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September 28, 2012

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Elevators run into maintenance woes

NEGLIGENCE of elevator maintenance, a severe shortage of repair workers, poor technical abilities and vicious competition are blamed for the irregularities in the city's elevator maintenance and repair market, a senior official with the city's quality watchdog said yesterday.

The city has about 151,000 elevators in use, with around 14,000 used for more than 15 years, but there are only 300 companies qualified to do maintenance and repair.

The city's elevator safety supervision regulation says an elevator should experience routine checks and maintenance every 15 days, which costs about 250 yuan (US$40) each time.

"Many repairmen are not professional and they cannot foresee potential risks and spot problems even if they have obtained basic certificates that allow them to work in the industry," according to Peng Li, deputy director with the special equipment inspection division of the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau.

It is recommended that a repair worker should be responsible for, at most, 30 elevators per year, but workers at many small companies oversee at least 40 to 50 to earn more money, Peng said.

Two elevator maintenance and repair companies have had their business licenses revoked for irregularities this year, and last year, it was six, according to Peng. Some were fined.

"Many elevators in the city have been operating for 15 to 20 years, exceeding their service life, as a raft of high rises started mushrooming in Shanghai in mid 1990s," said Qin Jiong, office director with the Shanghai Elevator Industry Association.

He said the major components such as the car and the controller of old elevators should be replaced with new ones.

A regulation regarding whether an elevator should be placed out of service will take effect in December, and Peng said it is being used as a trial with more improvements expected in the future. Some regulations on exams for the technical level of workers and making the elevator makers liable for maintenance are also under discussion, he said.


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