A leading UK lift consultant believes the suppliers and maintenance providers within the lift industry are, generally, letting themselves down and that companies need to change their attitude so that end-users get a better deal.
Steve Webb, who runs Hemsworth Associates and has been working in the lift industry for 40 years, is frustrated because he feels many companies are not providing the service they are supposed to and as a result the sector’s reputation is being tarnished.
Having worked as a lift provider, Webb has now crossed the fence to consultancy and is fighting to get lift companies back on the side of the end-user.
Webb is frustrated at the amount of lift breakdowns which take days and even weeks to repair, leaving elderly and disabled residents trapped in their apartments. Some providers, he says, purposely elongate the process to make more money while others fail to get parts from mainland Europe quickly.
“There’s no reason why people should be locked up in their flats because lift companies are not doing their jobs correctly.
“Lift maintenance for me is a false economy. I think a lot of end-users who need to have a lift maintained will ask how much it is and they’ll always go for the cheapest option.
“They’ll get 12 visits a year, the lift engineer turns up and often doesn’t do much but the client thinks they’re getting a good deal. The quality of maintenance out there is shoddy.”
“It’s very much poacher turned game keeper in that we’ve jumped the fence. I don’t like to beat anybody up but when you’re sitting on the client’s side of the table and you can see all this you’ve got to then say to the lift company, you’re taking the money, you’re not doing the job and it’s unfair.”
Webb does not believe that the sector will be quick to change. Part of what his consultancy is doing is writing up its own maintenance contracts to put the end-user back in control of the situation. He feels that in most cases the lift company will draw up the contract which is biased towards the provider and leaves the client with a poor deal.