I am a big fan of new elevator technology, I love seeing all the new gadgets, tools, apps, etc., and how they can make life a bit easier by streamlining a process or solving a problem, as it relates to vertical transportation. Recently I have been working with clients to solve some contract problems where they have purchased the latest and greatest Destination Dispatch control for their elevators. Just to be clear, I love this product and technology. In my former positions, I have seen firsthand how this product can solve traffic and security problems for clients and make outdated control systems operate like state-of-the-art systems.
Anything specialized typically comes with a price tag and from what I have seen by all the major OEM’s their DD products are competitive and yes, have a bit of a premium on the price. They have all developed good products that solve real problems and paying a bit more should be expected. If you read my blogs, then by now you know there will be a HOWEVER. So, however, it is important to have your eyes wide open when you entertain purchasing these products. Here are the non-negotiables you should have in the contract when buying.
- Full support of the product for 20 years
o Prevents upselling of software upgrades or vendor claims that the vintage system you have is no longer supported
- Negotiated maintenance pricing up-front before the equipment is installed
o We always recommend long term negotiated rates for proprietary equipment, it’s a marriage, so protect yourself
- On-site parts inventory
o Common use and specialized parts that can have long lead times should be negotiated upfront and kept on site
- 12-month cure clause for failure to perform
o I have witnessed some really difficult situations for owners when the product has ongoing issues, and an adequate cure clause with tear-out as the final step can force the vendor to take all measures needed to fix the problems
Please do not read this and think I am steering you away from this product, I am not. I have seen all the elevator vendors DD products and while some are better than others, they are all good quality products that solve real problems. However, I have also witnessed owners being taken advantage of because of the proprietary nature of the product. So, on the maintenance side watch out for these things.
o You should not be paying more than a 15% premium for maintenance over standard elevator controls, some vendors do not charge a premium.
- Maintenance frequency and duration
o The elevator still has all the moving parts that a normal elevator has, so do not let them tell you it needs less maintenance, you invested in the equipment now protect the investment with adequate maintenance
- Pay attention to the technician they assign to you.