The Importance of Periodical Elevator Inspections

DateSeptember-October 2018 Mustafa Görmüş TASİAD Member-Technical Director Print

When we look at the ’80s and even earlier years, we can see that elevators have always been controlled by legislation at all times. There have been, and remain, two important issues in the context of these legislations, which were applied in the past and continue to be implemented through different forms of change. What are these two issues? One is the concept of the final control carried out before the elevators are delivered to the building owner, and is under the responsibility of the person who mounts the elevator; the other is the periodical inspection concept, which is implemented in the years following the delivery of the elevator and is under the responsibility of the building authorities (building managers and/or flat owners). These two concepts have been in existence with the technically regulated elevators being brought under a framework of legislation.

The task of performing the annual periodical inspections was under the responsibility of the relevant administrations (municipalities) until the publication of the Regulations on Elevator Operation, Maintenance and Periodical Inspection published in 2008. Prior to this date, the periodical inspection activity regulated by law remained on paper, due to the failure of the municipalities to provide adequate technical staff along with the increasing number of elevators. Some municipalities tried to perform periodical inspections by working together with the chambers under the roof of TMMOB to fulfil this responsibility. However, when we look at the whole picture, we can say that elevators were not under control. With the regulation published in 2008, the controlling activity was transferred to the accredited Type-A Inspection institutions, with the condition that the coordination remained in the municipalities.

With the introduction of a new concept and a new stakeholder in the elevator sector, conceptual turmoil in the sector also began to emerge. Following the mandatory periodical inspections of elevator by Type-A inspection institutions in 2012, some municipalities began to make the controls of elevators go through Type-A inspection institutions before authorization affairs. This situation was contrary to the regulations in force at that time; in particular, the 95/16/EC Elevator Regulation. Due to the contradictions to regulations, and also to the different applications in each municipality, the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology decided to amend the regulations in order to regulate the irregularities and to provide the unity in the application of all municipalities. In 2015, the concept of authorization was removed from legislation and the concept of registration was added to the legislation. With the concept of registration, technical responsibility of municipalities was removed and transferred to Type-A Inspection Institutions. This way, the periodical inspections before the registration was put under the roof of legislation. With this amendment in the Regulation, the sector started to make its own changes, as we can say, in order to conform to the period. The most critical and objectionable of these changes was the fact that the concept of “Final Control" was almost eliminated by the sector. The vast majority of mounting firms thought that since Type-A inspection institutions performed controlling activity, they might not perform the final control, it was not necessary. This was a serious noncompliance in terms of 2014/33/EU Elevator Regulations (formerly 95/16/EC). The main and major reason for this inappropriate situation was the confusion of concepts. First of all, it is necessary to understand the concepts of "Final Control" and "Periodical Inspection," which are two important concepts. Final control is a type of control carried out by the manufacturer before a product is introduced to the market, and contains compelling performance tests. According to the relevant standards (EN 81 series) at the final elevator control, full load and 1.25 times overload tests must be carried out at the declared speed. The main purpose of the control and testing in the final control is to check that the completed elevators are correctly designed and manufactured correctly, and are mounted correctly. Periodical inspection is the control carried out with the aim of controlling the correctness of the operation of the elevator, which is supposed to be subject to final control with the aim of inspecting the suitability of the design previously completed by the installer. Lighter tests are applied in the periodical inspections to avoid damage to the running system, especially break tests, which are considered as compulsory tests but which should be conducted at speeds below the declared speed and without load.

When we discuss the expansions of concepts of the final control and periodical inspection discussed in detail above, we can see how big a mistake we face because these two concepts are confused with each other in our sector. Although according to the legislation it is a periodical inspection before registration, the sector accepted it as the final control, and the final control process was almost completely removed from being part of the elevator installation. As a result of this situation, we faced the situation that elevators that were not tested in the real sense were opened for public use. At TASİAD, the most important stakeholder in the sector, we have seen the effects of this situation and have been making efforts to intervene for a long time. Because this situation was interpreted as the fact that the domestic industry did not supply safe product to the market, the safety of the products that our members supplied to the market was called into doubt.

Finally, with the Regulation on Elevator Periodical Inspection issued by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology on May 4, 2018, it has become mandatory for the periodical inspections before registration to be carried out at the load and speed specified in the standards just as it is in the final control. In the face of this obligation, there was a serious sense of opposition, objection and rebellion from the sector. When we addressed this situation at TASİAD, we seriously discussed why this legislation change may have been made, and we clearly saw the legislative development described above. When we look technically, in the context of the Periodical Inspection concept, the presence of inspections and tests that must be carried out in the final control is a matter of dispute, but when we consider the market conditions and look at the big picture of the sector, it is important not to oppose the performance of these tests at periodical inspections before registration. In this case, we support the tests with loading during periodical inspections before registration in order to improve the development and quality of the sector. Of course, taking into account that this situation should be temporary, we must also mention that we support it. As a result, the planning of the periodical inspection processes mentioned in the legislation can lead to serious problems, and the same company can have numerous periodical inspection operations at different addresses at the same time, in which case it is difficult for our members to reach all these controls. When we evaluate all these, we think that a period of time that will allow the industry to put into practice the concept of the final control, the periodical inspections before the registration should be carried out with loads, and when it is concluded that the concept is fully applied in the sector, the periodical inspections should be done periodically, as it was before. However, it is also an important factor that the abilities of the inspection staff performing the periodical inspection activities and these tests should also be seriously put on the table. The critical point here is that these transactions be performed by an inspection staff that has the ability to take the necessary safety precautions before the tests are performed, and evaluate the test results correctly after the test, rather than just doing the related tests. Otherwise, elevators may suffer damage, and those who are in the inspection area during the tests may suffer injury during the tests, if the necessary precautions have not been taken beforehand. Regarding the other point, if the test results are not correctly interpreted, the tests performed will not be meaningful —the tests will be performed only to make the test.

As a result, the elevator periodical inspection and/or the elevator final control activities are concepts that exist since the elevator was invented. Therefore, if we can make the concept of elevator as part of our lives and our business life, and if we continue our activity in this area, we cannot ignore that the final control and periodical inspection activities are also the most important parts of our business life.