Repairs, Maintenance and Renovations
Updates to Elevator Reporting Requirements: Focus on Safety and Accessibility
From the Volume 16, Summer 2023 issue of the CCI GHC Condo News Magazine
Elevators are a central element of many condominium corporations. They are the ‘highway’ responsible for giving owners, staff, and visitors access to various areas and amenities of the building. In some cases, hundreds of people per day will use the elevators to come and go. With the high volume of use seen daily, maintenance of these critical elements of the condominium corporation is of utmost importance.
Over the past year, there have been several changes to the legislation which affect reporting about elevator maintenance. These changes were introduced to address issues of elevator reliability in response to significant media attention in 2016 and 2017 and to provide buyers and renters information relevant to potential residence in a building.
The first phase came into effect on July 1, 2022, with the latest updates coming into effect on January 1, 2023. Property managers and condominium boards need to be familiar with these new reporting obligations. Failure to comply can result in significant fines.
New Regulations under the Technical Standards and Safety Act
Condominium Corporations now need to report any elevator ‘outage’ of 48 hours or more. New Regulations under the Technical Standards and Safety Act, require the owner of an elevator that is out of service for 48 hours or more to report 14 items including the details of the building where the elevator is located; details about the elevator, such as the manufacturer, the number of floors it services or how many other elevators service the same building; maintenance and upgrade history of the elevator; and the date, time and cause of the elevator outage.
The Technical Standards and Safety Association (TSSA) has established a Residential Elevator Availability Portal reporting tool that anyone can access on the TSSA website. Condominium corporations have 30 days after an elevator returns to service to file the report through the portal. Failure to report elevator maintenance can result in fines of $3,000 to the elevator’s owner (ie. the condominium corporation).
Since the introduction of these new reporting requirements in July 2022, additional changes have come into effect that condominium corporations should be familiar with.
TSSA Compliance Standards
The TSSA has reoriented its approach to elevator safety with the goal of turning into an outcome-based regulator. The TSSA is responsible for enforcing compliance standards to ensure the safety of elevators. The TSSA will carry out periodic inspections of elevators to assess their maintenance, state of repair (or disrepair) and compliance with safety standards. If the TSSA finds elements of the elevator that are non-compliant with its safety standards, it will issue orders for repair and conduct a follow-up inspection to confirm that the non-compliant items have been repaired.
However, with the latest changes, the TSSA is focusing on high-risk non-compliance (a list of the compliance standards can be found on the TSSA website) and is permitting owners to resolve ‘low’ or ‘medium’ risk items, known as ‘safety tasks’, without a further TSSA inspection. This will permit the TSSA to focus on high-risk issues and to ensure that elevators in residential buildings are as safe as possible for users.
Perhaps most importantly for condominium corporations, highrisk non-compliance must be rectified within 14 days, with some violations requiring immediate shut down and repair. In some cases, these repairs can be costly, particularly if they have to be carried out on a rush basis to comply with the TSSA order, and condominium corporations ought to plan for these potential expenses. Routine maintenance and inspection can assist to flag potential problems early and have them repaired at a lower cost and on a more relaxed timeline.
Changes to Elevator Code
There have also been changes to the Elevator Code in Ontario which are now in effect. These changes apply primarily to new elevator installations, such as in new condominium builds, but they will likely also be applicable to elevator modernization projects. Condominium corporations that are updating their elevators should consult with their elevator maintenance contractor or engineer about what new standards may be applicable to their modernization projects.
Several of the code changes are focused on accessibility and safety. For example, there must be two-way message displays in the elevator car for people who are hearing or speech impaired, authorized personnel must be able to access and view video of passengers anywhere in the car during an emergency, and door detectors must be able to detect an approaching object, not just an obstruction between the elevator doors.
The changes also include updates to the information that must be included in a Maintenance Control Program as well as changes to the program’s procedures. These primarily affect contractors but condominium corporations may want to ensure that their contractors are aware of the new requirements to ensure they are compliant.
As the transportation highway in a condominium building, elevator maintenance is something that cannot be overlooked. Residents are understandably frustrated when elevators are down for maintenance, but it is critical that safety remain paramount. The latest changes to elevator maintenance requirements focus on these safety aspects and providing accessible information to residents and potential buyers/renters when assessing the potential traffic in a building.
Jonathan Miller J.D (CAD)/J.D. (US) is a litigation partner at Shibley Righton with a focus on condominium, construction and real estate disputes and appearances before all levels of court in Ontario. When clients have problems he aims to provide timely and practical advise to find a resolution, and when a lawsuit cannot be avoided, he will fight for his clients every step of the way. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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