By: D&D Elevator
One of the primary issues facing U.S. industry today – across virtually all the manual labor trades, and particularly in construction – is an ongoing shortage of trained technicians. In the face of this skilled labor shortage, construction contractors across the U.S. are being forced into the uncomfortable position of having to turn down work. A recent Wall Street Journal survey revealed that more than 33% of the survey’s respondents needed to do so to maintain their project volume, a particular problem on the coasts and in regions recently affected by catastrophic weather events.
In the currently-bustling economic environment, there is no shortage of jobs in construction, but rather of skilled workers to fill them. Around the U.S., this is being strongly felt in the elevator industry, where steadily-growing building construction has created increasing demand for technicians to install, service and maintain new and existing systems. More and more one hears, “we need more trained technicians, but there’s no one available to hire.” Many firms are reporting that this is their greatest single challenge and that they are expecting such conditions to escalate in the months and years ahead. Some are offering increased compensation and benefits to attract the additional skilled labor they need, but to little or no avail.
According to Bob Schaeffer, CEO and President of Elmsford NY-based D&D Elevator Maintenance, the solution is “training, training, training,” and D&D has a plan underway to help.
An elevator industry veteran, Schaeffer has throughout his career been a strong advocate for education. Among his many accreditations, he served as board president of the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) and, as Education Chairman, was instrumental in creating the Certified Elevator Technician (CET™) certification. This nationally-recognized certificate program provides the elevator industry with the means of obtaining and verifying knowledge and experience requirements related to compliance with industry codes, elevator and escalator specific technical theory, components, and competencies.
For its own company, D&D Elevator has been delivering apprenticeship training for over 15 years with great success. Explains Schaeffer: “To allow us to grow at a reasonable pace, our goal was to make sure we always had enough skilled workers, while maintaining and enhancing our existing workforce. More recently, we have seen a dynamic change in the workforce. Retirees have outpaced new apprentices and rather than deal with the rigors of daily maintenance, repairs, modernizations and the installation of elevators, many qualified technicians have opted to become inspectors and third-party witnesses. Our industry urgently needs a young, skilled labor force to come in behind them.”
To address this need, D&D is working on expanding the training model to other elevator companies nationwide that subscribe to the common goal of using only educated and safety-trained skilled labor. When D&D began asking other companies if they had any interest in this, the answer was a resounding ‘if you build it, we will come.’ Accordingly, D&D has begun the process of building a 2,500-sq-ft Elevator Learning Center in Yonkers, NY, minutes north of New York City, anticipated to open Spring 2018. In keeping with the objective of developing an innovative education model that other companies would find valuable – while ensuring that the educational content is proven and accepted – all classes are being taught by highly-experienced and certified instructors.
According to Schaeffer, the overarching objective of the Center is to allow for other companies to train at its facility, either through its approved educational delivery system, or a process created through contractor related organizations. The Center’s services will include certified testing, proctoring and graduate placement services for entities that provide apprenticeship and re-certification. Working with Human Resource professionals, it is planning to add personal attribute and ethics training to help create well-rounded candidates who understand the importance of communication, quality and professionalism. Preliminary discussions are underway with school districts to include an elevator technician pilot program in trade schools at the high school level, to prepare students for apprenticeship training.
To provide actual hands-on, “real-life” training for students, the Center is receiving equipment from many companies in our industry, including Titan, Hollister-Whitney, Columbia Elevator, Delaware Elevator, AFD Industries, Innovation Industries, GAL, ESI, SmartRise and others; we are most grateful for their generous contributions to this mission.
Concludes Schaeffer: “We see this approach as a solution to the shortage of skilled labor – to help build a body of educated, trained, skilled, responsible workers for our industry, who can make an extremely good living while serving a pressing societal need.”
By: D&D Elevator
Time flies and a significant percentage of elevators in the field today are aging to the point of obsolescence, with many systems and components in need of upgrade. While property managers and building owners may recognize the need to rethink their elevator equipment, budget and timing may be factors for some in implementing a full modernization all at once. At the least, consideration should be given to certain components of the elevator system, installed 20 to 30 years ago, which have outlived their useful life, or which have been rendered obsolete by technology advancements and updated code requirements.
For example, as was covered in a previous blog in this space, if a building today is operating hydraulic elevators with Single-Bottom-Cylinders installed prior to 1972, this stands in violation of various state and city codes, as well as the requirements of ASME A 17.1-2000. For several years now, code requirements have called for the use of Double Bottom Cylinders and the replacement of older single bottom installations, which should be upgraded as soon as possible. As also previously covered here, old controller systems – including ones made by major manufacturers such as Staley, AB SEE, Otis, Westinghouse, Dover, Armor and others – may require updating. Aside from conforming to code requirements, updating controllers can provide many other benefits, including faster response time, increased ride comfort and enhanced energy efficiency.
Old mechanical starters, making for bumpy rides, can now be replaced by newer “soft starters.” Upgrading door equipment, by eliminating the older/mechanical bumper edges – and replacing them with the current infrared safety edges or the new “light curtains” – improves passenger safety and reduces operating noise. Replacing old fluorescent and incandescent lighting fixtures with modern LED lighting helps save energy and enables stylish, contemporary looks for cab interiors. And upgrades to machines, governors, power units and traction equipment can all help vastly improve elevator operating efficiencies, ride quality, and avoid costly downtime.
All this can be very confusing. But, what is certain, because of the ravages of age and protracted operation, and the obsolescence of a growing number of parts, elevators and their performance do suffer from deterioration. As tenants in residential environments are trending older – and occupants of commercial properties have high expectations in an environment extremely competitive for tenants – keeping one’s elevators “up to snuff” is becoming increasingly essential.
The experts at D&D Elevator stand ready to help you evaluate your particular needs and smoothly sort out the confusion – to cost-efficiently achieve code-compliance and safety – and boost your peace-of-mind!
By: Judy Uliano
The 2017 Year End Gives D & D Additional Modernization and New Construction Jobs
A magnificent art deco, early 20th century residential building has awarded D & D the modernization of their elevator. The building, located in the Bronx area, the elevator had been modernized approximately 30+ years ago but, was in need of upgrading and bringing it up to the ADA standards of today. Not only will there be a new controller, machine and door operator; there will also be a new car interior and flooring to make the package aesthetically pleasing. The overhead traction elevator will be 1500 pound, 100 FPM with 7 stops & 7 openings.
A luxury apartment complex with breathtaking views and extended amenities, located in the Westchester area, has given D & D the job of modernizing the four elevators that are on their property. In order to continue to attract the upscale clientele they now have, the building which was built in 1965, needed to update the elevator units. To make the elevators run in a more efficient and smooth manner, they required new controllers, machines, governors, door operators, etc. Along with the mechanical aspect of the job they will be receiving new cab interiors for each of the units. Two of the overhead geared traction units are 2000 pounds, 100 FPM with 7 stops and 7 openings and the two remaining units are also 2000 pounds, 100 FPM but with 9 stops with 9 openings.
This Co-op, located new parks, colleges and transportation, chose D & D Elevator to modernize their elevator that had all the original equipment from the installation in 1966. This elevator will now have a new controller, fixtures, car operating panel, etc. but it will become ADA compliant, which will give the tenants peace of mind. The overhead traction unit will have 8 stops, 8 openings, 2000 pounds at 150 FPM.
This residential doorman building, located in the Kingsbridge area of the Bronx, chose D & D Elevator to modernize the unit in their building. The structure was built in 1974 and the 43-year-old equipment needed to be upgraded to today’s codes and standards. Along with this the tenants in the building will receive an elevator that runs smoother, smarter and with the cab interior will give it a more stylish look. The overhead traction unit is 2000 pounds, 125 FPM with 7 stops and 7 openings.
An early 20th century residential/commercial structure, located in the trendy section of SOHO needed their elevators upgraded to reflect the status of the area that they are in and gave D & D Elevator the task. The passenger elevator had been partially modernized in the mid 1980’s but, in order to reflect the location that they are in, the unit now needed to be totally modernized with a new controller, machine, governor, fixtures and cab interior. This overhead geared traction elevator is 2000 pounds, 200 FPM, 7 stops, & 8 openings The “manual” service elevator had never been modernized and maintained the original equipment. We will be bringing the elevator into the 21st century by adding a new machine, controller, governor, fixtures and cab interior. This is also an overhead traction that is 3000 pounds, 150 FPM, 7 stops and 8 openings (6 rear openings).
A pre-war commercial/residential building, located in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn needed to completely modernize their elevator and they chose D & D Elevator for assistance. In the mid-eighties, the controller had been upgraded but nothing else. D & D will be doing a complete modernization by installing all the equipment that meets today’s codes, this includes but is not limited to a new controller, new machine, new governor, new fixtures and cab interior. The overhead traction elevator had 7 stops and 7 openings, 2000 pounds and 100 FPM.