Extolling the Virtues of the Canadian Elevator Industry

The Canadian elevator industry has recently come under intense scrutiny, but many fail to realize the enormous economic and infrastructure benefits it provides us with. Elevators make life possible in our vertical city – and while they’re one of our most-used forms of transportation, they’re also one of the least understood. With so much negative press these days, we thought we’d extol the virtues of the Canadian elevator industry.

The keystone to our endless skyscrapers

Typically, unlike subway rides, streetcars or buses, the importance of elevators in our daily commute go unnoticed. For most city-dwellers, the elevator is an unremarkable machine that inspires none of the passion or interest that trains or jets do. However, without the elevator, there could be no downtown skyscrapers or residential high-rises, and city life as we know it would be impossible. In that sense, the elevator’s role in history has been no less transformative than that of the automobile. Our vertical trips come as footnotes, yet it’s those footnotes that make the Toronto skyline- and the modern city itself- possible. Just as the automobile unleashed the troubled geography of the North American suburbs, the elevator is the keystone to the endless skyscrapers that define our Downtown. Faster and more reliable elevators have played a key role in making supertall buildings in Toronto possible.  The speed and reliability of elevators is crucial to making future projects like YSL Residences, Mirvish + Gehry, and The One habitable.

Job opportunities and above average wages

Elevator mechanic was ranked the 10th best job in Canada in 2017. There are many reasons for this, but one of them is the tremendous growth in the field. Over the last five years, the number of elevator mechanic jobs in Canada has grown 94%. The field is booming, which increases the amount of opportunities for elevator mechanics. The industry has seen a strong salary growth of 16% from 2010 to 2016. With an average yearly income of $84,000, elevator mechanics are making more than double the median individual income in Canada.

Aside from a higher-than-average salary, elevator technicians enjoy solving problems and working with their hands. One mechanic likens the work to solving puzzles, and says he enjoys the challenges of figuring out what is wrong with the elevator. Another elevator mechanic likes seeing the looks on people’s faces when they free them from an elevator entrapment.

Speaking of elevator entrapments……

When it comes to elevator entrapments, there has been a common misconception that the number of elevator entrapments in Toronto has risen dramatically. The important thing to note is that although there has been an increase in elevator entrapments, that number is not disproportionate to the rapid increase in high-rise buildings, and by the same token, elevators, being built in the city. When you have more elevators, you are going to have more entrapments.

The growth of the industry, above average salary, and increase in opportunities in the field, coupled with the benefits elevators provide our growing cities, make the Canadian elevator industry one that deserves a lot of respect.

FIELDBOSS stays current on industry trends to keep you informed on what’s happening in the elevator world. Contact us if you want to improve your elevator business and contribute to North America’s rapidly growing urban landscape.

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What’s Wrong with the Canadian Elevator Industry?

The decline in Canadian elevator service is linked to a mix of industry problems and external factors including lack of qualified mechanics, cost pressures, changing demographics and regulatory reforms, which have all converged to create a challenging environment.

Here are 5 challenges the Canadian elevator industry is currently facing:

1 -TECHNICIAN SHORTAGE AND ROUTE LOADING

One of the issues facing Canada’s elevator industry stems from a shortage of qualified elevator mechanics. This results in “route loading”- slightly increasing the number of elevators a technician needs to service on their route. As their routes get bigger and more unmanageable, mechanics struggle to keep up with the number of elevators they must maintain.

2 – AGING WORKFORCE

There has also been a change in the demographics of elevator mechanics. Many of the industry’s senior mechanics have retired and new mechanics are joining the trade. These younger mechanics lack the experience to troubleshoot as effectively as the more experienced ones which leads to higher call-back rates..

3 – AGING EQUIPMENT

There are more elevators than ever before, but they aren’t all brand-new. Elevator contractors are increasingly dealing with a dilemma as parts, and technicians familiar with the aging equipment, become hard to find or disappear altogether. 1,500 of Ontario’s 18,000 residential elevators are more than 50 years old, and 10,000, the majority, are between 25 and 50 years old. Even with regular maintenance, older equipment is more prone to need regular service or part replacement. These new parts commonly come from abroad, which means service or repairs for older elevators not only happen more frequently, they often take longer, since parts take longer to obtain.

4 – INCREASING POPULATION AND CONSTRUCTION:

The TSSA reported that “Contractors responded to 9,649 elevator entrapments in 2016 across residential and institutional buildings” which is “the equivalent of 26 elevator entrapments per day in Ontario”. Canada’s major elevator companies have come under scrutiny for entrapments, breakdowns and delayed repairs. However, according to an experienced elevator mechanic and consulting engineer, “Doubling the number of entrapments from 2001 to 2016 is not unreasonable given factors such as increased population, increased number of elevators, and the increased ability to report an entrapment.” There is a record number of elevators being built in Toronto, due to the number of new high-rise buildings and condos being built in the city, and not enough mechanics to maintain them. With so many elevators to service, today’s trained technicians have more work to do than ever before.

5 – REGULATORY REFORMS

Elevator codes and regulations are constantly changing. Cat 1 and Cat 5 testing, MCPs, Directors Orders and revoked Directors Orders, and then there are the new Ontario laws that have been passed but not yet enforced. It can be a challenge to keep on top of them all. If you don’t have a process to stay on top of them, you could be non-compliant and your business will be fined.

 

Contact FIELDBOSS for more information on how our software can help your elevator service company run a profitable and efficient program amidst the complicated world of the Canadian elevator industry.

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