Condo Dwellers Get A Lift From New Elevator Regulations
With more Ontario residents making the move to vertical condominium communities the Ontario government has turned their attention to that pesky problem of elevators down for service. There are approximately 20,000 elevators already operational in buildings throughout the province, and about 1550 of them are more than 50 years old with another 10,000 over 25 years old. The legislation is not only a positive step towards recognizing the essential service that elevators provide to condominium residents and particularly, elderly residents, those with disabilities and those living on the highest floors of increasingly taller condominium buildings, but the first jurisdiction to pass such regulation in the world.
So what is this new legislation going to mean?
1. Enhanced enforcement of maintenance requirements including , preventative maintenance requirements and a maximum time allotment for elevator service outages. With enforcement through fines levied against elevator maintenance companies, and owners.
2. Improved information sharing with Fire and Emergency Personnel Response Teams about Elevator outage issues that may impact upon their emergency response to a multi-storey dwelling.
3. Publication of Elevator Performance information for buildings so that prospective condo purchasers or renters can make better informed decisions about moving to a particular high rise
4. Enhanced data-based standards including construction and maintenance standards, disclosure and education to assist owners involved in negotiating elevator maintenance contracts.
The legislation is intended to add consumer protections to those who use elevators and the effort is timely, coming on the heels of prominent elevator maintenance company ThyssenKrupp being charged with significant fines for failing to meet mandatory safety maintenance requirements by breaching the Technical Standards and Safety Act. Unfortunately calls to the fire department because people are trapped in elevators have been on the rise, with over 4461 calls in 2015 This is double the same figure in 2001 with Toronto leading the pack at 2862 entrapment calls and serious injuries caused by elevators is also up 8 percent according to Ontario’s safety authority.
The industry is dominated by four major players, as many smaller players have been pushed out creating an oligarchy: ThyssenKrupp, Otis, Kone and Schindler. This group of global elevator titans are collectively pushing back with their industry association, the National Elevator and Escalator Association, tabling their own report warning that increased regulation will translate into higher costs for owners. These same companies were fined more than a billion dollars in 2007 for collusion related to their European Operations. Whether elevator maintenance contracts will go up for condo corporations remains to be seen.
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