The City of Chicago will be instituting new rules governing the Annual Inspection Certification (AIC) Program, effective August 17, 2016. Here is what property managers should know.
Overview of the Program
The AIC Program requires property owners/property managers to document the compliance of elevators, escalators, and other conveyance devices within their buildings to comply with the Chicago Municipal Code requirement of annual inspection. A common misconception is that the Program solely governs elevators. That is not the case.
Rather, every elevator, moving walk, material lift, stairway chairlift, vertical reciprocating conveyor, moving stage, movable orchestra floor, platform lift, and escalator located within the Chicago Central Business District (CBD) must comply with Chicago inspection requirements. The CBD consists of those streets or parts of streets within the area bounded by a line as follows:
- beginning at the easternmost point of Division Street extended to Lake Michigan;
- then west on Division Street to LaSalle Street;
- then south on LaSalle Street to Chicago Avenue;
- then west on Chicago Avenue to Halsted Street;
- then south on Halsted Street to Roosevelt Road;
- then east on Roosevelt Road to its easternmost point extended to Lake Michigan;
- including parking spaces on both sides of the above-mentioned streets.
The Program currently governs over 1,800 buildings.
To register, users must obtain a reference number and PIN number from the Chicago Department of Buildings. With that information, users can create an online account to manage each buildings conveyance devices. Every building within the CSB is required to hire a third-party, state licensed inspection company to inspect its elevators and conveyance devices to certify that they are properly maintained.
Approximately 20 state licensed companies are authorized to perform inspections for the AIC Program. The website permits account holders to view a list of eligible companies, and assign them the inspection process. However, this highlights a common issue that property managers must address. Simply assigning an inspection company to a property through the website does not guarantee that an inspection will be completed. Rather, additional steps must be performed.
- The building must first enter into a contract with the company to engage its services. This process is not completed through the portal. Only once a contract is in place can a user then successfully use the website to assign the building to a company and ensure that an inspection will be performed.
- After the inspection is finished, the company reports the results to the account holder, and updates the status of the devices on the AIC web portal. These findings are then transmitted to the Department of Buildings. Once completed, the building will be able to view and print its certificate online.
Changes to the Program
Beginning in mid-August, the AIC Program will be implementing several changes designed to improve the process for all parties involved. To begin with, the reporting deadline for all buildings will no longer be December 31st of each year. Instead, depending on the building, the deadline will be either at the end of March, June, September, or December. This change will alleviate the end of year flurry caused by numerous buildings attempting to schedule inspections all at once.
The newly redesigned portal will send out several email notifications of the upcoming deadline. Messages will be sent out 6 months before, and also 30 days prior to the deadline. Property managers should take advantage of the notifications to ensure an inspection is completed, and take note of the benefit of acting upon receipt of the first message. A successful inspection does not result in compliance for just 12 months from the date of inspection. Rather, conveyance devices will be found to be in compliance through the end of the reporting period.
For example, if a message is received at the end of June, with a reporting deadline at the end of December, an inspection can be scheduled in July. If the device is found to be in compliance, the certificate will be valid through the end of December of the following year.
In the past, condominium buildings often received violations for its parking garage or retail spaces. However, these spaces were not within its control. Many condominium buildings consist of several different portions, such as a residential building, a parking garage, and commercial space, all with their own elevators.
If, for example, the parking garage elevator was deemed non-compliant, the entire building, including the residential portion and commercial space, were also considered to be in violation. This resulted in condominium buildings subject to fines for violations outside of its control. The new Program attempts to solve this problem. To do so, the portal will:
- Maintain a database of all conveyance devices in a building, as well as where specifically in the building they are. This will allow each individual entity to register and manage its own devices, and only be responsible for the equipment within its control.
- Furthermore, the website will permit multiple people to be linked to each account, so that responsibility and duties can be shared between several interested parties. As a practical example, both the property manager, and assistant property manager will be able to access and manage the devices.
Finally, the modernized Program will now require compliance. This brings up a common error committed during the elevator inspection process. Once an inspection is completed, a certificate can be generated. However, this certificate does not signify that all obligations are met, and that the device is in compliance.
Frequently, an inspection reveals violations that must be cured, and a subsequent inspection must be performed to confirm that the repairs have been made. By requiring compliance, the Program will mandate that buildings follow through on all repairs, not simply perform an initial inspection. Property managers should be aware of this, and act to ensure that all conveyance devices are inspected, and all violations rectified well in advance of the reporting deadline.
Elevator compliance is a serious issue, including potential violations. The violations may carry a fine of up to $1,000.00 per day, for each violation that exists, with a maximum fine of $50,000.00.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding elevator inspections, do not hesitate to contact Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit at 855-537-0550 or visit our website at www.ksnlaw.com.