Saturday, August 23, 2014

Elevator Inspection expenses

We have been receiving quite a few calls lately asking about elevator inspections and the requirement.   This will be about the AHJ[Authority having jurisdiction] which would be your town or city’s elevator inspection firm.  In the State of Illiniois for the most part a town hires an elevator inspection firm to complete the elevator inspections for that city or village. Over the last few years the elevator inspections have changed dramatically.  What was a one or twice a year visit with a reasonable bill of $50 to $150 each visit has gone to a requirement to have the following inspections


  1. Periodic inspections[typically once or twice  a year]
  2. Witnessing Category 1 and Category 5 testing[annual and 5 year testing]
  3. And permit work inspections – this year the popular one is door restrictor inspections
    What this means is that the $100 to $300 a year bill for elevator inspections with the Village or City elevator inspector has risen significantly.  Are these legitimate inspections, yes they are, how much should a building pay? Well that is up to the AHJ, inspection firm and building owners.  As an elevator maintenance company we get in the middle of these conversations at times because we get billed for the CAT 1 and CAT 5 test witnessing fees and these are typically billed higher than the agreed upon periodic inspection
    While money is always a concern for everyone from the building owner, AHJ and inspection firm, it does take a qualified person to complete these inspections and qualified people are in high demand because there are not enough elevator inspectors out there working as elevator inspectors.  Many elevator personnel may be qualified to do elevator inspections, however, we choose to work on a different side of the business in the field or working in an office of an Elevator Company who does maintenance, service, new construction, etc.  The most important item is to make sure the elevator system is in a safe condition for the public.  It is getting more expensive but I can guaranty it is much less expensive than a legal issue, a longevity of equipment issue due to poor maintenance or being the person who tripped out of an elevator or got hit by a door because the elevator inspector is not going to the building and make sure the elevator maintenance company is not completing their job properly.
    If you have an questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Elevator wiring diagrams

Wiring diagrams are the elevator technician’s roadmap to how to repair your elevator system.  The State of Illinois current elevator code requires elevator wiring diagrams for the buildings specific elevator to be in the elevator machine room.  This is very difficult for older elevator systems where a few different elevator companies may have completed maintenance or modernization work at the building.  At times the wiring diagrams walk off intentionally or unintentionally[elevator mechanic has a similar elevator at a different building and may have good intentions on returning them].  The important part for building owners to know is that they should make copies of the existing wire diagrams and keep a copy in the building files so they always have a set.  The reason I suggest making copies is when there is a call on Saturday at 2pm, the responding elevator technician may not be your typical route person, if there are no wiring diagrams, they may be at a loss with our the wiring diagrams.  If the building has a set in their files it will get the elevator system back up and running quicker, reducing down time and expense.  If you know as a building owner you do not have wiring diagrams, contact your elevator maintenance company, typically we can find what you are looking for or something similar that will work.   If the building is going to make copies of the wiring diagrams, make sure the originals get put back in the elevator room, sometimes this is forgotten.  With that said, I need to order wiring diagrams for a building whose wiring diagrams where recently “lost”.

Here is a video of elevator wiring diagrams.


If you have an questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Non Elevator work in elevator hoistways - Call for assistance

The last few weeks there have been a few accidents and fatalities by people working the hoist way without elevator personnel supervision.  In the past I have written about the necessity of an elevator person supervising any work done in the elevator hoist way.  The work may include testing or replacing fire or heat detectors, sprinklers, working on the sump pump, getting keys from an elevator pit, spraying for bugs, running wires in the hoist way for non-elevator related items such as CAT 5 cables[which is against the elevator code], etc.  With the understanding that everyone is interested in keeping costs down if there is an incident in the elevator hoist way it typically will be a very significant injury or death.  The cost for an elevator person to be onsite to supervise and assist in the process the building is completing is very insignificant to the cost of an injury or death.  If you are a building owner, property manager or construction manager call your elevator company for help.  Please find a link of an incident from a construction site of someone who died due to an elevator hoist way incident.  Accidents are called accidents for a reason, no one intends for accidents to occur.  Everyone involved in building affairs can work together to reduce the possibility or unfortunately events occuring.
If you have an questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Proprietary Vs. Nonproprietary elevator systems

Buildings owners rely on the elevator professionals to install and maintain reliable equipment.  When we work with buildings on new installation projects or modernization there are two different types of control equipment you install; Proprietary equipment and non-proprietary equipment.  Proprietary equipment is equipment that the original equipment manufactuer[OEM] typically can only support.  Non-Proprietary equipment is equipment that many companies can support because product support is readily available to any elevator professional.  Typically your larger multinational companies such as Otis, Thyssen, Kone, Schindler, Fujitec, Mitsubishi install their own control equipment which would be considered proprietary.  While the quality of the equipment is on par with open market equipment[nonproprietary equipment] you typically have a significant reliance on the company who installed the equipment.  If Elevator Company A[OEM] installs your elevator system, you most likely will have a heavy reliance on them in the future for elevator maintenance.   If everything goes well Elevator Company  A does a fair job and there are no issues other than they may charge you a premium for maintaining the system.  If everything does not go well you are stuck dealing with one company for a resolution. If Elevator Company A is not making money with this account or you do not have a critical mass of business for them, you may not get the response you would like.  With non-proprietary equipment it gives the building owner more flexibility on whom to work with.  If Elevator Company B[independent elevator company] installs the equipment and things do not go well, in the Chicago area you can call 30 other companies to find someone who will find a resolution and give you what you are looking for.  It is our opinion that it is in the best interest of the building owner to work with a company who will install a Motion Control Engineering, Smartrise, Virginia Controls, Elevator Controls or other non-proprietary control systems which are as reliable as the OEM provide proprietary equipment and you will have flexibility in the future if you have to make decisions on a elevator maintenance professional.


We maintain a considerable amount of proprietary equipment, the issue is we have a difficult time getting product support.  99% of the time there are no issues and there are quick resolutions and everyone is satisfied.  Even when we have a 99% success rate on working on proprietary equipment if there is a decision to be made I encourage building owners to reduce their liability on relying on one vendor and make decisions that allow future flexibility for the elevator service.


If you have an questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.