The TSSA Elevator Inspector has been here. What should I do?Doug Guderian
In the Province of Ontario, the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) is responsible for regulating the safety of elevating devices under the Technical Standards & Safety Act 2000. Part of their due diligence is periodic inspections of all regulated elevating devices based on a “risk-based” cycle. When a TSSA Elevator Inspector finishes their inspection they are required to get an E-mail copy of the report to the owner or to the designated property manager.
As a building owner/manager, your first step should be to make sure that you get a copy of the inspector’s report (if the inspector is unable to find a person on site who can give them an email address to send the report to, TSSA will try to get an email address through the phone numbers they have on record, but you can always contact the TSSA to request an Email copy of a recent inspection report). If you get a chance to ask the inspector to explain any deficiencies on the report, that interaction would also be very helpful in determining your next steps.
The periodic inspection report will usually fall into one of the categories listed below. (note – the periodic inspection frequency is determined by a combination of the risk of your elevating device and the availability of inspectors. Typically a TSSA inspector will visit your elevator once every one to three years). Read over the deficiencies, try to determine which category they fall into and then take the actions described here to get the deficiencies resolved. It is important to deal with the deficiencies within the timelines on the inspection report to avoid the penalty of triple fees when the inspector returns to find the deficiencies still outstanding, and must return a third time. Send a copy of the TSSA inspector’s report to your elevator maintenance contractor, since they often don’t receive the information any other way. Get in touch with your elevator maintenance contractor to work out a coordinated strategy to quickly resolve any deficiencies.
Possible outcomes from the Inspection Report:
- Clean Sheet – No Deficiencies:Congratulations, you and your elevator maintenance contractor have been doing a great job in keeping your elevating device safe and in compliance with the safety code! No further action is required. File your report where you can find it if you ever need it and keep doing what you have been doing. The average number of periodic inspections in Ontario that are passed on the first inspection is 29%. Some of the more diligent elevator contractors achieve a success rate of almost double this number, thus saving everyone a lot of grief and money (Note: Elevator One’s statistic is just shy of twice the industry average at 56.7% of first inspections passing). Sample clean sheet Inspection Report
- Owner Deficiencies – no elevator contractor involvement required:Some simple deficiencies like “post the current elevator licence” or “remove the material stored in the elevator machine room” can easily be rectified without the assistance of a licensed elevator mechanic. These types of directions should be quickly rectified by the building’s personnel to get them out of the way. Sample owner order Inspection Report
- Owner Deficiencies – elevator contractor involvement required:Some deficiencies like “Remove the excess water from the elevator pit” will require the building owner to coordinate their work with that of a licensed elevator mechanic. In this case the elevator mechanic is required to provide access to the elevator pit, to ensure the safety of those working in the pit and to ensure that none of the regular elevator safety features of the elevator are inadvertently damaged by the plumbing or waterproofing contractors working in the pit. These types of deficiencies often require the longest to resolve, since there are often many steps and much coordination involved. It is therefore imperative to get started on them right away to meet the compliance time lines.
- Elevator Contractor Deficiencies – resolution is not included in the maintenance agreement: The costs for correcting deficiencies like “install a pressure sensor in accordance with director’s order 248/11” are typically not included in the coverage of an elevator maintenance agreement, but the work must still be done by a licensed elevator mechanic. The owner and elevator contractor will need to go through the process of determining the costs of the repair or upgrade and the associated approval process. The Elevator contractor can then get the required parts and schedule the work. It is again prudent to get this process started quickly to allow the contractor sufficient time to achieve compliance within the TSSA’s required time-lines. Sample contractor order Inspection Report
- Elevator Contractor Deficiencies – resolution is included in the maintenance agreement: The costs for correcting deficiencies like “clean the elevator car top” are typically included in the coverage of an elevator maintenance agreement. Your elevator contractor will need a copy of the TSSA report so that the work can be done within the required time lines.
Inform TSSA that the Deficiencies are Complete
Once all of the deficiencies are completed, there are often two options.
A: Voluntary compliance: If this option is available for the types of deficiencies that you have, it will have been noted by the inspector on the periodic inspection report. This is the least expensive option because you simply complete the form and return it to TSSA so that they can track that the work has been completed. TSSA does spot-check some of these voluntary compliances to ensure that the system is not being abused, but there is no charge for these spot checks as long as the voluntary compliance was not completed fraudulently. Sample owner order Inspection Report – with Voluntary Compliance Option
B: Follow-up inspection: This is the default option if nothing else has been done and no information has been communicated to the inspector. The inspector will return to the site for a follow-up inspection. If all the deficiencies have been completed, the inspector will charge the regular inspection fee. If there are any of the original deficiencies still outstanding, there will be a penalty charge of 3 times the regular inspection fee and the inspector will have to come back for another follow-up inspection with the associated fees. The inspector may also lock the elevator out of service until the deficiencies are completed and inspected. Sample owner order Inspection Report – no Voluntary Compliance
Elevator owners, who take a very proactive role in dealing with the results of the TSSA inspections, will have a better understanding of the quality of the safety related work that their elevator contractor undertakes. They will also be able to save significant re-inspection costs. As a building owner builds a track record of good performance with the TSSA and works with an elevator contractor with a good track record, TSSA’s risk based inspection model will result in fewer periodic inspections. This will save the building owner even more money.