This guide will help you choose elevator service after your warranty. Know what to do after the new elevator free service period expires.
Whether it’s in a company’s corporate headquarters or a residential apartment complex, well-maintained elevators are essential components to a building’s safety, accessibility, and functionality. If you’re a building owner or manager, the last thing you want to deal with is an issue with the elevator system.
For new equipment, one common provision that can help ease your mind is an elevator warranty (or free maintenance period). But planning for elevator service, after the warranty expires, is critical to reducing the risk for your building.
What is an elevator warranty, and of what does it typically include? What should you do after your elevator warranty expires?
Let’s examine the answers to those questions.
What is an Elevator Warranty?
An elevator warranty is similar to any other kind of warranty. According to BusinessDictionary.com, “a warranty describes the conditions under, and the period during, which the producer or vendor will repair, replace, or other[wise] compensate for, the defective item without cost to the buyer or user.”
When applied to elevators, warranties generally are geared toward repairs and maintenance, rather than a replacement. After all, replacing an elevator is a massive project, and most elevator issues can be either be prevented or resolved without going so far.
So here’s one way to think of an elevator warranty: it is an agreement between you and the vendor or installer that, for a predetermined period, he will provide repairs and maintenance on your elevator system for a limited cost, or no cost at all.
What is Included in an Elevator Warranty?
That is a vital question for you to answer! When you buy an elevator or elevator system, you will typically purchase a matching warranty at the same time. Even though the general contractor or developer will usually be the one to select the warranty, it is crucial for you to stay informed on the contents therein.
There are many components of a typical elevator warranty, and obviously, one warranty will vary from another. Here are some elements to check if included in your elevator warranty:
Duration of the warranty. Your warranty should consist of a specific start date and end date for the coverage. A new elevator installation will typically come with a warranty that lasts a year (12 months). Sometimes a warranty will cover the cost of labor for one year, and the cost of parts for two years. Other warranties may provide coverage for defective parts that lasts up to 5 years.
Effective date. Most warranties will begin their coverage of elevator maintenance and service after the official final inspection by a certified inspector. This inspection will be based on the standards of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code, section A17.1. Once the elevator has officially passed inspection and is deemed fit for public use, it can begin its full, daily operations – and the warranty will become effective on this day.
Emergency service and callback coverage. When an elevator goes out of service, speed is of the essence. Repairs need to begin as soon as possible. For that reason, elevator warranties may include a provision that binds the vendor or maintenance company to respond to customer calls within a certain period of time.
Definitions of coverage. A new elevator contract should clearly spell out what is and is not covered under its warranty. For example, does it include all part replacements? Does it cover both labor and parts costs for necessary repairs? These terms need to be clearly defined so that no confusion arises in the future.
Exclusions. Most warranties have provisions that exclude coverage under certain conditions. For instance, some warranties cover damage caused by “acts of God” such as storms or flooding; others do not. Many warranties exclude coverage for damage to the elevators from abuse or misuse. Knowing exactly which conditions lead to coverage exclusion will help you to be more confident in your expectations, and take better care of your elevator system.
What Should You Do When Your Warranty Expires?
Before your original elevator warranty expires, you need to have a plan in place to continue coverage for repair and maintenance issues. If for any reason there is a gap in coverage, and your elevator system fails, you would be 100% responsible for all of the repair or replacement costs. Furthermore, you could bear additional liability for damage or injury if you are not under an elevator maintenance contract. Make sure your ongoing elevator maintenance contract is in place before the warranty expires. Feel free to use our calculator (click below) to estimate the costs for an ongoing maintenance contract.
So what should you be looking for in a maintenance contract? Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- There are basically two types of elevator maintenance contracts. The first is a full maintenance contract. This is an “all-inclusive” contract in that the service provider generally assumes all the responsibilities of emergency repairs, routine maintenance, and parts replacement. This functions as a de facto insurance policy for your elevator(s), and is easier to budget year over year.
- There is also the option of a limited maintenance contract. This agreement generally includes services such as parts lubrication and safety testing. Even though there are less upfront costs, emergency repairs are typically not covered, and would, therefore, be extremely costly. Also, as a building owner or facility manager, you or your company would retain more liability with this contract
- When considering an elevator maintenance contract, it is important to, first of all, understand your building’s needs. How many elevators are in the building? What is their typical usage rate? Answering questions like these will help you make the optimal business decision.
- Don’t be shy about inviting competitors to bid on the contract. You want to choose a service provider that offers reasonable pricing. On the other hand, you want to work with a reputable and knowledgeable company. Check if your equipment can be maintained by another maintenance provider. And since you can’t choose when an emergency occurs, you also want to partner with a service provider that’s able to send out technicians 24/7, 365 days a year.
- As always, carefully examine the contract for any hidden fees or exclusions. If any red flags come up, you may be better off looking for another service provider.
As a building owner or manager, you want the best coverage for your elevator system. And you want to work with the best ongoing maintenance provider under a contract that favors you, not the elevator provider. At ElevatorLab, we offer comprehensive elevator consulting services to help you navigate the details of maintenance contracts. If you’d like to learn more about the details of an elevator warranty, or anything else elevator-related, please contact us today for more information.
Do you have an elevator warranty contract? Comment below and let us know what’s included.