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Elevator and Escalator Consulting Engineers

Taking an Elevator Out of Service

It occasionally happens that the owner chooses to remove an elevator from service on a long term basis (months or years). To decommission an elevator it is necessary for the owner to contact the local safety authority and advise them that the elevator is to be shut down and the licence removed.

The elevator maintenance company should be instructed to shut down the elevator in such a way that it does not present a danger to the public. It is best if it is left on the car buffers at the bottom floor if it is a hydraulic elevator or on the counterweight buffers at the top floor if it is a traction elevator. The elevator doors should be left closed and the disconnect should be locked off with the fuses pulled and placed inside the controller. The key for the disconnect lock should be kept by building management in a secure place. A sign should be placed on the disconnect warning against starting up the elevator without proper authorization. This authorization would have to be given by the local safety authority at the request of the owner.
For a hydraulic elevator, the level of the oil in the reservoir should be noted and a sign placed prominently on the tank indicating that level. This is necessary to ensure that there is no leakage of oil from the cylinder or buried pipes during the shutdown period.
An elevator maintenance company will probably want an initial sum of money to put the elevator back in service should this become necessary at a later date. As well, the local safety authority will likely require a re-inspection for re-licensing. For this reason, it is not practical to shut down an elevator for a short period of time. It can be anticipated that the cost to put an elevator back in service will be roughly the equivalent of one year of maintenance. For this reason an elevator should not be taken out of service unless it is anticipated that it will not be used for at least a year.
The practices for elevator shut down are determined to a large extent by the local safety authority. For this reason it is desirable that they be contacted to ensure that the procedures followed are consistent with their regulations.