When Gladys pressed the “9” button on the elevator panel, she heard a noise that could most generously be described as sounding like a train slamming into a wall. For most New Yorkers, this is a subconscious everyday fear, as each day involves multiple elevator rides. Although there’s nothing as annoying as being stuck in traffic or a delayed subway, an elevator “out of service” sign for a 15-flight stair climb is not far behind.

Old buildings have old elevators. With the vast building boom in the 1950’s, these buildings now have elevators that have been taking people up and down dozens, if not hundreds of times, day after day for over 60 years.

There are many reasons for elevators being old and rickety. They are costly to maintain and to adhere to regulations, and extremely costly and inconvenient to upgrade. Who wants to, or is even able to, walk up 10 or 20 flights of stairs during the six to twelve weeks that the elevator is out of service?

Service Contracts are expensive to begin with, not to mention the elevator consultant’s contract. The service contract generally lasts 5-10 years and provides monthly maintenance service, as well as the mandatory yearly Category 1 and every 5-year Category 5 tests. Any additional maintenance or needed parts or repairs are extra. In addition, all witnessing and inspections need to be performed by a qualified inspector.

To top this all off, in 2012, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) made it mandatory for all elevators installed after January 1, 2015 to have door lock monitors. This regulation has since been amended to require all elevators, no matter when they were installed, to install door lock monitors by January 1, 2020. This amendment, known as Appendix K3 Rule 3.10.12, is often simply referred to as the 2020 door lock monitoring regulation. Our goal is to complete these upgrades quickly and efficiently for all of our client buildings, so that they will be in compliance before the effective date.

This recent regulation has not been widely adopted or even realized by all. As a result, the buildings that are aware and not yet in compliance are scrambling to get this upgrade done before the January deadline. With limited resources of the elevator contractors around as the date for compliance nears, we are expecting that the prices for this required upgrade will be rising as we near the deadline.