Fire Insurance For Homes With Elevators: Safety And Liability Concerns – Elevators are in use in many buildings, both commercial and residential, and making sure they are in good working order is key to public safety in general.
A daily casual lookaround in addition to a more thorough periodic inspection will help a building owner detect any warning signs of damage or impending elevator failure. Elevators are in use in many buildings, both commercial and residential, and looking to ensure they are in good working order is key to public safety in general.
Fire Insurance For Homes With Elevators: Safety And Liability Concerns
Elevators or lifts are installed in residential, commercial or retail properties that rise up to an average of four to five floors.
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On the surface, an elevator is just a metal box that you enter to push buttons and be taken to a given floor of a building, but apart from the visible box, a door and buttons, there is more to an elevator.
Samson Oluoch Onyango, a project engineer at KONE Uganda Limited says there are different types of elevators depending on the use. He adds that elevators are ideal for all buildings, and any building with more than four floors must have an elevator. The overall function of an elevator is completely interesting.
“The capacity of the elevator required for a particular building is determined through analysis of a building’s traffic flow, and the energy consumed varies over a wide range from a kitchen elevator with a small capacity to transport food or bank elevators to ferry money from one floor to the next, to high-capacity lifts, for example parking lifts and lifts for hospital beds,” says Oluoch.
“Here we have passenger lifts, goods lifts, fire fighting lifts, bed lifts, etc. None of them are better than the other, as the type of building determines which type of lift should be installed,” he adds.
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Oluoch says that depending on the source of motive power, elevators operate differently, but traction is the most common type of elevator.
It involves a cabin (passenger compartment) connected to a counterweight via a drive motor using steel ropes or belts. Depending on the directional rotation of the motor, the cab (car) moves up or down the lift axle, while the counterweight moves in the opposite direction.
Oluoch says it is advisable to consult with the particular lift provider you have chosen before constructing the building, as different suppliers require specific plans to build the lift shaft.
However, he adds that this is not a must, as the basic requirements are the same across the board and the specific requirements can be adjusted to some extent depending on other factors, including government regulations (which vary by country).
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Meanwhile, Baker Mwesigwa, an engineer at Mwesigwa Constructions, says an elevator can be added to an already existing building or even replaced.
He adds that for ease of access, there are some preferred locations where home elevators should be installed for the benefit of users.
These include; close to the stairs or a clear open space that is easily accessible without disturbing walkways.
Failure to have routine inspections performed on a qualified elevator can lead to shutdowns that can ultimately cause safety issues.
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Mwesigwa says each lift will have its own maintenance control plan and the documents may change in the event of recalls, replacements or inoperability.
“A maintenance control plan consists of features such as recommended intervals for servicing and testing, instructions on how to maintain the equipment and code snippets for proper maintenance, all of which must be professionally maintained depending on the country’s regulations,” he says.
“We have an in-depth and comprehensive modular maintenance plan which understands that different components of the lift require maintenance at different intervals,” Oluoch told Daily.
“Most elevator breakdowns come from door problems, while only about 0.5 percent of the explanations come from the motor. This means that the number of times you need to maintain the doors is higher than the motor for optimal operation of the equipment. Our system allows for maintenance every month, this does not include call-outs, repairs and overhauls,” he says.
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Oluoch adds that installation costs vary depending on the type of equipment, capacity and add-ons such as (cctv, 24/7 access control, connection/info screen, etc.)
Repair costs also vary depending on the cost of the components being repaired and the duration required for the repair.
Meanwhile, Harriet Nagawa, a resident of Najjera, who has an elevator in her four-story building, recommends daily checking for any possible faults, as well as practicing all the dos and don’ts as specified by the installation and manufacturing company to avoid elevators malfunction.
“While you don’t need to examine every aspect of your elevator, it’s a good idea to inspect your elevator daily while you’re using it,” she said.
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Among what is to be published regularly can be mentioned; the correct operation of all buttons, whether the door closes and opens correctly or other internal damage.
On many occasions, we’ve heard of people getting stuck in elevators, and Nagawa says the cause can be anything from a bad motor to a blown fuse.
Victims of elevator accidents can suffer serious injuries and other significant losses, which is why it is necessary to check out any probable malfunction of an elevator.
Some of the elevator faults include; a pulley misalignment or defect that causes elevators to drop quickly inside the shaft.
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“Many factors can interfere with the optimal operation of the elevator. It ranges from elevator use and abuse, installation quality, maintenance quality, wear and tear, time factor and other factors,” he says.
However, he adds that their company’s elevators equipped with uninterruptible power supply (UPS) will continue to operate, while those equipped with emergency battery drive (EBD) will stop, then the EBD will take over and drive the unit to the next nearest floor and open the doors to ensure that jamming does not occur.
Dealing with customers, most of whom do not understand the technicalities of elevator operation, is among the challenges elevator technicians face, according to Oluoch.
“You should remain calm, do not tamper with anything or even open the elevator door, instead press the emergency button or use the intercom or phone to contact the emergency services who will tell you what to do and can find you safely and quickly,” advises Mwesigwa .
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● Watch your step when entering or exiting the elevator as it may not be level with the ground.
● Do not place anything, including your hands, between or on the elevator doors or lean against the doors.
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The Importance Of Fire Doors
In the event of a fire occurring on your commercial property, it is crucial to have measures in place to slow the spread of the flames and minimize potential damage. This is where fire doors can help. These doors are specially designed to withstand the extreme heat of a fire for a period of time, temporarily blocking flames from moving from one area of a building to another.
Given that time is of the essence when it comes to keeping a fire under control, these doors can make all the difference in allowing additional building occupants to escape the premises and prevent damage to property. Still, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards – namely NFPA 80 – emphasize that fire doors must be routinely inspected and adequately maintained to be effective.
Review the following guide to learn more about how fire doors work and best practices for keeping these doors fully functional.
A fire door consists of several components – including the door, door frame, hinges, handles and additional hardware. Together, these parts are designed to withstand fire exposure for a certain period of time, slowing the spread of flames and smoke in different parts of the affected property.
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These doors can vary in size, materials and layout (e.g. a swing, sliding, hinged or roller door). These doors are typically used within wall openings and stairwells in buildings. Installing fire doors in wall openings can help prevent flames from spreading to additional areas on the same floor of a property. Implementing these doors in stairwells can deter a fire from traveling between different floors of a property and potentially allow additional building users to escape safely via the stairwell. Fire doors can also give firefighters better access to the property in general, enhancing firefighting efforts.
Each fire door is designed to meet the standards of its resistance rating, which represents how long the door can actually withstand fire exposure before eventually succumbing to the heat and smoke. This rating is determined through various testing procedures and applies not only to the door, but also to its entire parts. Fire door resistance ratings can vary from 20 minutes to three hours. For example, if the door can withstand fire exposure for one hour, then it will
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