Ways to Maintain Code Compliance on Each Job

Fire

Code compliance; it’s an integral part of the design and installation processes of elevator interiors. When an interior does not meet applicable regulations, it grounds the entire project. How can you assure customers that their elevators will be installed on-time and fully functional? Just use this “cheat sheet” to help you keep the project compliant.

Code Compliance: Top Red Flags To Look For

Trained elevator mechanics know what to look for and can spot red flags that can keep customers’ interiors from passing inspection. The list below includes the top elevator code compliance issues you should be on the lookout for.

  • Adherence to fire codes. While some states and jurisdictions (e.g. Nevada, California, and NYC) are stricter than others, most cities and states use ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.

    One of the requirements is that all combustible materials be tested in their end-use configuration. For instance, it is not sufficient to test a piece of laminate, particle board, and adhesive individually. The entire panel will also have to be assembled and tested, as a unit, before it complies with code.

  • Use of glass. Both laminated and tempered glass need to be mounted properly to withstand required elevator tests without damage. Each piece also needs to be marked with the applicable glazing standard.

  • ADA requirements. Elevator interiors must comply with American with Disabilities Act requirements if the building is more than three stories tall or larger than 3,000 square feet per story.

    A few of ADA’s regulations include:

    • Buttons must be mounted at 42 inches above the floor.
    • Handrails are not required by the ADA, but may be by your specific jurisdiction. They are typically mounted nominally 32 inches above the floor.
    • Cabs must be large enough to allow a wheelchair to make a 360 degree turn.
  • Ventilation. ASME A17.1 requires elevators to have natural ventilation that equals 3.5% of the floor area. For example, in a typical 2,500 pound-capacity elevator, that would be 142 square inches. It must be equally divided between floor and ceiling (for example, a ceiling fan opening and toe kick ventilation).

  • Tamper-resistant installation. Panels cannot be removed with common tools. Panels which cover openings greater than 0.5 inches, with straight-through passages, cannot be removable from inside the cab.

  • Lighting. Elevator interiors must have at least two bulbs and passenger elevators need a minimum illumination of 50 lux or five foot candles. Proper mounting is essential to avoid accidental breakage, and the lights need to withstand required elevator tests without being damaged or jarred loose.

  • Weight issues. When you remove the interior of an elevator, it has to weigh the same as the old interior or be within 5%. Staying within that slim margin is critical.

  • Music. All passenger elevators are required to play the soothing sounds of elevator music. (Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention!)

Because of these regulations, which can and do fill volumes, it’s vital that a certified elevator mechanic – not a maintenance person – completes every installation. It requires an entirely different set of skills and know-how. If the interior fails to comply with regulations, the project shuts down, and this can impact the entire building’s functionality. Not to mention the budget and timeline.

Elevator and building code compliance is complex, but non-negotiable. Partnering with an experienced interior company ensures that your customers’ elevators meet all applicable standards – which to them means projects completed safely, on-time, and on-budget. Fortunately, with the right partner, compliance can be simple. If they’ll do the heavy lifting, you can get back to focusing on the rest of your project and rest assured that the final results will be up to code.

Ask the expert! Contact Greg Tressler here.