Sunday, September 30, 2018

NAEC 69th annual convention – Atlantic City

September 24-27th was the National Association of Elevator Contractors[NAEC] annual convention/exhibition in Atlantic City, NJ.  This is a really cool event that mixes education, trade show and fun.  This last event was my 3rd year on the Board of Directors and I had the opportunity to serve as the President during this last year.

Monday - The first event was on Monday evening which was the Presidents reception which is an opportunity for everyone to see each other and rekindle old friendships or make new connections.  After the NAEC reception there was an Elevator/Escalator Safety Foundation party which is always a lot of fun.

[Presidents reception]

[A little side action at the Presidents Reception]

Tuesday - The event started off with our general business session and contractor, supplier and associate member sessions which are informational and an opportunity for us to discuss association business.  The afternoon held round table discussions that included How to be a AIA course provider, performance management done right, fall protection & lock out tag out, Home Elevators & Accessbility, encoder position for permanent magnet motors.  Later that day we had a leadership reception, I attended a Alliance Elevator dinner that gave us a teaser of their new program, then to Smartrise’s party, then to GAL/Vantage’s party.

[Round table education on Lock Out Tag Out]

[Round table education on motor drives]

[GAL party]

Wednesday – Exhibits opened.   A few hundred suppliers and thousands of contractors, consultants and inspectors where at the show.  The education for this day had wire rope car, private elevator MRL code changes, cab lighting sales opportunity, oil analysis, and emergency communication.  There also was a demonstration and troubleshooting opportunity with Peelle doors, Maxton Valve and Wurtec.  The evening held a cocktail reception and a Throwback Beach Party.

[Show floor]

[Show floor]

[Adams Elevator Otis pie plate selector replacement]

[Ask me about this and I will tell you]

[Retractable safety lines from Quad City Safety]

[The NAEC's big dinner 50's throw back beach party]

Thursday – Awards Breakfast where the best booth awards where handed out, Presidents Award, William C Strugeon Award and the passing of the torch where the old leadership is pushed out and the new initiated. Exhibits opened and more education; communication with A17 standards, Rust as a Service Improvement, Use of Polymers in Elevators and the “how to fix the problem” with Peelle doors, Maxton Valve and Wurtec. There was an event to honor our 28 year Executive Director Teresa Witham and then to the Dregs Party at the Wild Wild West.

[Awards Breakfast]

[Craig Zomchek giving Ray Zomchek the NAEC's Presidents Award]

[Victolic had a booth]

[Gorman's water/oil separator]

[In the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's and 1990's Colley Elevator and Automatic Elevator put in hundreds and hundreds of elevators in Chicago.  Ray[left] was responsible for Colley's and Frank[right] was responsible for Automatic.  Two Chicago elevator legends!]

[Pack it up - show is over]

[NAEC's new president and the old president at the Dregs Party]

[Dregs party at Wild West Casino]

[The old president takes one last right into the sunset]

This was a wonderful event, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of the NAEC’s board of directors for the last 3 years to work with the NAEC staff, other board members and all the suppliers, contractors, consultants and past presidents.  If you haven’t come to one of these shows, you should take some time and stop by Grand Rapids in 2019.

If you have any questions or would like additional information feel free to contact me at or 630-766-7230 ext. 107.  Join us on Instagram @colleyelevator to see what we are up to.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Elevator code changes 17.1 2016

Currently City of Chicago will be moving towards A17.1 2016 and Illinois eventually will adopt this code as well.  There are many more changes to this code then listed but here are some of the high points of the new book.  

Section 2 – Traction cars and all elevators

Added Elastomeric buffers to be allowed

Changed how to determine horizontal clearance on car tops to walls to 12” ball to determine if handrails are required

Hoistway access switches are to be between 48” and 72” AFF within 12” of door frame

Changed so that the in/car stop switch and emergency stop switch in the car are not made ineffective during Phase I operation.

Clarified that the phone jack is only required when the fire department communication system requires it – Phase II

Requires fire hat to be activated and deactivated together with the one in the car station – Phase II

Section 3 – Hydraulic elevators

Changed to require spring type to not fully compress and elastomeric type to less than 90%.  Only spring type is required to fully compress the buffer with double the load.

Changed so that elevator traveling up shall stop immediately, but an elevator traveling down can stop at or before next floor – Device actuation with phase II

Section 8.6 - Existing elevators 

Written program for reach unit, either hard copy of electronic copy must be available to all elevator personnel provided by elevator maintenance contractor

            Describes maintenance tasks, maintenance procedures and testing

            Must reference onsite equipment documentation and onsite maintenance records

Permits remove maintenance of MCP providing there is onsite availability at all times[instructions for onsite locating or viewing are required on each controller]

Up to date wiring diagrams with all EPD circuits and critical operating circuits

Onsite documentation - Written check out procedures for
            Elastomeric buffers
            E/E/PES functions
            Two way communication means
            Leveling speed[with doors open]
            Over speed valve
            Escalator reversal stopping device
            Escalator handrail retarding force

All procedures for evacuating of passengers

All procedures for cleaning the glass utilized for enclosures and hoistway enclosures

Maintenance records – Shall be retained for not less than 5 years

Permits remove [centralized] maintenance records providing there is on site availability at all times[instructions for on site locating or viewing are required on each controller]

Onsite maintenance records

            Oil log
            Firefighter emergency operation
            Periodic tests
            A17.6 compliance – Suspension means

Results of acceptance tests must be retained with the onsite records

Onsite maintenance records – Call backs – Must be available to elevator personnel when performing corrective actions and must include

            Description of reported trouble
            Date and time
            Corrective action

Periodic test records – Metal tag shall be provided

            Name of test/code requirement
            Date of test
            Name of mechanic/company

Controllers and wiring

            Temporary wiring is prohibited
            Blocking of components is prohibited
            Jumpers are prohibited

Any use of the above is permitted for testing, troubleshooting and repairs, but must be removed prior to placing the elevator into service

Suspension members
Must be within 10% of highest to lowest tension
anti rotation devices may be provided at any time.

What does this mean? This means that a building has more items to account for during new construction, modernization and every day maintenance.  If you have a responsible elevator contract they should be aware of the changes and be complying with them or letting the building know their responsibilities.

If you have any questions or would like additional information feel free to contact me at or 630-766-7230 ext. 107.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Elevator hydraulic power unit/pump motor valve replacement - Skokie, IL

We had a building that we inherited power units that leaked all over the floor to an extent the elevator’s would cavitate.  The previous maintenance contract installed new valves at one time many years ago and the hoses and victolic seals where all leaking.  We had a few challenges for the installation of these power units.  We had the account for 5 or 6 years, it was time for new power units.

We had some challenges

There was not clear path to get the new power units into the basement, only a 21” space between an air handler & corner of the wall.

The existing ESCO power units had a starter panel mounted on the front of the power units

The room was filled with 2 large power units so getting the anything in or out would be challenging.

None of the existing electrical clearances would pass today’s NEC code.

Both elevator’s are exactly the same; same capacity, same data plate on cross head, but… someone installed a different HP motor on one of the motors at one time then someone else installed new solid state motor starters to match the motors a few years later. Which one is the right horse power?  Was it changed for a specific reason?  Or was it a 4pm Friday replacement?



The power unit replacement went great, power units sized correctly, machine room looks wonderful, cavitating is gone, and elevators are running much better.  Now the building just needs a new control system to replace their 1971 ESCO elevator controller. 

Power units supplied by Delaware Elevator.

If you have any questions or would like additional information feel free to contact me at or 630-766-7230 ext. 107.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

City of Chicago elevator code requirements/update

We got a quick glimpse at the new changes with the City of Chicago’s code on Thursday at the Chicago Elevator Association's monthly meeting.  Chicago’s elevator committee chairman Joe Donnelly gave a presentation on the code changes.

There are quite a few changes I will highlight the items I took away

1    Chicago is adopting A17.1 2016 10/1/18 for new permits
a.    w/limited modifications

2    Chicago is adopting A17.3 2015 10/1/18 for all existing elevators
a.    What does this mean?  Emergency lights, phones, pit ladders, phase monitors, etc will need to be installed on new elevators
b.    w/limited modifications
c.    Enforcement MAY start 1/1/19, plan on 10/1/18 but there are talks about extending the deadline.

3    AIC program is modified
a.    Stronger auditing process
b.    Time line expectations have been tightened up

4    All elevators shall have written maintenance control plans in the elevator machine room

5    Supervising mechanic license requirements will be changed to allow QEI’s to be the criteria instead of the test

6    Elevator fire panel to be by the fire control panel – not in the lobby, unless the fire control panel is in the lobby. 

There was a lot of material covered and I may have missed some of the other items that we went through.  But this is big news for Chicago for sure as we are catapulted to the latest and greatest A17.1 & 17.3 codes.

If you have any questions or would like additional information feel free to contact me at or 630-766-7230 ext. 107.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Traction Elevator Machine Room Modernization - Chicago, IL

This is a building that had a 80+ year old elevator in the historic Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago, IL that was modernized in 1978 and again this year.  We walked into a building that did not have a running elevator and no data tags which makes engineering the new elevator challenging and makes installing the elevator challenging if the engineering does not have a good basis.  All in all it turned out well and the building has a great running elevator.

View from the machine room door - This says it all the service team painted the walls which gives the dreary machine room a brighter look.

[Old Machine]

[New Hollister Whitney Machine w/Smartrise Controller]

New machine - Night and day difference with the new machine, rope guard, rope gripper, painted floors.

[Old Machine]

[New Hollister Whitney Machine]

New Controls - A new Smartrise Engineering controller replaces a 1978 CJ Anderson relay logic control system. 

[Old CJ Anderson relay logic controller]

[New Smartrise Engineering controller]

New governor/placement - Before the modernization you had to walk over the governor to get in the machine room.  We stuck it in the other corner so there is one less tripping hazard in the already cramped machine room. 

[Old governor - tripping hazard]

[New HWEC governor out of the working path]

The machine room at the building turned out great!  The crew that completed this project did a great job! Did I mention the only way up to the machine room was a fire escape in the back of the building?

As always feel free to contact us at, email or call 630-766-7230