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  • Chip Nyborg

Preparing for the Retroactive Door Position Monitoring Code

Written by Chip Nyborg, president of Tri-State Elevator, June 25th, 2018

“Delay is preferable to error.” - Thomas Jefferson

The laws of supply and demand will apply to the potential up-coming surge of work in the NYC elevator industry to comply with the retroactive Door Position Monitoring code. The cost of material, including the potential added cost of imported steel and aluminum tariffs, tight labor market, municipal compliance etc. are going to drive costs upward as the 1/1/2020 deadline approaches and demand increases. If work is not completed on time, then the NYC DOB will issue penalties and/or fines to the building owners. Real estate owners are going to have to initially absorb this cost and when possible pass it along to their tenants. We all want increases in safety, but what if the consequences are opposite of the intention? What happens when the constriction of supply drives demand so high that unintended costs surge?

What if conscientious building owners comply but are tapped for money and can only afford a basic circuitry up-grade while the car door operator is worn and not renewed, thus increasing the likelihood of entrapping passengers. The new circuitry will be working properly but the old worn out car door operator can’t work with such tolerances anymore and the result can be an increase in entrapments and/or shut downs? The result will be more emergency calls for entrapments. A previously reliable elevator is apparently less reliable now with the added safety feature. As an industry the last thing we want is an increase in entrapments as people are apt to panic and bad things happen when people panic.

Can the demand be tempered somehow? Given the constrictions of our industry is it prudent to spread the demand out over a greater period of time? I am no Luddite. I am for safer elevator operation, safer elevator professionals, safer work environments, so as I think about the potential Tsunami of work ahead, lifejackets may not be enough to keep our heads above water as the wave crashes down on us all. Will the supply constrictions of labor, time, and material make for hasty and poor decisions to meet the demand of complying with the governmental mandate?

Will the results of all this work and money spent to improve safety pan out as the regulators had hoped for? What is the acceptable cost for the incremental increase in safety?

What if safety decreases?

“The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people—and especially of government—always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.” - Library of Economics and Liberty

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