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New Elevator Regs Would Shift Responsibility

Extra load. The New York City Council is mulling proposed revisions to the Building Code that would place responsibility for periodic elevator inspections squarely on the shoulders of building owners, including co-op and condo boards. The proposed changes, which would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022, were prompted by a recent audit by the state comptroller’s office that revealed inadequate reporting of elevator safety violations by third-party agencies subcontracted by the Department of Buildings.


Added costs. “We haven’t gotten a lot of clarity on the exact requirements,” says Joe Caracappa, the president of the Sierra Consulting Group, an elevator consultancy. But if the proposed revisions are adopted, he points out, co-op and condo boards will be required to contract with an approved elevator company — which cannot be affiliated with the one handling their testing, repairs and maintenance — to carry out the inspections at the board’s expense. The new iteration of the periodic inspections will have to be completed within three months of the current annual elevator inspections. The results will then have to be filed within 14 days of the date of the inspection, and all defects must be corrected within 90 days.

In case of emergency. There is one small upside, however. Boards can take advantage of the new inspections to determine if upgrades must be made in order to comply with the changes in the city’s elevator brake code before the 2027 deadline. “If you have an elevator with a single plunger braking system,” Caracappa explains, “you will be required to either replace it with a double plunger brake; install a rope gripper, which is a device that grabs the cable to stop an elevator if there is a mechanical or electrical failure; or upgrade the elevator system completely.” Installing a double plunger brake or a rope gripper will cost about $30,000 per elevator, while a full modernization could run $300,000 or more.

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