CHOOSING A CONSULTANT
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to hire an elevator consultant. Who should you hire? Well, first off, “What are you looking for in a consultant?” Are you curious as to the quality of maintenance you are paying for? Are you looking to modernize? Do you need a Due Diligence report? Are you an architect that needs Design and Development services? How about project management? Do you need an analysis of how your equipment is performing?
The qualifications for consultants vary as much as medical specialists. All doctors go to medical school, but cardiologists aren’t qualified to treat cancer or perform hip replacement surgery. As such, only a very few elevator consultants are qualified to do everything, though most would tell you different. During this writers few years in the consulting field, we did run across a couple of people, who we honestly felt, were qualified to do everything in consulting, but this is not the norm. We also came in contact with many more who we felt had no business describing their self as an elevator consultant. This area of the industry is totally unregulated, so buyer beware.
If you are looking for a maintenance evaluation, someone with at least some field experience (working on elevators) is desirable. Unfortunately, a consultant with field experience is about as common as hens teeth. This is an area where most consultants feel they are experts. This writer does not agree, but sadly, that is the nature of the industry. You will find that most maintenance audits contain primarily housekeeping related deficiencies. You don’t need a consultant to tell you your equipment is dirty, but as long as you are willing to pay, they will gladly take your money. That’s not their fault. Who doesn’t like easy money. Get referrals from people you trust. Hire a consultant that has positive references. Get the best bang for your buck.
For modernization projects, some field experience is helpful up front but not a deal breaker. You need someone well versed in what equipment is out there, what is most reliable and what best fits your building’s needs. Someone with experience in project management is probably the most important qualification. You also need someone who can build a true, comprehensive, specification that includes work to be performed by others. This way, all of your bids are for the same thing. Alternate pricing is acceptable after the initial bid. You and your consultant can discuss weather any alternates are viable options. Elevator modernization is seldom an easy process. A good “Consultant / Project Manager” will make it a whole lot less painful.
Are you looking for a Due Diligence report? You would really benefit from someone with some field experience. You also need someone with literary skills. Chances are, a person qualified to consult and manage a modernization project is equally as qualified to provide you with a due diligence report.
If you are an architect looking for Design and Development services, you need a true Elevator Consultant, not someone who just retired from an elevator company and decided to hang up their shingle and call them self a consultant. This is an area where field experience is not necessarily helpful. D/D is a highly specialized area of elevator consulting. You need someone who can perform an accurate traffic analysis. You want to make sure you have enough vertical transportation, but you don’t want to overbuild. You need to know the optimum speeds, capacities, opening sizes and quantities of a vertical transportation system. Buildings make their money on leaseable square footage, not the amount of elevators. Of course, a building that is under elevatored can not demand top dollar for their floor space. Spend the money and get someone with a good resume. Their past projects will tell you if they know what they are doing.
If you want information as to what your elevators are actually doing and how they are performing, you are not looking for a consultant. An Analytical report is what you need. Field maintenance experience, expert knowledge of EMS systems and computer knowledge are a must when analyzing elevator data. Literary and management skills are also important. As with design and development, elevator analytics is a highly specialized field. Unlike a consultant’s report that is primarily an opinion piece, an analytical study only reports factual data provided by the elevator system itself. This is where field experience comes into play. An analyst needs to be able to navigate through the data they compile, understand what they are looking at and report in a format that the average person can understand.
Byrd Analytics meets and surpasses those qualifications.
When making your decision, remember, an Analyst is not a Consultant and a Consultant is not an Analyst. Also keep in mind, every consultant has his or her area of expertise, but only a select few are experts in multiple arenas. If you use the guidelines stated above when making your selection, you will have a much better chance of getting the best value for your dollar.