A good maintenance agreement is essential for the longevity of your building's lifts and should be negotiated effectively at the outset, says Nick Mellor.
04 March 2019 | Nick Mellor
1. Guidance on maintenance agreements
Building managers responsible for lifts face challenges when trying to understand their duties with various regulations and few impartial sources of guidance.
Two useful sources are LEIA's Lift Owner News items and LEIA's code of practice for maintenance.
We created the latter so it could be adopted by mutual agreement between clients such as FMs and maintenance providers, with the aim of forming a valuable basis for the overall maintenance agreement.
It sets out separate requirements for the maintenance contractor and the client. Requirements for the maintenance provider include:
- Making a first inspection;
- Carrying out the agreed maintenance visits; and
- Reporting to the client.
- Requirements for the client come from legislation, such as:
- Providing safe access and documentation; and
- Restricting the use of lift landing door unlocking keys to trained and authorised people.
2. Maintenance fundamentals
A good agreement should reflect the needs of the FM, the building, and the type and use of the lifts. It should have flexibility in the type of maintenance required and the periodicity. A good maintenance programme will protect the value of the lift assets and maximise their lifespan. In the LEIA code of practice, we set out three generic types of maintenance.
These work alongside other elements, which need to be included as part of the overall agreement, including the number of maintenance
visits, the response of the maintenance provider to call-outs and breakdowns, alarm calls and undertaking the release of trapped passengers.
A good agreement should align the interests of both the FM and the maintenance provider. A comprehensive maintenance agreement should be long enough to allow the contractor and FM to benefit from early work to improve the reliability of the lift. Typically this should be at least three to five years. Conversely, short agreement periods can result in reactive maintenance - not ideal for the lift's longevity.
4. What it should cover
The essential elements of a traditional maintenance agreement are:
- Planned maintenance visits;
- Attendance at call-outs and breakdowns;
- Parts included and any exclusions; and
- Handling of alarm calls.
- These should be agreed with the maintenance provider along with any other requirements.
5. Release of trapped passengers: who is responsible?
This should only be undertaken by trained and competent people, and arrangements should be made in the contract for the provider to release trapped passengers.
In some circumstances, such as in gearless lifts and machine room-less installations, for example, we strongly recommended that only a lift engineer should undertake this activity.
6. Remote monitoring, IoT and AI
Remote monitoring has been used for many years - where there are benefits from monitoring lifts - to provide information to the client and maintenance provider such as monitoring availability and use, and making simple checks to highlight reliability issues.
Looking to the future, AI, coupled with sensor technology on lifts, looks set to provide better self-monitoring of the condition of a lift, which will require maintenance contracts to evolve to accommodate these shifts. This might include moving from a fixed number of maintenance visits to condition-based maintenance.
LIFTEX 2019 is on 15-16 May at London's ExCeL tinyurl.com/FacMag0319-liftex
Nick Mellor is managing director of the Lift & Escalator Industry Association (LEIA) and LIFTEX 2019