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Eurofurence 25 "Fractures in Time" - Estrel Hotel Berlin, August 14-18, 2019Follow eurofurence on Twitter

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Author Topic: EF24 The elevator drama  (Read 1194 times)

Cifer

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EF24 The elevator drama
« on: 27.08.2018, 02:37:06 »

Once again, the joy of the elevators! It feels like wing 4 had at least one downed elevator more often than all three were functional.
Assholes who think it's great fun to jump or do whatever other things to break the elevators need to be tarred and feathered (unless they're birds, then tarring should be enough). While I don't know what can be done to stop this behavior, a first step might be to give suggestions to bystanders watching this happen (via the sign within the elevator) - snapping a picture of the offender's badge and handing it over to security later is probably the easiest way of identifying culprits.
« Last Edit: 27.08.2018, 02:41:10 by Cifer »
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Ragear

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #1 on: 27.08.2018, 21:16:48 »

the elevators are original but now 25years old ... ofc we give them a thorough workout but https://twitter.com/DukeFawks/status/1032992045932134401 makes it look that maintenance is an issue neglected by the estrel ... would like to see maintenance records before the hotel blames us too much :)

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Suicune

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #2 on: 28.08.2018, 05:40:17 »

Isn't there a date written somewhere when it happened last time? At least the elevators had a sticker with a QR code, no idea what it said though, forgot to scan it.
And I guess it wasn't always thanks to stupid people. I mean elevator number 3 in wing one always got stuck on floor 9 for a while thanks to the doors from what I know. To go on you had to help it to close the doors. We got a person unstuck like that once. Doors were slightly broken all the time on all elevators there.

But yeah, the whole hotel needs some serious maintenance and an efficient AC system in the guest rooms. I mean, we only pay a part of what they usually charge for a room, and these are expensive as hell normally, starting at 155€.
Right now the hotel got a lot of uncooled rooms and in some cases a system which doesn't evel make sense. In wing 3 top floor you get ACs standing on the ground... You may guess the problem with this.
The hallways got no ACs I guess, cause everything I see are opened windows, even at 30°C. It didn't make waiting on wing 4 top floors more bearable. Also not that the elevator shafts simply baked you and like that also heated all hallways.
Even the ground floors got no system to get fresh air there, just why? Wing 1 smells like a kitchen down there half of the time.

And then there was the incident with a leaky roof in the top category rooms last year from what I heard....

So.. maybe not spending millions on an italian who replaces comfy old chairs with uncomfy cheap plastic ones, or this weird stuff standing around which is supposed to be art. Rather use it for moderisation.

At least no problem with the new NFC system, made opening doors so much easier.

o'wolf

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #3 on: 28.08.2018, 14:09:44 »

Yearly maintenance of the elevators was done in July. However, as Ragear correctly wrote, the elevators are rather old and probably need to be replaced soon. Also, they are not designed for this kind of load. A typical hotel guest will travel down only once in the morning and once back to their room at night, not up and down between arbitrary floors all day (and night) long as furry convention attendees do.
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Ragear

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #4 on: 28.08.2018, 20:17:02 »

with the upcoming works for the new tower I'd bet that the Estrel will put up another 3-4 years till the new tower is complete. But then they should consider reworking one tower after the other ... and faster elevators maybe? Or add glass vista elevators at the end of the hallways or between the buldings/ skybridges ... but my hopes are low.

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timoran

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #5 on: 28.08.2018, 22:20:05 »

They should upgrade to a destination entry system such as AC's Westin uses. That will add some efficiency. They probably will be upgrading the elevators very soon anyway to support the new NFC keys and I hope that an upgrade like this is in the works. Of course, modernizing the motor room would also help with reliability.

They can certainly afford it with 1,125 rooms times about €1,000 each they got from us last week.
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timoran

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #6 on: 28.08.2018, 22:30:08 »

with the upcoming works for the new tower I'd bet that the Estrel will put up another 3-4 years till the new tower is complete.

I have bad news for you. The floor plans for the Estrel Tower show only 7 elevators that could be available to guests with 3 serving lower floors and 4 serving upper floors, with 50 floors. The Westin Pittsburgh has 26 floors and 5 elevators and they have legendary queues during Anthrocon. So even a decade from now when that beast is finally constucted, there will be too little elevator capacity for our comfort during EF.
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Suicune

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #7 on: 29.08.2018, 05:27:06 »

I have bad news for you. The floor plans for the Estrel Tower show only 7 elevators that could be available to guests with 3 serving lower floors and 4 serving upper floors, with 50 floors. The Westin Pittsburgh has 26 floors and 5 elevators and they have legendary queues during Anthrocon. So even a decade from now when that beast is finally constucted, there will be too little elevator capacity for our comfort during EF.

Oh god... I just hope these are big then. It also depends on rooms/floor how crowded they'll be though.
But I hope fursuiters and people with certain medical conditions get priority and get rooms in the already existing hotel part, at least it would be nice.

karpour

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #8 on: 29.08.2018, 13:33:15 »

I wonder what it was that really pushed the elevators over their limit this year. Someone pointed out that they likely overheated from the constant use and very warm outside temperatures.
I don't know to what extent the hotel did that, but I find it disappointing to blame attendees for abusing elevators. While it can't be ruled out that happened, I think we can safely say that almost all breakdowns were due to the elevators simply not being sufficient for the load.
And that is something that is 100% the hotels' responsibility. If they force people to use elevators by never opening the staircases (unless all elevators break down at once), they better make sure the elevators actually work.

In the Maritim I almost exclusively used the stairs and so did many others, and I would absolutely use them in the Estrel if they finally opened those staircases.
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Futeko

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #9 on: 29.08.2018, 14:56:03 »

I would personally prefer to use stairs as well, but to the contrary of the Maritim, the staircases at the Estrel are (as far as I know) exclusively emergency exit stairs. It means that for safety (and legal) reasons, you should not use them to go up - because in the case of an emergency, you don't want to slow down the evacuation of people due to groups of other people going up.

As I understand, it's all right to use them to go down though (because then you're anyway in the proper direction of the flow should an emergency arise). But for going up, we have to bear with the elevators :)
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Suicune

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #10 on: 29.08.2018, 17:46:57 »

Not really pleasing for these who feel extremely uncomfortable in elevators, like me. At least when I'm alone in them. Well, I deal with it and hope I don't get stuck xD

karpour

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #11 on: 29.08.2018, 18:12:10 »

I would personally prefer to use stairs as well, but to the contrary of the Maritim, the staircases at the Estrel are (as far as I know) exclusively emergency exit stairs. It means that for safety (and legal) reasons, you should not use them to go up - because in the case of an emergency, you don't want to slow down the evacuation of people due to groups of other people going up.

As I understand, it's all right to use them to go down though (because then you're anyway in the proper direction of the flow should an emergency arise). But for going up, we have to bear with the elevators :)

In the Maritim we also used the fire escape stairs which made it technically "unsafe", yet it somehow worked. And in the end after endless elevator troubles, the Estrel also opened the staircases, violating the very same argument.
They better find a *good* solution for this, because otherwise it'll be even worse next year.
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Futeko

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #12 on: 29.08.2018, 18:36:10 »

In the Maritim we also used the fire escape stairs which made it technically "unsafe", yet it somehow worked. And in the end after endless elevator troubles, the Estrel also opened the staircases, violating the very same argument.
They better find a *good* solution for this, because otherwise it'll be even worse next year.

The Estrel made the stairs available to go up to floors 1 to 6 after 2 out of the 3 Wing 4 elevators went out of order, as a courtesy to us and in order to avoid having the situation spiral out of control. That cannot be a "definite" solution for safety reasons. Should an incident happen, the fact that you saved 5 minutes by going up the emergency stairs won't hold much when there are lives in the balance.

I agree that the elevator situation is an issue, and I hope the Estrel will find a solution to mitigate it in the future - but sadly I don't think opening up the emergency stairs will be the answer.
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Schorse

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #13 on: 29.08.2018, 19:23:07 »

In the Maritim we also used the fire escape stairs which made it technically "unsafe", yet it somehow worked. And in the end after endless elevator troubles, the Estrel also opened the staircases, violating the very same argument.
They better find a *good* solution for this, because otherwise it'll be even worse next year.

The Maritim had a complete different layout. All hallways of all floors are open to the lobby. So a firedoor doesn't even make sense. That's why all these doors had handles on both sides.

At the Estrel, every floor is a separate fire section. Well, even two, separated by the double wing metal doors that close in a case of fire. That means, a fire will be locked in those areas. The doors at the stairs have a knob on the stair side, so you can't accidently enter a burning area. The only way to leave the staircase is to the outside, and if you open that door, you raise the fire alarm.

As you can see, in comparison, the Maritim is a VERY unsafe building.
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SiranaJHelena

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Re: EF24 The elevator drama
« Reply #14 on: 29.08.2018, 19:59:44 »

I have the strong feeling that "Well it worked at time X, so why can't we have it at time Y?" was exactly the reason why they tried to avoid opening the stairs in the first place. People act like safety regulations are only there to annoy people with super heavy doors and way too much bureacracy. "Why can't people just bend the rules? It's just stairs... When something happens, I'm sure we can all use the stairs like supposed to, we're not kids anymore." Well, that's not how it works.

It was really cool that during the critique panel at sunday morning someone from the Security team was sitting in the audience. When this topic was mentioned, she was so nice to explain to us what opening the stairs actually means, especially in an emergency. I don't remember everything, but it would e.g. require three or so specifically trained security members that are allowed and able to go to every floor and kick that small wooden block away from the door under these harsh conditions, so the door could actually close and do its job. And until they are there, it wouldn't, which is already a safety risk on its own. And that would be only one issue of many.

We are incredibly lucky that we've had 24 conventions so far without any kind of huge accident that made it necessary to follow any safety protocol for evacuating the whole buildung and I have the feeling, many people don't take a moment to consider this. Heck, (as far as I know) we still have a bodycount of 0 people, no matter if they could have died of overheating, an accident, wrong medication, an attack, a suicide attempt or someone else's stupidness. Yes, it is annyoing if you have to wait two hours to get to your room or miss a panel because you can't leave your floor. It is even dangerous if you're stuck in the elevator and are already in a bad condition because you had your fursuit one for three hours or have a panic attack. But please keep in mind that an elevator that is stuck is a problem that is still solved way more easily and way less risky than an actual emergency where 2000+ people's lives are at stake and every minute counts.

In my opinion there are two solutions: People stopping jumping AND the Estrel replacing these elevators from the stone age or at least work at a serious improvement. I am no pro, maybe they are alreading doing as best as they can and use everything technology is able to do to reduce this problem. And let's face it: The amount of work the elevators have to do is different from other conferences/events, so the risk of something breaking is a bit higher. However, considering how little changes have been at other issues that are appearing for more than one year despite complains (dirty filter in the air conditioning, a broken lift for wheelchairs,..) I don't trust this theory without any doubt...

Nevertheless as annoying as it is: The EF staff can't rebuild the Estrel. They can't add stairs at the outside and they can't influence the laws of physics when it comes to the question how fire spreads. They can mention their concern towards the hotel - and I am very sure they are already doing this every year, and if you had a room there you can write a (polite) e-mail with a complaint as well. Many issues I heard in the panel I mentioned are things that in my opinion a hotel of his quality should provide/fix asap.
But please reconsider what it actually means to be in an emergency and 50 people can't get out because someone convinced them that hurting the safety rules for half an hour less waiting time would be necessary and worth it. Especially when you are about to say "They should just open the stairs."

Sorry for the sarcasm...

Edit: The one thing we can work on is a faster and easier way to call security/report it when you noticed someone jumping in the elevator, no matter if it got stuck afterwards or not. As far as I know the security hotline didn't work and the button for calling them via the app was very well hidden in 3-4 submenus. This is something to work on, so we can at least do our part of solving the problem.
Also maybe it would help if someone from the security would be so kind to explain a bit more detailed here or in a mail to every participant while ignoring the safety regulations and opening the door is a very bad idea? I'm sure it would clear up some confusion when people could see the big picture better. :) It wouldn't solve the problem but maybe calm down the situation a little bit.
« Last Edit: 29.08.2018, 20:04:56 by SiranaJHelena »
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