Mitigating Water Damage to your Elevators
From the Desk of John Morales
Over the years, VDA has been involved with Several Water Damage Situations where we have saved our
customers a significant amount of money. When you encounter a water leak, VDA suggests that you
take swift and immediate action to implement the following, as quickly as possible:
Safety First – secure any elevator exposed to water. BE AWARE OF ELECTRICAL HAZARDS! Confirm if
anyone is inside the elevator before you safely shut it down.
Divert water away from elevator “Hall 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.
Photographs – We cannot emphasize this enough. A client should insist on pictures of any component
exposed to water.
Documentation – Record what was happening. Were all elevators in service? Was passenger traffic-
heavy, or were all cars parked in the lobby or above the water intrusion? Take notes from Witnesses
including the Elevator Mechanic.
VDA can help you with the following:
- Identify what elevator equipment was actually damaged by the water.
- Detect if those components are actually prone to damage from water. Some parts are not.
- Review proposals to verify completeness and that there is no price gouging taking place.
- Develop a realistic Scope of Work and Timeline for the performance of the repair.
An example of what typically happens:
- A water pipe on the 10th floor of a 20 story building breaks.
- The 10th floor begins to flood, and water flows out into the lobby where the elevator is located.
- Water starts to cascade down the front wall of the elevator shaft.
- Doors, Door Locks, Hangers, Tracks, Closers typically get covered with water on lower floors.
- Water splashes on the Car Top as the elevator passes.
- Hoist Ropes, Detector Edge, Door Operator, Fan, Cab Interior, Flooring, Push Buttons all can be
- Pits fill up with water and damage pit equipment.
- The Elevator Contractor then shows up with an Open-Ended Proposal for “Time and Material” or
one for a ridiculous sum of money and insists that you sign it before they will begin assessing the
situation. Be cautious on what you sign and always put a cap on the price.
In some cases, the damage can be excessive. Occasionally the damage is only minimal. It takes a trained
eye and years of industry knowledge to really determine the extent of the damage.
Let VDA help you navigate this difficult situation. VDA Elevator Consultants can work with Insurance
Investigators and Elevator Companies to reduce costs and accelerate repairs. Our Elevator Professional
will help you avoid unnecessary costs, and make sure that your system is returned to the reliable
condition that you desire.