The Freedonia Group Analysts Comment on Elevators & Related Building Adaptations in the Age of Coronavirus

One of the concerns as businesses reopen and more people move about a more normal routine is how people unavoidably congregate indoors in areas such as elevators.

Particularly in many urban areas, office facilities, hospitals, residences and others are in multi-floor buildings. Many of these have elevators – particularly those that have been remodeled to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act or those that are too high for most people to reasonably move about without the use of elevators.

However, a large share of the population is concerned about riding in elevators in the age of coronavirus. Building owners are concerned that if employees and others are afraid to ride elevators (to get to work or their homes), they will see occupants break their leases and they will see a spike in building vacancies.

In order to provide a safer environment, the Center for Disease Control recommends a few basic steps for elevators in multifamily facilities that also apply for commercial buildings:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting shared areas such as elevators using EPA-registered disinfectants more than once a day if possible.
  • Minimizing traffic in enclosed spaces, such as elevators, and considering limiting elevator occupancy
  • Providing alcohol-based sanitizers in common areas, including outside elevators

According to Jennifer Mapes-Christ, manager of consumer & commercial research at the Freedonia Group, “In general, elevators are well ventilated spaces with fans that run to keep the air refreshed. Additionally, most people are only in elevators for a few moments. Thus the duration of any potential exposure is short, well below the 15 minutes that is generally considered an amount of time that could lead to enough viral load to spread COVID-19.”

According to The Freedonia Group’s National Online Consumer Survey conducted in May 2020, 79% of adults agreed that the coronavirus is a health threat to them personally and 86% agreed that it is a health threat to their family and friends.

Mapes-Christ notes, “With a large share of the population concerned about the health threat of the coronavirus, building owners and employers will need to take extra steps to ensure employees, residents, and others who visit a building are confident that large buildings are safe.”

Additional steps recommended by elevator companies and being undertaken by some building owners include:

  • Requiring masks be worn in common areas, such as elevators
  • Limiting elevator occupancy to a level that allows for appropriate social distancing
  • Recommending businesses and other occupants stagger their arrival times
  • Installing signage that suggests occupants refrain from talking while riding elevators and face the walls rather than other riders or the door

For more information, see the following data-rich market analysis reports from The Freedonia Group’s off-the-shelf research catalog, including Global Elevators, Global Filters, Global Housing, Consumer Air Treatment, and HVAC Equipment, as well as Focus Reports including Commercial Banking: United States and Professional Services: United States.