SOURCE: British Columbia Safety Authority

British Columbia Safety Authority

January 28, 2016 14:50 ET

BC Safety Authority Notifies 14 Building Owners of Potential Fines and Elevator Shut-Downs

NEW WESTMINSTER, BC--(Marketwired - January 28, 2016) - BC Safety Authority (BCSA) has notified 14 building owners in British Columbia that they will face a $15,000 fine and have their potentially unsafe elevators shut down if they do not comply with provincial safety requirements that have been in place since 2010.

This action is being taken as a last resort to enforce a BCSA safety order that gave owners five years to upgrade or remove their single bottom cylinder elevators, which are susceptible to corrosion that can lead to release of hydraulic fluid. This can result in the elevator's uncontrolled descent, which has caused injuries and fatalities in other parts of North America.

BCSA has provided elevator owners with notifications, letters and numerous opportunities to comply and upgrade their single bottom cylinder elevators since the safety order was issued more than five years ago.

"Our top priority is the safety of people in British Columbia," says Jason Gill, Provincial Safety Manager for Elevating Devices. "There are significant and escalating safety concerns with single bottom cylinder elevators, so they need to be fixed now or removed from service."

Single bottom cylinder elevators were installed in some buildings with fewer than seven floors prior to 1977. Continued operation represents an unacceptable risk to the lives and safety of the people using them, because the risk of failure increases as the equipment ages. All affected elevators are now several decades old.

BCSA consulted with industry before issuing the safety order in 2010 to ensure that some 1,300 owners of elevating units, as well as elevating contractors, had sufficient time to take action and comply. Since then, over 98% of owners have fulfilled their safety responsibility.

BCSA only takes enforcement measures when owners neglect their safety responsibilities and fail to comply. BCSA has notified non-compliant building owners that they will face a fine of $15,000 and, unless immediate action is taken, their elevator may be removed from service on or after March 14, 2016.

Under BC regulations, the onus is on building owners to inform BCSA of the steps they have taken to remove or upgrade their single bottom cylinder elevators.

BCSA is maintaining an online list of buildings with non-compliant elevators. Owners are being encouraged to post notices in their buildings, so occupants and users are aware of the potential for shut-down and can make any necessary alternative arrangements.

All materials relevant to this matter can be viewed on BCSA's website at: www.safetyauthority.ca/hydraulic-elevators.

Quotes by industry leaders:

"Over the last five years, the vast majority of condo owners have taken steps to ensure their elevators comply with safety requirements. In the interest of safety, it's now time for the last few units to be upgraded or removed from service. Public safety is essential for strata owners in BC."

  • Tony Gioventu, Executive Director, Condominium Home Owners' Association of BC (CHOA)

"As the unified voice for the rental housing industry across BC, we understand the importance of ensuring the safety of elevators in rental buildings. Compelling owners to bring their elevators into compliance with safety requirements or remove them from service will ultimately help to protect both landlords and their tenants' right to access safe housing."

  • David Hutniak, Chief Executive Officer, LandlordBC

"It is in the interest of public safety to shut down elevators where the owner has failed to comply with safety requirements put in place five years ago. TRAC encourages tenants who are affected by the shutdown of the elevator in their building to explore their rights, including reduced rent and the potential to end their tenancy early. Tenants' rights to access safe housing includes the right to be safe in their elevator."

  • Jane Mayfield, Executive Director, Tenant Resource & Advisory Centre (TRAC)

"As the principal voice for the commercial real estate industry, BOMA BC values the importance of a strong technical safety system for the people of British Columbia. When it comes to elevators, commercial building owners and managers understand the need to ensure their equipment meets safety requirements and is properly maintained. Oversight of the safety of elevating devices inspires confidence in our members and clients."

  • Paul LaBranche, President, Building Owners and Managers Association of BC (BOMA BC)

"Jurisdictions across North America have recognized the hazard associated with corrosion of unprotected buried cylinders used on hydraulic elevators. Our members are actively engaged in the industry and believe that safety is a shared responsibility. Our members are available to provide advice and services to elevating device owners to ensure that their elevators are compliant with safety requirements."

  • Heiner Marnet - Western Region Chair, Canadian Elevator Contractors Association (CECA)

Learn more at the following web links:

About BC Safety Authority

BC Safety Authority is an independent, self-funded organization mandated to oversee the safe installation and operation of technical systems and equipment, including elevating devices. In addition to issuing permits, licences and certificates, it works with industry to reduce safety risks through assessment, education and outreach, enforcement, and research.

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