Lot owners from NSW are wondering how to reduce the cost of their lift maintenance contract. Rex Henning, Equity Elevator Consultants and Leanne Habib, Premium Strata provide the following responses.
Question: We totally replaced our 2 lifts 3 years ago. Now we have a lift maintenance contract. Due to many breakdowns and maintenance visits, we’ve spent about $400 000 over the past 3 years. Does this sound reasonable?
I live in a 28 year old, 17 level apartment block in Sydney.
We totally replaced our 2 lifts 3 years ago. Now we have a lift maintenance contract. We have had about 7 break downs in our lifts, sometimes people stuck in the lift, in the last 4 months and about 17 lift visits for Maintenance and repairs over the last 8 months. We’ve spent about $400 000 over the past 3 years on the new lifts. Does this amount sound reasonable?
I am considering becoming a committee member to keep a closer eye on these expenses relating to the lift maintenance contract and other maintenance of the building.
4 years ago we had a massive special levy to renovate every foyer on all levels. Now 4 years later, I find out the carpet layers used our 28 year old underlay and the new carpet is lifting and tearing. I have reported 2 falls due to lifting carpet in the last few months.
I’ve been told the carpet repairers say they can’t fix any level and it all needs to be replaced. It was very expensive carpet! The committee member responsible for making the decision is no longer on the committee.
What can we do about this? Just pay more, do the job correctly this time, and move on?
Answer: We strongly recommend the owners seek an independent/professional opinion.
Rex Henning: Considering the lifts were recently replaced, there should be no ongoing costs from the lift service company, other than the fee for carrying out routine maintenance. The costs mentioned and break-down rates described sound horrendous, and are significantly outside industry norms.
We strongly recommend the owners seek an independent/professional opinion on
- the type of contract in place and why the ongoing maintenance and repair costs are so high and
- what is technically wrong with the lifts that is causing the very high breakdown rates.
In circumstances like these, engaging a professional lift consultant is likely to save the owners a substantial amount of money in both the short and long term.
Leanne Habib: It’s likely too late to pursue the original carpet installer – so, as you state, next time, have the strata committee do some research, obtain a number of quotes, only use reputable installers utilising new materials. In the meantime, do everything possible to secure the carpet to minimise likelihood of slip and falls.
This post appears in Strata News #242.
Question: Is it possible or practical to reduce our annual lift maintenance contract costs by increasing the periods between services calls from three months to possibly four or even six months?
I would like to have some light shed upon our lift maintenance contract and our Strata’s obligations for regular maintenance.
One of our strata’s more costly maintenance overheads is the regular (and essential) lift service. Our Sydney building’s single lift services the basement carpark and ground floor entry only (two floors). We have had an ongoing quarterly scheduled maintenance contract with the lift’s manufacturer since its installation 12 years ago. We display the lift’s obligatory NSW Worksafe Registration and Scheduled Maintenance Certification on our community notice board.
Our current contract lists the task completed as follows:
- Buttons, Indicators, Fire Service – Test/ Repair
- Car Door Operation – Check, Lube, Replace as required
- Car Op. Panel & Indicators – check, replace
- Complete Job Hazard Analysis
- Contact site representative, Ride, Floor Level, Noise, Aesthetics
- Door Operator – Clean, Lube, Adjust, Parts as required
- Door Protection – Clean, Test, Adjust
- Emerg. Lighting, Alarms, Communication Check
- Engineering Performance Enhancement
- Hoistway Doors – Clean, Lube, Adjust, Parts as required
Plus filling out the maintenance Log book.
Is it possible or practical to reduce our annual lift maintenance contract costs by increasing the periods between services calls from three months to possibly four or even six months? Or can reducing the number of line items on every other service help to reduce costs?
Answer: Rather than reducing service frequency, it may be worthwhile getting an independent review of your service contract (and current pricing levels).
Rex Henning: Your lift is a highly sophisticated piece of machinery and as with any electromechanical device (aircraft, trucks, cars etc), good quality preventative maintenance is essential for ongoing safety, reliability and of course the longevity of the components. Inadequate maintenance will significantly shorten the lift’s life-span, not to mention compromising safety and reliability.
In an average strata apartment building, quarterly maintenance is appropriate, although larger complexes will require monthly service visits.
Rather than reducing service frequency, it may be worthwhile getting an independent review of your service contract (and current pricing levels); lift companies often include tricky escalation clauses that continuously increase service fees above published inflation rates. Over a 12-year period, this could mean that your current quarterly fee is almost double the current market rate.
To protect their position, we recommend Strata Owners consider an independently drafted maintenance contract; in addition to excessive escalation clauses, lift company contracts can be one-sided, low on deliverables and absent of meaningful KPI’s!
This post appears in Strata News #178.
- Better organise your lift emergency phone lines now!
- NSW: Q&A No to a lift refurbishment for our unsafe lift
Equity Elevator Consultants
P: 0450 927 909
Have a question or something to add to the article? Leave a comment below. What are your lift maintenance contract costs like?