We live in a world filled with personal and mainframe computers, and modern elevator control systems that include sophisticated microprocessors to perform the many functions associated with providing the best possible elevator transportation. However, elevator maintenance work is still a mix of the old and the new.Elevator control systems being installed today, by any mainstream elevator company, are much easier to maintain than those installed only a decade ago. They have far fewer parts to replace on a regular basis; are much more reliable and work better; and can even tell technicians what is wrong with the control system through a self-diagnostic system that collects fault codes for many malfunctions of the elevator control system and associated mechanical components. However, an elevator installation contains many more components – impacted by normal wear and tear – than can be classified as the elevator control system. Numerous mechanical and electro-mechanical devices open and close doors, drive elevator equipment from floor to floor, and cause the elevator to stop in the event of an over-speed condition. These devices on new elevators require nearly as much routine preventive maintenance as they have in the past, making it essential to have an extremely high-quality elevator maintenance program in place at all times.Entering into a high-quality preventive maintenance contract is as essential as the equipment’s initial purchase. A common approach has been to take advantage of the lowest maintenance price available. However, such a low price can mean less labor content, and fewer worn parts being replaced under the contract. The consequences of that decision may result in rapid deterioration of the elevator plant in the interest of saving money.Unfortunately, once the elevator equipment shows signs of neglect, it is nearly impossible to correct the many problems – even by changing to a higher-quality elevator maintenance program at a later date.Major high-quality elevator manufacturing and contracting firms are financially able to spend large sums of money to provide the following:Train their technical personnel to maintain the elevator equipment models in your building.Stock the required replacement parts, supplies, and tools to do the job regardless of the complexity or expense required.Provide a complete engineering staff that can correct any type of problem that may exist.Design the most effective preventive maintenance program for the equipment, with some significant dialogue with the building owner or facility manager.Have the resources to tackle the most difficult task associated with the elevator plant.Robert F. Dieter is senior elevator consultant at Dieter Consulting Services Inc. (www.dieterconsultingserv.com), based in Apalachicola, FL.