A senior legislator has urged the government to pay more attention to the management of elevators in residential buildings as the safety risks they pose increase with age.
Xiao Jie, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the country’s top legislature, expressed his concern while reporting to the committee on the implementation of the Special Equipment Safety Law.
Adopted by the NPC in June 2013, the law went into effect on Jan 1, 2014. It defines special equipment as that which may pose major risks to people and their property. Examples of special equipment include boilers, gas storage and pipes, elevators and passenger ropeways such as chair lifts and cable cars.
Xiao’s report was compiled based on feedback from inspection tours taken by lawmakers to various provincial-level regions, including Liaoning, Fujian, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
“The potential safety hazards of residential elevators cannot be ignored. In recent years, problems with aging residential elevators have gradually emerged,” Xiao said, citing Zhejiang and Fujian as examples.
Zhejiang has 86,000 residential elevators that have been in operation for more than 15 years, while Fujian has 32,000 such elevators. The figures represent roughly 10 percent of their total elevators, he said.
Due to the lack of mechanisms to assess the safety risks of the elevators, many of them operate with hazards for an extended period of time, he said.
“We urgently need to address the safety risks of the old equipment,” he continued.
The vice-chairman noted various factors that have been hindering the safety management of aging residential elevators.
For example, multiple entities are involved in their upkeep, including building owners, property management companies and maintenance providers. This often leads to a lot of buck-passing when it comes to dealing with problems, he said.
Some property management companies choose to outsource maintenance services at prices as low as possible, making it hard to guarantee the effectiveness of the maintenance work, he added.
Furthermore, in some major cities, owners are not so willing to provide necessary funds to repair and maintain elevators. Though some local governments offer subsidies and even pay all the expenses needed to upgrade some elevators in residential buildings that have no property management services or maintenance funds, only a small number of aging elevators have been upgraded, Xiao said.
More money and a long-term mechanism are needed to address the problem and ensure safety, he added.
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