Web Exclusive – September 2017
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In this Industry Dialogue, Lee Rigby, treasurer of the Elevator Association of Florida and a longtime VT professional, shares his thoughts on the state of the industry in his state.
by Kaija Wilkinson
KW: How is vertical transportation (VT) regulated in Florida?
LR: The state is divided into six AHJs. The State of Florida regulates most of the state directly, but the following agencies regulate elevators in their own jurisdictions under contract with the state: City of Miami, City of Miami Beach, Broward County, Miami/Dade County and Reedy Creek Improvement District (Disney World).
KW: How healthy is the elevator industry in Florida right now, and what are the hotspots?
LR: I am aware of many elevator firms looking for elevator personnel. The new-installation business is up, and Miami seems to again have a skyline full of towers under construction. That appears to be our hotspot right now.
KW: What are industry challenges specific to Florida?
LR: Florida will be adopting the 2013 edition of A17.1 on December 31. Getting up to speed on the new maintenance control program and maintenance requirements is a challenge. The Bureau of Elevator Safety, along with industry input, is working on acceptance of the alternative testing addressed in that edition.
KW: It appears that almost all, if not entirely all, skyscraper construction is taking place in Miami, rather than Jacksonville, Orlando or Tampa. It seems like those cities had their most robust tall-building activity in the 1980s or 1990s, then were quiet. Is that an accurate assessment?
LR: I would concur with that view.
KW: Do you think the high-rise condo market in Miami has reached saturation? Why or why not?
LR: They are still building in Miami, and there are a lot of very old buildings that can give way to new ones. It would seem that there would be a saturation point, but you would not know it by the number of new units going in, many of which are high-end condominiums and office buildings.
Downtown Miami is a hotspot of tall-building activity; image courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Florida will be adopting the 2013 edition of A17.1 on December 31. Getting up to speed on the new maintenance control program and maintenance requirements is a challenge.
KW: Are there any challenges unique to building tall buildings (and the elevators that serve them) in Florida?
LR: Hurricane-force winds and being in the flood zone are two major factors. We have always had the issue with building on sand and needing to have deep pilings to support the structure.
KW: Which types of features do Florida customers prefer in their elevators?
LR: We are still having architects/engineers design buildings where the elevator opens directly into living units, which can be problematic for elevator maintenance and inspection. It is still considered a high-end feature. Destination dispatch is being specified more, and machine-room-less elevators are still gaining ground.
Lee Rigby is a senior inspector for ATIS Elevator Inspections, president of Elevator Safety & Technical Services and treasurer ofthe Elevator Association of Florida. He is based in Tallahassee.