Elevator Maintenance Audit: A Simple Guide

Elevator maintenance audit

Elevator maintenance audits improve reliability and reduce cost.  This quick guide will help you perform an internal elevator audit.

Conducting an elevator maintenance audit is a great way to plan and track toward improved elevator reliability. Before hiring an expert elevator consultant for an elevator audit, an internal audit can be conducted immediately and at no cost.  

​Many building owners and managers think of elevator reliability as a stressful and complicated predicament that they have no control over. They often feel that they have no visibility over their elevator maintenance provider. However, they overlook the fact that with the right plan, resources, and data, an internal elevator maintenance audit can prove to be effective in scoring the elevator maintenance performed in their building, and can create critical, actionable insights to partner with your elevator maintenance company to decrease elevator failure.  The best part is, an internal audit is performed by you – at no additional cost. ​

Building staff can follow five steps to perform their own internal elevator maintenance audit efficiently:

  1. Define your elevator items  (including contracts, test results, equipment)
  2. Assess possible areas of failure
  3. Review current elevator performance
  4. Prioritize based on cost
  5. Formulate elevator strategy

Elevator Inspection vs. Elevator Maintenance Audit

Before we review each step of the audit, you should understand the differences between an elevator inspection and an elevator maintenance audit. 

An elevator inspection is a requirement and incredibly valuable for the safety of your passengers, but an elevator inspection does not focus on reliability and execution of your maintenance contract by your elevator service company.  Elevator inspections only concentrate on specific safety-related items and the corresponding elevator code. 

An elevator maintenance audit focuses on elevator performance, contract execution, and elevator reliability.  An elevator maintenance audit, like an inspection, also pinpoints safety issues, but the primary purpose is to locate areas of improvement to enhance your elevator performance and improve business outcomes for your building. 

Elevator maintenance audits are performed by seasoned professional elevator consultants who have all the appropriate tools and software to conduct a thorough audit.  Elevator consultants have the advantage of understanding all elevator systems and are trained to spot gaps in elevator maintenance, in both the mechanical and electrical aspects of your elevator systems.

Although it’s beneficial to hire an outside elevator consulting firm to perform an audit, building owners and managers should perform internal maintenance audits on a regular basis.  Other than your time spent, an internal audit is entirely free. 

Here are five simple, zero cost, steps you can take to conduct an internal elevator maintenance audit:

elevator audit

1. Define All Elevator Items to Audit (including contracts, test results, equipment and more)

Your first job is to define the scope of your audit.  It would help if you wrote down a list of all your elevator assets.  Elevator assets include the obvious things like individual elevators but should also include all things related to the elevator like phones, phone lines, the elevator contract, a previous inspection reports, safety testing results, and elevator maintenance history data. 

After you complete a long list of elevator assets, you need to define the items you can handle and the items you can’t handle.  This will help you segment the items into buckets of which you’ll audit and what you won’t audit.. It is unreasonable to expect a building owner or management staff to audit everything – items like ride quality (PMT), elevator pits, hoistway equipment, and electrical aspects require years of elevator training, proper tools, and safety gear.  Some of the items on your list may be best handled by an elevator consultant. 

Define the items which you will audit and then put all of your focus on those items. ​

2. Assess Possible Areas of Failure

Next, take your list of elevator assets and write down a corresponding failure that could happen with each item.  

This can range from an elevator phone just not working, to an elevator company missing an annual safety test which is included in your contract and required by code.   Any possible event of failure should be considered, as long as the failure can cost your business money, time, or impact tenant satisfaction. 

Here’s a list of common failures you should consider while working on this step:

Elevator failure frequency:  
The most obvious, and probably the reason you’re reading this article, is for the frequency at which your elevator is failing.  Is the elevator failing more than you would consider reasonable?

Elevator repair and response time:
Do your elevator failures get addressed quickly?  Does your company have a reasonable handle on the issues and ability to fix them correctly?

Elevator maintenance frequency:
Does your elevator get the dedicated maintenance hours it needs?  Is most time on site for elevator failure? Are issues chased instead of prevented?  

Elevator safety test pass or fail:
Are your safety tests and tags current?  Did a safety test fail from an item that is included during maintenance?

Obsolete components:
Many elevator contracts exclude obsolete components.  Does your elevator have any parts which are no longer available?  

Elevator maintenance contract:
In addition to the frequency of failure and response time, your elevator contract should include additional performance-related items.  Does your provider perform to all of these requirements? Are specific performance requirements included in your contract?

Code changes:
Is elevator safety code changing in your area?  Will you be required to upgrade a portion of your elevator system?

Ride quality:
An advanced ride quality report from an elevator consultant will include reports from state of the art ride quality tools.  However, an individual can still ride the elevator and feel vibrations and listen for noises. Does your elevator sound and feel smooth?

Emergency elevator phone:
Have you tested your phone recently? Does the phone dial out to a safety line who can immediately identify the address of your elevator?  Are you overpaying for phone service and is there an opportunity to consolidate other phone lines in your building?

3. Review Current Elevator Performance

Now that you have your list of possible failures, it’s time to evaluate the performance in each area.  Without multiple buildings, it can be challenging to create an average or an acceptable score for some of your failure areas.   Using your tolerance level as a benchmark for evaluation is a good start. You can also use Elevator Score <LINK> for free to determine your elevator’s performance scores with similar buildings across the USA. 

Grading elevator service in your building, under each possible failure area, will be invaluable during the next step. 

Get Your Free Elevator Score
Wondering how your elevator performance compares to the rest of the USA? 
Get Elevator Score

4.  Prioritize Based on Cost

This step is where an internal audit becomes most valuable.  As a building owner, you will have the most in-depth knowledge of the impact of failure. 

Take your list of possible failures and weigh the potential cost of each failure and the probability that failure will occur.  During your prioritization it’s essential to step back and look at additional factors:

Elevator History:  Has any of these elevator failures happened before?  How frequently?

Equipment Useful Life:   Each equipment type is known for different failure points, and at a particular time.  What’s the ordinary lifespan for a specific component? 

Elevator Safety and Compliance:  Is there anything you can do to improve the safety in your building?  
New technology and Trends:  What are other buildings doing to buy their way out of unreliable elevators?

5. Formulate Elevator Strategies

The final step of your elevator maintenance audit is simple – use your prioritized list of failures and write down a list of elevator improvements or best practices to eliminate the issues.  Present your list to your elevator maintenance company and work with them to build a plan for each possible failure. This list should become your to-do list until elevator reliability is restored to an acceptable level. 

elevator reliability audit

Your Elevator Maintenance Audit is Complete

You now have tools for an internal elevator maintenance audit.  Keep in mind that each additional audit will be better than the last. Measuring your elevator success and failure is the only way to grade performance honestly.

By continuing to improve your audit methods, and keeping consistent audit intervals, you’ll build a reputation with your elevator maintenance company – one that demands consistent elevator performance improvement. 

Performing an Advanced Elevator Maintenance Audit

ElevatorLab uses the smartest tools built by the brightest elevator experts, elevator consultants,  and software engineers. Through our proprietary data, ElevatorLab is changing how building owners navigate elevator projects and improve business results.  Our advanced elevator audit will help you improve elevator reliability and reduce cost. 

Get in touch  for help with anything from a quick, on-demand, review to a full-service elevator maintenance audit. 

What type of problems are you trying to fix?  Comment below. 

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