A Organized Approach to Hiring an Elevator Consultant Firm
Who are elevator consultants? Elevator consultants are specialized industry experts who practice in an undefined profession. In many jurisdictions there are no requirements for starting an elevator consultant firm thus allowing anyone to call themselves an elevator consultant.
So how can you assure yourself of expert competency? One way is to look for elevator licensing required in jurisdictions such as Ontario’s TSSA. (Technical Standards and Safety Association), which place some requirements on Consultants.
Who can legally inspect your elevators? In all jurisdictions there are requirements to Work in and around elevators. These are often the same needed to carry out the necessary inspections and test required to perform the services of a competent elevator consultant. This could include a Special Electrician’s License. However, a more stringent due diligence approach would include the requirement of the elevator industry’s Journeyman Elevator Mechanic designation, (JEM) or the TSSA designation EDM-A. This gives the elevator consultant unrestricted abilities to inspect, test and even dismantle your vertical transportation equipment. Do they have a business license?
This will ensure your elevators and more importantly the elevator passengers aren’t placed at risk as a result of an unsafe inspection process which can have immediate and long term effects.
What if something happens during the consulting process?
You will want to make sure your Elevator Consultant has General Liability Insurance in amount of not less than $5,000,000 the industry standard. The Elevator Consulting professional should also carry a minimum of $1,000,000 ($2,000,000 aggregate) Professional Liability Errors & Omissions Insurance the industry standard. Without coverage you may bear the entire risk and cost of inevitable litigation. Ask for certificates of Insurance!
What constitutes elevator expertise and is the elevator consultant you will hire an experienced expert? Using an automobile as an analogy, you might complain to the manager or salesman about your concerns but you certainly wouldn’t expect them to provide technical expertise.
Elevator Companies hire graduate engineers right out of university to sell their elevators. Once these graduates find out the company can’t and won’t (all never do) sign off their Professional Engineering designation because they were only working as an elevator salesman. They must seek employment elsewhere to get their professional designation. (Elevator companies employ only a tiny percentage of engineers. (Less then 1 in 500 employees).
With their designation achieved through unrelated disciplines, some elevator salesman return to work in the elevator industry by starting their own Elevator Consultant firm because they
learned there are very few elevator consultants. They list their sales experience as their years of industry expertise. They understand the value of experience and knowledge and fail to recognize the discernible difference between their lack of practical experience and theoretical experience. Don’t confuse an individual’s experience with the Company they worked. Question their experience call their former employers of the last ten years.
Is the Elevator Consultant an Independent Expert? Often because of their limited or non existent resources an elevator consultant can be forced to maintain direct and/or indirect associations with elevator contractors due to their lack of technical expertise. Obviously this is an unstated conflict of interest. Some also leverage their firm’s years of experience by implying imaginary employment of industry retirees. In some instances they actually employ elevator Contractor employees.
Engineers are an important part of any Consulting Group. Their involvement to common sense engineering needs is often required to complement, not provide elevator expertise. There are only a few of Engineers with a comprehensive field expertise.
When you hire a competent Elevator Consultant firm, it should provide you with a team of experienced industry professionals with practical experience and a proven track record. The firm’s memberships, associations are another sign a firm is worthy of consideration.
Hiring the right Elevator Consulting firm is a wise investment. Understand not all Elevator Consultants are equal or are what they claim to be.