On May 9, the elevator accident in one of the multi-apartment buildings in Ajapnyak administrative district of Yerevan served a reason for the public to highlight the decayed elevator economy of the capital. This time, one of the four elevator cables cut because of which the elevator ran to the first floor faster than usually. Furtunately there are no physically injured people, but what kind of pschycological impact the four people in the elevator got at the moment of the failure is known only to them.
On the basis of the residents’ complaints, Yerevan Mayor Hayk Marutyan hurried to inform the citizens, that from the first days of his tenure the issue is in the center of attention, and a project is being developed to replace all the old elevators. He also underlined, “Residents should also support us in this regard.”
Ampop Media has been carrying out a study on the elevator economy of Armenia over the last months to find out whether it is possible to substitute the old elevators with new ones with the community current allocations or citizens’ participation. And if yes, in which period of time? The latest accident coincided with our study.
24 year old Hasmik, resident of one of the multi-apartment buildings of Yerevan Sheram street, says that the elevator often breaks. Hasmik says the residents do not make any complaints to the Municipality as specialists usually fix the broken part. “Though no dangerous consequences occurred, the residents had to wait in the elevator after the break until they will be brought out.”
The elevator has been serving the residents of 9-floor building and their visitors for 40 years since it has been put into operation. In case of failure, it creates difficulties for elderly people living on high floors and people with disabilities and those having newborns.
It is possible to come across breaking or not working elevators in the multi-apartment buildings of Yerevan, especially in those buildings which are part of the housing fund inherited from the Soviet Union.
Elevator expiration date is 25 years. In multi-apartment buildings of Armenia, especially in Yerevan, 96% of elevators passed the age limit. Some of them have been working even for 50 years.
Nevertheless, Lusine Hovhannisyan, Head of the Elevator Expertise Division of the Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) of the Republic of Armenia, in the interview with Ampop Media says that “calendar years” of elevators are not sufficient for making a decision to change them.
Hovhannisyan grounds her words by the fact that over years elevators have been repaired, safety loops have been changed, which “prolong” their life.
“But I quite agree that depreciation of elevators is evident, it’s time to start changing the elevators taking into account their installation data and expertise results.”
According to MES, the number of citizens affected by malfunctions, accidents and failures of elevators in Armenia during the period of 2012-2017 makes 9 – out of 4 victims and 5 injured. In 2018, 2 accidents occurred, both with death.
And though in 2013-2016, 521 new elevators were imported to Armenia, none of them was used for repairing old elevators. Only 270 out of the imported elevators were used, and only in new buildings.
Elevator Supervision Mechanism
According to the law, elevators should expertise each year. In case of negative conclusion, MES sends a referendum letter to the condominium.
Lusine Hovhannisyan states that functions of expertise department of technical security end with expertise making. Condominiums have to implement supervision.
“When an elevator is given a negative conclusion, we give the sample to the authorized body – the Ministry, whose department sends an order letter to the condominium.”
The elevator with a negative conclusion must not be used until being repaired or replaced by a new one. Condominium must stop operation of elevators with negative conclusion. Anyhow, it is not always that this obligation is implemented.
In case of not obeying the law, the RA Law “On State Regulation of Technical Safety Provision” imposes a penalty. But supervision systems do not work properly. On the other hand, residents of buildings with 13 and more floors may be against ceasing of elevator usage.
By the way, the law also imposes liability for not registering elevators in the registry of industrial dangerous facilities and not carrying out annual technical examination, but the state supervision mechanisms fail here as well.
According to the data of MES “National Center of Technical Security” SNCO, more than 25% of the elevators of RA are not being expertised. E.g. only 4087 elevators out of 5645 registered ones in Yerevan were expertised in 2018.
Multi-apartment buildings management bodies, however, claim that they can’t pay the annual technical expertise fees.
And which elevators are expertised and which ones not, is difficult to guess as there are no expertise conclusions in elevators for the residents to be aware and safe.
Another problem is connected with the so called “usable” elevators, as they lack the kind of spare parts which are not produced for long.
Yerevan Municipality is going to allocate 31 mln AMD from the city budget of 2019, while in 2017 and 2018, 104 mln and 109 mln AMD was allocated for the same purpose.
The reduction of the money is grounded by the fact that Yerevan Municipality envisages to carry out a project which will replace old elevators with new ones, so there will be no old elevators in the city. The project will be implemented with the issuance of municipal bonds, i.e. the Municipality will issue and put bonds in the bond market. So, the gained sum will be directed to purchase and replacement of elevators.
During the briefing with journalists, Marutyan said the following:
“When the project is ready, we will represent it to the Government, as the city authorities are not able to solve the issue alone, it requires investment of tens of millions of dollars. As elevators belong to the residents, our task is to replace the elevators and get the spent money back from the residents, as the elevators will be theirs,”informed the Mayor.
Secure operation of elevators in the regions of Armenia is more difficult than in Yerevan. Elevators of the regions should be annually expertised as well, but the number of not expertised elevators is higher here. Supervision mechanisms are weaker, too.
Lusine Hovhannisyan states that there are basically the same problems in the regions as in the capital: “the only difference is that there are more elevators in Yerevan,” says Hovhannisyan.
Story by Ani Avetisyan
Data analysis and infographic by Karine Darbinyan
Translated by Mary Grigoryan
Responsible editor Suren Deheryan
For Armenian original CLICK HERE
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