Thursday, January 9, 2014

Elevators Can’t Take the Cold?

20 elevators out of service within 4 days
$160K per month Contractor Blames Cold Weather for Outages

By Michael Horowitz

BRONX, NEW YORK, JANUARY 9- Twenty elevators were out of service between last Friday and Monday, leaving Co-op City shareholders in Buildings 12 without any elevator service for several hours on Sunday and leaving shareholders in Building 12 without any elevator service for several hours on Monday, informed sources told  the News this week.

Garages 1, 4, 5, and 8 reportedly had no elevators for several hours on Monday, said the sources, who wished to remain unidentified.

On Monday alone, 14 elevators were out of service for several hours at a time, the sources noted.

There were no reports, as of early this week, of shareholders being trapped in elevators for extended periods of time or of shareholders not being able to receive emergency medical care because of the elevator outages. 

Management officials are reportedly blaming the elevator outages on extreme temperature changes on last week’s snowfall, but critics of management are convinced that the outages resulted from a lack of proper maintenance.

The Ver-tech Elevator Co., Inc. has had a contract to maintain Co-op City’s recently rebuilt elevators since October 1999, but it was unclear, this week, if the elevator company or Co-op City’s management was responsible for the outages. 

Ver-tech is reportedly paid $160,000 per month, or close to $2 million per year, to maintain Co-op City's elevators, which were all reportedly upgraded in recent years. 

Co-op City has 192 elevators, so 20 elevators represent more than 10 percent of the elevators in the local community.

Commenting this week, civic activist Frank Belcher described the extensive elevator outages in the community as “totally unacceptable,” saying, “This is really no surprise to me. I have known, for quite some time, that the people who run Co-op City, who are ultimately responsible, are inept and incompetent. In this case, their incompetence endangered the health, welfare, and safety of the community’s shareholders and exposed the Riverbay Corporation to lawsuits relating to this lack of basic service.”

Belcher added, “You tell me that Co-op City pays an elevator contractor $160,000 per month to maintain our elevators, so we have a right to expect that our elevators will be properly maintained in all kinds of weather. It’s unacceptable for management to blame the elevator outages on the weather.” 

Belcher stressed, “It has been clear to me for years that this place is not properly maintained, so why would we think that the elevators are any different from the rest of Co-op City’s infrastructure?”

The elevator outages that were reported here last Friday were in Building 17, with one car out of service due to a broken hoist rope, and in Building 35, with one car out of service because of an issue with a sheave.

On Sunday, all four elevators were out of service in Building 35 for several hours due to a pipe break in the building’s basement.

On Monday, the following elevator outages were reported: Building 22B, two cars out of service due to a pipe break in the building’s basement; Building 12, all four cars out of  service for several hours due to a pipe break in the basement, and Garages 1, 4, 5, and 8, all eight cars out of service due to electrical boxes shorting out because of moisture.

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