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Daley Won't Let Chicago Get The Shaft

By Samantha Abernethy in News on May 7, 2009 9:45PM

Photo by flickr user: eholubow.

Mayor Daley announced this afternoon that he will hire outside elevator inspectors to relieve the backlog for the city elevator inspectors, after the Chicago Tribune reported that nearly 70 percent of the city's elevators have not been inspected in the last year, even though laws require annual inspection. The Tribune article also said that the city does not keep records on whether or not an elevator has been brought back up to code after failing an inspection.

Many large buildings do have building maintenance to protect themselves from liability, and the city says it has inspected every elevator for which they received a 311 call. However, the city also acknowledges that their elevator inspection crew is grossly understaffed.

"Given the recent building boom and the addition of hundreds of new buildings with new systems, the number of needed inspections -- both new inspections and annual inspections -- has increased substantially," the city said in an e-mail response. "This has dramatically impacted the bureau's ability to complete annual inspections."

In Chicago, there are about 2,000 elevators per inspector, although a more typical ratio is 550 elevators per inspector. New York City has about three times as many elevators as Chicago, and it employs four times as many full-time inspectors. They also contract work to private companies to keep up with annual inspections.