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Jamaica building’s lifts neglected: Liu

A Jamaica housing project is one of several buildings that have come under scrutiny by the city comptroller’s office for the unsatisfactory maintenance of its elevators.

City Comptroller John Liu’s office audited the New York City Housing Authority last Thursday for failing to take preemptive measures to prevent mechanical problems involving the elevators in its buildings. On average, more than 40 percent of tasks scheduled for the building’s elevators were not performed, according to the audit.

“There is clearly a risk in not conducting timely repairs and necessary maintenance. NYCHA shouldn’t wait until it’s too late to fix these programs,” Liu said in a statement.

The Shelton House, at 89-09 162nd St., was one of the NYCHA properties that was studied during the audit. The 12-story building, which has 167 tenants, had 408 scheduled maintenance tasks for its two elevators between November 2008 and October 2009 — but only 210 of those tasks were done, according to the audit.

Liu’s office found that the southeast Queens building did not properly keep good records about the work being done on the elevators. The audit collected three reports about the state of the elevators during the month of December 2009. The elevator was out six times, according to a January report, but it was listed as being out of service 10 times during a March report.

“New York is a vertical city. If we cannot properly maintain elevators, then we could be putting people at risk,” Liu said.

A NYCHA spokeswoman said the agency was making changes to elevator maintenance with an Elevator Safety and Service Plan that reorganized the elevator programs in its buildings. In addition, the agency has been making investments to bring the elevators into the 21st century, according to spokeswoman Sheila Stainback.

“NYCHA is committed to modernizing our elevators and in the past 18 months has awarded 28 contracts to modernize 287 elevators. Work has started on 26 of the 28 contracts and we’ve completed work on 75 elevators. We’ve also hired 75 additional positions for our elevator program,” she said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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