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An Introduction to Elevator Maintenance Control Programs

The Maintenance Control Program (MCP) prescribed by the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators is one of the most crucial tools used in the elevator and escalator maintenance regimen. But what exactly is the MCP and how is it used by building owners, facility managers and maintenance professionals? How does it help ensure the safety and performance of elevator and escalator equipment?

An MCP is exactly what it sounds like – a program or plan to ensure that an elevator or escalator is maintained correctly throughout its life. Like automobile maintenance, an elevator MCP is similar to the maintenance schedule a car manufacturer publishes for a vehicle; one that specifies a frequency for oil and other fluid changes, brake pad inspections, replacements and the like. Auto manufacturers will also suggest modifying the recommended maintenance schedules based on special conditions like towing heavy loads or driving frequently in dusty areas.

Where an elevator MCP differs from an automobile's recommended maintenance is important to understand:

  • Having an MCP for a specific elevator or escalator is mandatory in those jurisdictions that have adopted the 2000 or more recent edition of the ASME A7.1/CSA B44 elevator code;
  • Building owners are responsible for having an MCP for each elevator or escalator in the facility, and the contracted maintenance company is responsible for providing and following that plan. MCPs may be developed by the equipment manufacturer or a third-party maintenance professional or consultant;
  • Maintenance records and repair/replacement records must be available for viewing on site, either physically stored in the building or available electronically using an internet-enabled computer;
  • MCPs can be very specific to an elevator's intended use; the same elevator model may be installed at one location in a three-story public school, and down the street in a three-story church or synagogue; the maintenance plans for each elevator can and should anticipate passenger demand (e.g., two days per week of high usage in the church, five days in the school) and seasonal demand (12 months for the church, low use for the school during the summer).

The 2013 edition of the ASME A17.1/CSA B44 code has benefitted from more than two years of work from a task group charged with clarifying and defining what constitutes a code-compliant MCP. Its provisions for maintenance control programs for equipment installed under that edition include listing the maintenance tasks, procedures, examinations and tests for the equipment, including intervals in which they must occur. On-site documentation must include equipment wiring diagrams and descriptions of unique procedures for certain types of electrical protective devices. MCP records must include the tasks required to be performed on the particular piece of equipment, the name of the service provider performing a task, the date the work was done, and a description of the task and the code requirement associated with the work.

The expanded provisions for MCPs in the 2013 edition of the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators provide a valuable tool for the building owner responsible for the proper maintenance of building transportation equipment. They provide a comprehensive guide for what must be done by the persons or company under contract to maintain the equipment, and ensure that the equipment's maintenance record will be properly documented should the authority having jurisdiction (e.g., local or state elevator inspector) require it.

Our national model codes are continually refined to improve safety and clarify what constitutes good design, construction, alteration and maintenance of our built environment. State, provincial and local governments that adopt the ASME A17.1-2013/CSA B44-13 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators will take an important step in improving how building transportation systems are regulated and maintained. This not only benefits the equipment owners, but, more important, the riding public who deserve safe and reliable elevators and escalators.


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