BOCA Group is currently representing the vertical transportation industry on a New York City advisory board formed as a reaction to the global coronavirus pandemic. The panel is educating real estate owners and managers, as well as local and federal government officials, on strategies and available resources that can be implemented as part of an effort to re-occupy office and retail facilities.
BOCA Group remains committed to providing clients with quality vertical transportation services. As we progress through these current events, our aim is to ensure our clients have the tools and information to maintain current operations and move forward with new ideas as we begin to recover and return to the new normal.
We have compiled a set of key areas that building managers should focus on moving forward, to best manage their buildings as we enter into a phased return to full operation.
- Current Guidelines
- Ongoing Sanitation
- Tenant/Staff Management
- Changes to Preventative Maintenance
- Looking Ahead – Changes in Coverage and Technology
You can find information related to these key areas below in our FAQ’s section below. Please note: Changes to elevator operations may affect lease agreements. We suggest that landlords and building managers review their lease agreements to determine if there are specific elevator performance criteria, and initiate discussions with tenants if they will be temporarily unachievable.
If you have additional questions, or need clarification on a topic or question, please contact your BOCA Group Account Manager.
Q. What work is permitted?
A. Please refer to your local guidelines regarding essential personnel to determine the work that is permitted to continue or re-start.
*NYC SPECIFIC* In NYC, all mandated testing is permitted to continue. All non-essential construction and modernization work must cease until the current directive is lifted. Elevators out of service for modernization prior to the current directive may be completed, with no new elevator being taken out of service afterwards. Work in essential buildings/services may continue. For further information related to the current directive please visit: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026
Q. What about the Door Lock Monitoring Retroactive Requirement? Can this work proceed?
A. Yes. Contractors are still allowed to complete the Door Lock Monitoring Upgrade, and BOCA Group is able to complete the required testing once complete.
Q. What can my building do in order to prepare for re-opening?
A. We suggest that all building managers contact their elevator/escalator maintenance providers to understand what cleaning products and methods for cleaning are safe and effective for use on the equipment. It is important to understand which products to use in order to correctly sanitize, as well as avoiding damage to the equipment. We also suggest providing sanitation products for tenant use at the building lobby, elevator lobbies, stair openings and restrooms.
Q. What options are there for protecting the tenants in our building?
A. We recommend posting notices in the lobby and on each floor, which reminds tenants of current CDC recommendations for PPE and social distancing. Buildings can also attempt to limit the number of people sharing an elevator cab. The recommendation can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Keep in mind that for most standard passenger elevator sizes 2,000 pounds up to 5,000 pounds, meeting the current CDC guideline for six-foot social distancing means a maximum of two passengers in the cab at a time. Building personnel should measure the cab interior to verify your particular cab configuration, and consult with BOCA Group as necessary.
Q. What are the options for minimizing backups in the elevator lobby if we limit how many people can share an elevator cab?
A. The first option is working with tenants to create a virtual work rotation schedule, where each tenant’s employees alternate onsite and virtual work to the best of their ability. Building managers should also suggest staggering company start times, as well as lunch times and departure times. Food delivery services can be planned throughout the day to decrease passenger traffic during lunchtime.
Q. What are the options for minimizing backups in my freight elevators?
A. Curbside deliveries and ground floor mail/package rooms can be established. Electronic notifications can be sent to tenants, alerting them of the package(s) and prompting them to schedule a pick-up.
Q. Can we predict how our elevators will handle traffic while maintaining current social distancing guidelines?
A. The predictive value of elevator traffic analysis is highly dependent on the accuracy of the projected demand for service. Typical approaches where a consultant predicts handling capacity and round trip times during the peak five-minute traffic period based on industry standard arrival rates are not suitable for this situation. Handling capacity is almost guaranteed to be inadequate (particularly in office buildings) and queues will grow over extended periods of time without substantial reductions to daily occupancy and without spreading out demand. Waiting times for any particular passenger will be directly dependent on the number of people already waiting in line before them, and lines could potentially get very long well before the traditional five-minute peak period even arrives if demand is not mitigated compared to typical occupancy and peak period intensity.
Q. As a landlord, is there anything I can do to my elevators to help enforce a limit on the number of people riding in the car?
A. If you have a more sophisticated destination dispatch system, you can put a restriction on the amount of destination entries that are made. Keep in mind, though, this assumes every passenger enters their destination and doesn’t piggy-back another traveler. Also, many load weighing systems can be adjusted to a maximum load, whereby once the load is exceeded the car doors will not close and the car will not move. This is a possibility that will need to be pursued with your elevator contractor, since equipment and capabilities vary. With this in place, you’ll need to make sure tenants are aware of the ramifications of the limits, since they may think the elevator is not functioning if the car is overloaded and not moving.
Changes to Preventative Maintenance
Q. Should I pause ongoing preventative maintenance on my elevators and escalators?
A. No. It is important that the elevator and escalator units in your building are exercised and maintained regularly. Furthermore, it will be critical to have a full fleet of elevators as tenants re-occupy buildings. For more information on maintenance adjustments, please contact your BOCA Group representative.
Q. Should we have preventative maintenance done during business hours?
A. As we re-occupy our buildings, and attempt to limit passengers in the elevator cabs, it is important to have all elevators available. This may require preventative maintenance and repairs to move to overtime and weekends. BOCA Group suggests developing and agreeing to these plans now, so they can be quickly implemented with your vendor(s).
Looking Ahead – Changes in Coverage and Technology
Q. Are there touchless options for elevators?
A. Yes. The link below will provide a list of currently available options, as well as technologies which exist, that may not be immediately available in the US. If you would like to discuss touchless options, please contact your BOCA representative.
Q. In anticipation of a resurgence of the virus at a later date, and an associated shelter-in-place directive, should we amend our existing maintenance agreements to modify coverage during events like this?
A. Yes. BOCA Group can develop a crisis clause, as an amendment to your existing maintenance agreement, which will go into effect during major events which significantly alter occupancy and building availability.