmation of Correction report must be submitted to the Department. Tower Elevator can work with you to have the corrected issue(s) inspected, prepare the dismissal paperwork and file with the NYC DOB.
Environmental Control Board (ECB) Violations are issued by the Department for Failure to Maintain your device. To resolve ECB Violations, you must correct the violating condition and certify the correction with the Department’s Administrative Enforcement Unit. If you dispute the violation you must attend an ECB hearing to contest the violation. Ultimately, the violating condition must be corrected. Tower Elevator can attend any hearing on your behalf to protest the violations, prepare any required paperwork and file with the NYC DOB.