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Should you Modernize or Replace your Elevator?

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While Thinking of modernizing or replacing your Elevator, there are few points that have to be noted first, we will discuss how to go about this and what would be the expected procedure.

Elevator is a high value item and is generally shared by the residents in a building so the decision by itself is tough in such case as you might lose your reputation so most of the people will take the decision to replace the whole elevator which ensures them a degree of satisfaction that in such case not much can go wrong as the new equipment will work just fine. However, such decisions come at a huge Financial Costs and also spending which could have been used for other Purposes.

Firstly let us understand what modernization or replacement of the Elevator entails including the Financial cost for it.

  1. Generally, In Modernization, the Electrical and Electronic Components are Changed and Mechanical or electromagnetic Components are overhauled to bring it to a good usable condition.
  2. Time Taken for Modernization is much shorter than a new Installation. This means shorter downtime and less inconvenience.
  3. Fewer Related works to be done by the owner in Modernization. May be it will include changing the main Power Cables and Civil Work around the door.
  4. The Replacement will include a lot of civil work including the Civil work for Doors, Core Cutting in the Machine room for a different design, Changing of Beams in the Machine Room for Machine Fixing, Breaking of the Large Part of the Lowest Floor Level to enable full length 5Mtr rails to be carried in the lift shaft, etc.
  5. Modernization will most likely maintain the Original carrying Capacity and the Speed of the Lift Same. Replacement may have better Technology, offer better Speed and More Carrying capacity.
  6. While Modernization, the manufacturing company may be forced to use out dated or old technology or equipment to ensure compatibility with the existing equipment, these equipments be soon obsolete. Replacement generally with include latest technology.
  7. Modernisation will generally just conform to the latest lift codes or standards applicable. Replacement will generally not only conform but exceed the requirement of Lift codes and standards applicable.
  8. Replacements will have Higher costs but, if done properly, will last at least two times the Life time of a Modernized Elevator.

As every lift is different, made using materials of different quality and workmanship there is no standard formula to find this answer. But you can find the answer by asking more questions and knowing more about your Elevator.

To find the answer the Question, I recommend a three step process as mentioned below

  1. Note down the difficulties faced by you while using the Elevator.
  2. Get the Elevator Examined by independent third party professionals, the company maintaining the Elevator or from multiple vendors and ask for a detailed report.
  3. Age of the Elevator
  4. Total Cost of the Work and your Budget for the Job.

Firstly, You must clearly understand the problems that are occurring in the elevator. Does the elevator breakdown frequently? What is the reason for the breakdown? The Elevator does not breakdown but have issues like noise and Jerk during travel? The Parts have started failing, example there is leakage Oil Leakage from the Traction Machine? To understand this Questions there is generally a log book maintained for the elevator maintenance Activity where the details for breakdown or preventive maintenance is clearly mentioned, you can go through the log book and understand the general problems. The Elevator is Worn Out with use?

Sometime frequent breakdown can be assigned to a single or few component which needs replacement but is not replaced or repaired. The Noise in the Elevator may be due to a single part being misaligned. Jerk is sometime an issue of brake setting or the Controller Setting.

The reason for Elevator Parts have started wearing out may be for many reasons like no proper preventive maintenance or poor workmanship or poor Quality Parts. It is very important to understand that lift is a assembly of large number of components and sub components and failure or poor performance of one will affect the other.

I recommend touring the machine room only with Qualified Maintenance staff who can show you around and explain the issues at hand. Once you have taken a normal tour of your elevator and understood the basics, it is time to go to the next Step.

Invite a third party independent elevator surveyor to understand the problems in the elevator and also provide you with the detailed reports for the same. Independent Elevator Surveyor is a key as they are not associated with elevator companies which may have a motive to push certain products or services. If you are unable to find a independent surveyor you might get survey done by multiple Companies for modernization as well as for replace and get the Quote for the same.

Also, Important to understand is the age of the elevator and the condition of the elevator. I think the Elevator must be modernized to have latest electrical and electronics after 8 to 10 years of regular Operations. The need for replacement of a well maintained elevator should come only after about 20 to 25 years from installation of the Elevator.

After all the reports you can compare all the details and recommendation from the Surveyors you can more or less take come to a conclusion as to what might be a right way further.

There are also other times when you might want to modernize your elevator even if it working well. This is covered in our Topic “when should you modernize your Elevator?”

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