897: Elevator Inspection

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Elevator Inspection
Even governmental elevator inspectors get bored halfway through asking where the building office is.
Title text: Even governmental elevator inspectors get bored halfway through asking where the building office is.


This was the first of Randall's Tips, that was not a pro tip but more specifically an Industry tip.

In the United States, all elevators are subject to building codes and must be inspected on a somewhat-regular basis by city officials. After the inspector runs their rounds, the elevator's passing grade is noted in a certificate which is visibly placed in the elevator. Alternatively, it can be dumped in a filing cabinet in the building office where the owner can forget about it, and a placard is given to the elevator letting the passengers know where the certificate is (usually the aforementioned building office).

This comic is portraying a scenario which supposedly never happens. No-one is ever actually interested in seeing the elevator's certificate, and nobody gets this excited about going to a building office. So, as the caption humorously suggests: many elevators start using the placards for elevators that have not been inspected. No one cares enough to go to the building office and search the files for the certification that may not even exist. And as the title text says, even inspectors themselves get bored before they can get to the building office.

The moral of this comic is if you see an elevator with a notice that says that the "elevator inspection certificate is on file", you do not really know whether the notice is true, and so building owners use the certificates as substitutes for the bother and expense of actually getting their elevators inspected. The flaw in this logic is that, if an elevator were to fail catastrophically, any actual inspection certificate would almost certainly be retrieved and examined as part of the investigation. If the elevator had not been inspected as required, there would be very serious legal consequences. Hence, failing to carry out regular inspections would carry substantial risks.


[Two Cueball-like guys and Ponytail, lifting her arms above her head, are in an elevator. Cueball standing next to the door reads the sign above the control panel.]
Cueball: It says here that the elevator inspection certificate is on file in the building office.
Friend: Whoa, cool! Let's go look at it!
Ponytail: That sounds fun!
[Caption below the panel:]
Industry tip: Building owners know this never happens. Those signs mark elevators which have never been inspected.

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I wonder, how fast does elevator technology advance? Is there like a Moore's law for the speed and safety of elevators or something? Davidy²²[talk] 02:05, 17 April 2013 (UTC)

This comic has my doubts. If you placed the certificate in the actual elevator, it might be vandalized, stolen, or otherwise destroyed. Of course, you could just put a photocopy of the original certificate in the elevator, but not very many pointy-haired bosses are that clever. 03:41, 7 June 2014 (UTC)

That's why the certificate goes behind shatterproof clear plastic in a tamper-resistant frame. Casual vandals seldom carry the right kind of screwdriver. At one job, I used to hear people complain on a regular basis about expired certificates in the cars. Even with the building's management keeping up a diligent and ongoing maintenance program (be foolish not to. Who needs that kind of exposure?) an underfunded and overworked inspection bureaucracy can take their own sweet time making the rounds.
Elevator manufacturers, like submarine sailors, do not like change for its own sake. They don't get very effusive about innovation, so no Moore's law need apply. 14:31, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

I did add the incomplete tag because all elevators should be registered in the US. A regular inspection is mandatory. This comic is more about people trust in that devices or not. They are joking while they are frightened. Many people don't like to be inside of an elevator because they suffer on claustrophobia. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:33, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

I do not think so. Ponytail is clearly elated about the prospect to go and see this certificate. The idea is that this would never happen, and thus there are no reason to actually have any certificate. That the law states something else, is beside the point of the comic. --Kynde (talk) 11:50, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Does the bottom button look different? like someone might have taped 'zeppelin' over it? 20:48, 11 December 2015 (UTC)

That would be funny, but I think that is the emergency buttons for stop and alarm. Not so funny but probably the reason they are different... --Kynde (talk) 11:50, 10 February 2016 (UTC)