A Look at Elevator Maintenance The Ups and Downs of Elevator Replacement and Repair

Building amenities such as elevator systems are sometimes taken for granted. What goes up, after all, must come down, and vice versa, right? But elevators are not just for convenience and awkward silent moments, they also accommodate residents unable to climb stairs, and are critical for deliveries and facilitating maintenance workers. At a certain point, no matter the age of the building, the elevator system will need maintenance and/or replacement. The key is identifying signs of wear and tear before a breakdown occurs. 

“A new elevator should be treated like a new car in that it should be properly maintained and lubricated on a monthly basis,” says Frank Livoti, president of Brooklyn Elevator Inc. in Brooklyn. “A well-maintained elevator should last anywhere between 15 and 20 years, however depending on the type of elevator application, certain major parts might need to be changed in the interim.”

Even if a building owner is diligent with elevator maintenance protocols, there may come a time when the equipment becomes unreliable and the down time is increased. The resulting work required could be an upgrade or an overhaul. 

“Any modification to an existing system is characterized as a modernization, which can be partial or full. A job is considered new construction when new rails are added to an existing job, or it is installed from the ground up,” explains John Miller, director of operations for the Liberty Elevator Corporation in Manhattan. He added that hydraulic elevators typically last between 25 to 30 years. Traction applications, he noted, have controllers that last 25 to 30 years as well, although the machinery may last even longer. The life span of elevator ropes are typically 10 to 15 years.

“If you’re adding an elevator to an existing building, this would be considered new construction, otherwise you can replace all elements of an elevator, besides the rails, and it would be considered a full modernization,” says Miller. 


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  • our condo is conducting elevator modernization and they want us to pay 32,000 pesos or $700. Why they charge it to us? do we really need to pay it? we are paying monthly dues around $80.
  • Our luxury condo on the oceanfront with 8 floors and a 9th floor penthouse was constructed in 1987 with 2 high-end elevators. We have been told both need replacement. We do have an expensive maintenance contract. We have not been Informed of what the cost will be or when this project will begin, although this July May hold the answers as that is when condo fee charges are added. The lowest condo fee is $460 per month for a one bedroom unit. There are two and three bedroom units and 12 duplex penthouses. Owners were recently assessed a special "fee" of $2,000 up for needed projects and as there has Been a budget deficiency the past two years. We have been advised that the assessments will be for two years for the elevator replacements. Any idea how much these copper plated and hardwood and brass interior elevators in the Boston, MA. (Winthrop-by-the-sea) area may reasonably cost?
  • Hi i live in hi rise condo building has 16 floor was using Dover elevator 15 Passenger car, how much it will cost to Replace with a new elevator, elevator is out dated company out of business parts not available
  • Alfredo Villanueva on Sunday, April 7, 2019 1:42 PM
    I am unfortunate enough to be the longest tenant in a NYC Coop, . As such, I am considered a non-person. We have one elevator, which is going to be replaced. Tenants, mostly elderly, have not received any written notice or updates. I am sure it is a ploy to get tenants and many owners out. Is there any way to report this abuse?
  • The apartment building in which I live is replacing our only elevator and it is going to take 10 weeks. However, they are not working on it everyday. I live on the top floor and have to go up and down the stairs to go to work. I am not in the best physical condition with bad knees and this situation is very hard on me. Is there any law that says that they cannot keep the elevator down for that long?
  • It sucks - plain and simple. This is what you get for living in an apartment building - i do - and now i was told our elevator will be down for 1 week or more - and i live on the 3rd floor of a 3 floor building. I guess i will have to walk up and down the stairs. Exercise right? YES - It sucks. Hang in There folks..