Code Corner

July 2019 Update

AEMA and its members continue to be very active in the codes and standards development process. AEMA has become a common “voice” for the industry over the years and that has been instrumental in helping to improve many codes and standards. It is an ongoing effort to keep up with the changes and to make sure that we have a chance to present our views on potential changes. This article discusses one of the major items currently being discussed.

Private Residence Elevators are required to comply with ASME A17.1, Section 5.3. There are two major changes being considered for that section. The first involves the running clearance between the hoistway door and car door. Recent studies have prompted a move to reduce the space. The committee is currently conducting a Hazard Assessment and will use the results to enhance the requirements. The second is a move to provide more guidance for machine rooms, machinery spaces, control rooms and control spaces. This is particularly important with the increase in the number of units being installed with equipment in the hoistway.

Another project that affects all accessibility equipment is the development of Inspection Guides for the equipment. Proposals for the initial guides have been completed for private residence elevators and LU/LA elevators. This information is expected to be included in the next edition of ASME A17.2. Work is still in progress for the A18 products and probably will not be available for a few years. We will try to update you as this project progresses.

Accessibility standards also affect our equipment. ICC/ANSI A117 Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities is a private sector accessibility standard. AEMA is a member of the committee responsible for the changes. The biggest issue being discussed during this cycle is a proposal to increase the minimum clear floor space for wheelchairs and the turning spaces. The current proposals would increase the clear floor space to 30 x 42 (currently 30 x 48). This would impact private residence elevators that are required to be accessible (typically multi-unit projects) and vertical platform lifts. Both would require a clear floor space of 36 x 52 if these changes pass. Inclined platform lifts using passenger restraining arms would remain at 36 x 48.

Compliance with all the safety and accessibility requirements is very important, even if these products are not inspected in your area. We will provide updates on the status of these requirements when they become available.

AEMA Code Updates – July, 2019

(This is an overview only – please consult the actual code documents for the specific requirements.)

  1. New Version of A17.1 – 2016 was published in Nov 2016

Section 5.2 – LULA Elevators

The following items have been approved for inclusion in the A17.1 – 2019:

  • – Location of Data Plate clarified
  •,,, and were modified to remove the reference to “refuge space” as this term was removed from the sections 2 and 3 respectively.

Section 5.3 – Residence Elevators

  • Major Revisions to the 3 & 5 rule – now ¾ & 4. This change also provides information on where clearances are to be measured depending on the specific hall door/car gate combination provided
  • New requirements added for Elastomeric Buffers – 5 3.1.14
  • Changes made to the Emergency Signaling Device Section –
  • A new Section has been added to address the requirements for Private Residence MRL Elevators
  • Clause was modified removing all references to vertically sliding doors which are not permitted on residence elevators.
  • Clause was modified removing the restriction for rack & pinion drives, thus harmonizing the requirements in Canada and the US.
  • Clause was modified to clarify the car door monitoring requirements.  If both the car door or gate and the landing door or gate are not cycled at a landing then the elevator will not accept calls.
  • Clause was modified to improve and clarify the requirements to prevent someone from reaching around or under a hoistway door.
  1. New Version of the A117.1-2017 – Standard for Accessible and Usable Buildings and Facilities published in May 2017.

New update cycle started

  1. Next Version of A18.1 – 2020

Changes approved so far:

  • Performance area lifts
  • Doors and Gates
  • IPL emergency backup alarms
  • Minor editorial revisions

Some active Project Teams:

  • Re-formatting the standard (easier to read only)
  • Runway door unlocking rules (authorized personnel)
  • Periodic inspection and safety device language cleanup
  • Cleanup fascia language
  • Runway door unlocking devices
  • Manual operation and emergency power
  • Factors of safety clarification
  • Guarding of drive and suspension means
  • Remove references to Type B and C safeties
  • Clarify controls mounting requirement
  • MCP to include running the lift once per week
  • Emergency communication for deaf and hard of hearing users
  • Updated references to other standards
  • Controller not located in VPL tower
  • Flexible hose and fittings
  • Rack and pinion Engineering and drive system requirements
  • Calculating the mean angle of a stairway
  • Terminal final limit control via software
  • Inspection Guide
  • Coordination with other documents
  • Rules for RF and IR
  1. California Residence Elevators
    1. New rules to incorporate ¾ and 4 door gap rule
    2. With Rob Murphy’s help now similar to A17.1 rule
    3. As originally proposed – impossible to comply with
    4. Thanks to Rob for making it work

Next Meeting:

September 14th Niagara Falls

Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010) is the current edition.  It provides both scoping and technical requirements for accessible design, including requirements for platform lifts and elevators.  Copies are available at United States Access Board.

International Building Code (IBC)

Current Version is 2018 IBC.  This standard provides scoping for accessible elements in buildings, including lifts and elevators.  The newest edition of the code and references can be purchased at ICC.

Upcoming Version: 2021 IBC Development

The International Building Code provisions provide many benefits, among which is the model code development process that offers an international forum for residential construction professionals to discuss prescriptive code requirements. This forum provides an excellent arena to debate proposed revisions.

Support References for the IBC

ICC publishes a wide range of support products and materials to help users and enforcers of the IBC to improve their knowledge and understanding of the code. Several key publications are provided below, or get the full list from the ICC Store.

Significant changes to 2021 IBC Resources from the ICC Store.

IBC Codes related specifically to accessibility from the ICC Store.

National Electric Code (NEC)

The latest edition is 2020.  This standard provides electrical requirements for the design and installation of lifts and elevators.  Copies are available through NFPA.  NFPA makes important safety codes and standards available for free online.

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