New York City Considers Changes to Elevator Inspection Requirements

The New York City Council is looking into proposed revisions to the Building Code that would place responsibility for routine elevator inspections squarely on the shoulders of building owners including condo and co-op boards. According to a report in Habitat Magazine, a recent audit by the state Comptroller’s office prompted the proposed changes and its effective date of Jan. 1, 2022. The audit had revealed inadequate reporting of elevator safety violations by third-party agencies, which were subcontracted by the Department of Buildings (DOB). Safety violations have the potential to result in catastrophic elevator accidents.

What the New Rules Mean

If these proposed revisions are adopted, 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, repair and maintenance, to carry out the inspections at the board’s expense. The periodic inspections must be completed within three months of the current annual elevator inspections, under the new rules. The results must be filed within 14 days of the date of inspection and if there are any defects, they must be corrected within 90 days.

Boards can also take advantage of the new inspections to determine if they need to make upgrades to comply with the changes in the city’s elevator brake code before its 2027 deadline. If buildings have an elevator with a single plunger brake system, they must replace it with a double plunger brake; install a rope gripper, which is a device that grabs the cable to stop the elevator in the event of a mechanical or electrical failure; or upgrade the elevator system completely. Upgrading to a double plunger brake or rope gripper may cost about $30,000 per elevator and the cost of a full modernization may run as high as $300,000.

The Need for Modernization

Elevator experts tell Habitat Magazine that building owners, property managers or boards may not have a choice but to modernize their elevators. For instance, an elevator’s older controller may not be designed to accept a rope gripper and the upgrade is not just a mechanical piece of equipment, but also an electrical piece of equipment.

Elevator consultants have been warning boards about the 2027 deadline for a few years now. Earlier, building owners/managers were required to install a different elevator safety mechanism — door-lock monitors — by Jan. 1, 2020. This was something that elevators installed before 2009 did not have.

At the time, boards were faced with a similar situation — upgrade an older system at $20,000 per elevator or modernize the entire system. Boards that went for complete modernization at the time have likely taken care of outdated brakes. Now, if the City Council ends up approving the current revisions to the Building Code, condo and co-op boards will still need to spend money for the periodic inspections.

Contacting an Experienced Lawyer

Injured victims of elevator or escalator accidents can file a premises liability lawsuit against at-fault property owners and/or managing agents, etc. and seek compensation for damages including, but not limited to, medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, hospitalization, permanent injuries, disabilities, past and future pain and suffering, etc. Those who have lost loved ones in elevator accidents may be able to file wrongful death lawsuits against the negligent (careless) parties seeking compensation for their losses as well.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an elevator or escalator accident or suffered injuries as a result of negligence (carelessness) on the part of property owners and/or property managers etc., the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.

Our law firm recovered $3,000,000 for a man who fell and suffered two broken legs when he walked into an open elevator shaft. In an interview by the Canadian television station Global News after a fatal escalator accident in Montreal, Mr. Kenneth A. Wilhelm stated that the installation of emergency stop buttons that are easily located and run the entire length of the escalator stairs may go a long way in preventing escalator accident injuries and fatalities. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.

Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and/or medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.

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