Guidelines for Damaged Elevators

October 14, 2021

From the Desk of Rob McNeill, VDA Portland QEI#6359

Guidelines for Water Damage or Flooding to my Elevators 

Water can cause damage to your Elevator and Escalator Equipment.  The damage is almost never covered by your Elevator Maintenance Agreement. It can reduce the remaining life expectancy of your elevator equipment. Do you know what to do to protect yourself, the riding public and your investment?  Guidelines for damaged elevators can help work through this issue.

Here are some simple “Water Damage Rules of Thumb” that may be helpful:

    1. Safety First – secure any elevator exposed to water at the highest landing to keep equipment below the elevator out of the water. BE AWARE OF ELECTRICAL HAZARDS! If the water intrusion was in a machine room. Have the elevator maintenance company lock and tag out elevators with water damage to the controllers. DANGER!!! WHEN IN DOUBT, CALL FOR HELP!!! NEVER ASSUME!!!
    2. Divert water away from elevator door entrances if possible. Elevators are often low points in a lobby. Limiting the amount of water that falls into a hoistway can reduce the damage.
  • Documentation – Record what is happening.  Were all elevators in service? Was passenger traffic-heavy, or were all cars parked in the lobby or above the water intrusion?
    1. Photographs – We cannot emphasize this enough. A client should insist on pictures of any component exposed to water.
    2. Take notes from Witnesses including the Elevator Mechanic.
  • Time is of the essence to request a VDA Elevator Consultant assistance in reviewing your on-site conditions.  Don’t wait for days or weeks, as this can make it difficult to determine what components were exposed to water. The sooner the better.
  • Request an itemized Repair Proposal with “Material and Labor” fully detailed, identifying material, hours, and billing rate.
  • Carefully review the proposed Repair Work to be performed.
      1. Is the scope complete?
      2. Will there be an opportunity for additional proposals down the road?
      3. Is the proposed component actually susceptible to water damage? Not all components are.
      4. Was there evidence that the component was exposed, or is the Elevator Company assuming it was exposed?
      5. Are the proposed labor hours considered reasonable for the scope of the repair?
      6. Is the schedule considered reasonable and efficiently planned?
      7. Is Corrosion/Rust mitigation included in the repair? Often the water in the pit will cause long term corrosion concerns to pit equipment and steel elements. Is the elevator company taking measures to dry and prevent future corrosion such as cleaning rails or painting steel in the pit?
  • Will my Elevator Equipment coverage be affected under my current Maintenance Agreement, because of the Water Intrusion?
VDA Consultants are professionals at helping you navigate this difficult situation. VDA Elevator Consultants can work with Insurance Investigators and Elevator Companies to reduce costs, accelerate repairs, and get your elevators up and running as soon as possible. Our Elevator Professional will help you avoid unnecessary costs, and make sure that your system is returned to the reliable condition that you desire swiftly.  Give us a call. We will be glad to help!