Case Studies

Centennial Elevator Industries Inc.: Elevating Safety Standards

  • Written by: Centennial Elevator Industries Inc.: Elevating Safety Standards
  • Produced by: Centennial Elevator Industries Inc.: Elevating Safety Standards
  • Estimated reading time: 4 mins

Elisha Otis’ elevator safety device has been credited with making skyscrapers a practical reality, as well as iconic figures in the Manhattan skyline. Today’s elevators are equipped with a bevy of safety devices, but companies such as Centennial Elevator Industries Inc. (CEI) continue to ensure the safe and efficient operation of vertical transportation systems with an unwavering sense of responsibility and several lifetimes of expertise. The full-service elevator company was established in 1976 and has since accumulated a portfolio of completed projects and loyal clientele in all five boroughs of New York City.

CEI is a private-owned corporation based out of centrally located facilities in Long Island City, N.Y. “We actually just finished constructing and moving into our new headquarters,” says Richie L’Esperance Jr., COO of CEI, with a smile. Richie joined his father, Richard L’Esperance Sr., at CEI in 1997, just as the company was positioning itself for a major growth spurt; the company blossomed from a close-knit team of eight employees to a staff of over 160 by 2007.

The company maintains an experienced crew of professionals capable of handling new elevator installations, but more often than not CEI works with clients on already existing infrastructure. CEI has in turn developed a specialty in elevator modernization and rehabilitation work, boasting a proven track record in both public- and private-sector markets. “We do just about everything from inspecting systems in two-story buildings to major modernization upgrades in commercial buildings,” says Richie.

End-to-end Elevator Solutions

The company offers clients end-to-end solutions, including a total elevator maintenance program where CEI supplies skilled technicians to perform quality inspections on a regular basis, ensuring that vertical transportation systems stay in top working order as long as possible. The company also operates a 24-hour emergency services department to tackle unexpected glitches swiftly, allowing buildings to get back to business as soon as possible. In fact, the company’s central location enables it to dispatch a fully equipped repair vehicle to most sites in under an hour.

Safety is paramount at CEI, and the company aims to ensure that no passenger ever has to think twice before using an elevator. CEI is connected to the New York City Department of Buildings through a building information system, which gives the team remote access to a building’s documented history, including all violations, safety testing and inspections. CEI can use the documentation to analyze a system’s performance over time and help building owners decide when a replacement or major rehabilitation is in order, or when a smaller repair will suffice.

CEI’s skilled professional are capable of handling everything from repairing an elevator door motor to a complete replacement of the elevator’s hoists. To put in prospective, CEI once replaced nine elevators at Manhattan’s Marriott Hotel, totaling over $1.5 million. The project required two teams and took 10 months to complete, but CEI delivered the elevators on time and up to new building code requirements without incident.

CEI is a member for the National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC), which helps the company stay abreast of the latest technologies, systems and safety regulations. Through annual conventions, monthly newsletters and quarterly conferences, CEI connects with over 670 industry members to further discussion on technical issues and share information to ultimately conduct business more efficiently.

Going Up

The continuing education and industry information available through the NAEC are just some of the ways CEI aims to build value with the client, and the company builds further on this foundation with an in-house team of engineering professionals. The company maintains the capabilities to work directly with architects, contractors and consultants to design the right system for a building, according to the client’s specific operating expectations, and this versatility has assured a continual flow of opportunities.

“We might finally be slowing down this year, because changing building codes have kept us busy around the clock,” says Richie. This recent decrease in available work has not affected CEI adversely, however, as there has been federal stimulus money pouring into a variety of projects across the city that has countered the slowdown. CEI was awarded a $7.3 million contract to replace several elevators at the King Towers Houses in Harlem, N.Y., which is one of the New York City Housing Authority’s developments. CEI was also awarded $5.6 million by the New York State Office of General Services to rehabilitate elevators at various buildings within the State University of New York’s Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“We have fared very well in spite of the economy and I think things will continue to go up,” says Richie. CEI is poised to improve right along with the economy, as the extra confidence will likely loosen grips on capital improvement funds. No matter where projects generate, the team will uphold the Centennial Elevator Industries Inc. reputation by prioritizing the safety of every employee and elevator and going above and beyond to ensure the efficient and cost-effective operation of all vertical transportation systems.

Published on: March 6, 2013

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