Elevators at UBC

Delivering millions of safe trips every year

UBC has over 260 elevators within the core academic campus. Building Operations is the first responder to entrapments and helps triage malfunction calls. All adjustments and maintenance of elevators at UBC are performed by licensed elevator contractors governed by the BC Safety Authority. However, even with regular maintenance and care elevators will sometimes breakdown between their scheduled maintenance. Building Operations does everything we can to help prevent these breakdowns and need your help in reporting them.

Elevator breakdowns are not just inconvenient, they can create a serious problem for people who use wheelchairs, have temporary mobility impairments, or have health problems that restrict them from using the stairs. It is important to know that using an elevator improperly, like propping open doors and engaging in horseplay may result in the elevator breaking, shutting down, or passengers becoming entrapped.

So what can we all do to help our elevators operate as effectively as possible and what should you do if you find an elevator working improperly?

Safety first: responding to an entrapment

If you find yourself in an elevator that will not move or is not responding appropriately don’t panic:

  1. Stay calm. Find the emergency phone or call button that is located in the elevator.
  2. Follow the instructions located on the phone and an operator from Campus Security will answer momentarily. If you need to be evacuated immediately due to medical reasons you should communicate this to Campus Security over the emergency phone. Campus Security will determine if the local fire department is needed to evacuate the person with the medical condition.
  3. Wait patiently and an elevator technician will release you as soon as possible. Building Operations staff is on call 24 hours a day to free people from entrapments—one of the great services we provide the campus.

Note: If you accidentally press the call button please wait for the operator and let them know it was a mistake.

Reporting breakdowns or malfunctions

If you see an elevator malfunctioning or one that has broken down please call the Building Operations Service Centre at: 604.822.2173.

It is critical that all malfunctions/breakdowns are reported to the Service Centre—even if the elevator returns to normal operation. We are tracking the performance of your elevator through Service Requests so we can identify repeat issues, address root causes proactively, and promptly escalate issues to our contractors.

If you have a disability or are injured and the elevator you require is out of service or not functioning properly please contact either:

  • Building Operations Service Centre 604.822.2173 or
  • Access and Diversity 604.822.5844

Help us to prevent elevator malfunctions

Elevators are very sensitive pieces of equipment. Uneven, heavy, or dynamic loads can trip the safety governor putting the elevator out of service. If you are unsure on how to move a heavy load or require independent services for the moving of heavy equipment or furniture please contact your building administrator or your Facilities Manager. To keep you safe while using the elevators for moving heavy equipment or furniture please:

  1. Do not overload or offset loads in your elevator: Always obey the person limitation and weight restriction signs posted in the elevator. Passenger elevators can only withstand ¼ of the posted maximum weight when transporting small but heavy loads. The elevators are designed for carrying evenly distributed loads; overloading or offsetting loads could result in elevator shutting down or malfunctioning.
    Note: In some UBC building there are specialized freight elevators which are designed for heavier/centralized loads. If you’re in doubt, call the Service Centre for help.
  2. Do not jump or engage in horseplay: The elevator has sensitive seismic detectors. Weight shifting movements like jumping or rocking could be mistaken for an earthquake by these sensors and shut down the elevator.
  3. Do not hold or block the doors: This will cause the elevator to shut down. Elevator doors are equipped with sensors to prevent doors from closing unexpectedly. Should you require elevator doors to remain open for an extended period of time please contact Building Operations Service Centre at 604.822.2173 for help.

For more information on elevator loading requests and elevator loading classification, please visit: