Case of the Month: Elevator Water Damage

Jan 5, 2016 by

During an office remodel on the 14th floor, a forklift hit a fire sprinkler pipe. It took a while to shut off the water, so several hundred gallons of water flowed into the elevator shafts. The elevator repair cost was estimated to be approximately $600,000. Our client asked GEI to review the damages and evaluate if the repair costs were reasonable.

The building had two banks of elevators; one bank of five elevators to service the lower 14 floors and a second bank (which was not affected by the water) to service the upper floors. The cars were standard 3,500 lb. capacity, produced by a major manufacturer in 1988. They were now serviced by a different company, the original manufacturer’s warrantee having expired several years ago.

The adjuster, building representative, and our expert visited the site in a joint inspection. Our expert took over a hundred photos. At the time of the inspection, four cars were operating. One was non-operational. The original repair estimate said that the following items were damaged for all five elevators and required replacement:

· elevator ropes

· hoistway equipment

· car top equipment

· door equipment

· car jambs

· car station

· pit equipment

Our expert reviewed the claim and observed that the proposed repairs were essentially replacing the entire system for all five cars. This was unnecessary.

What was necessary were repairs (not a full replacement), in only one car. These were primarily composed of circuit boards, electric motors, and electronic sensors. Some components had shorted from the water, some showed current evidence of corrosion, and some would need to be replaced because of the potential for future corrosion.

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Car top – slight water damage

 

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Car station boards

 

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Door operator motor – no damage

 

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Elevator pit – nice and clean

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Car station open for inspection

 

The required repairs represented only a small fraction of what was originally claimed as water damaged equipment.

In conclusion, based upon the advice of our expert, the original claim of $600,000 was settled for less than $100,000.

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