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.
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 www.access-board.gov.
International Building Code (IBC)
The current edition is 2012. Work is currently under way for changes for the 2015 edition. This standard provides scoping for accessible elements in buildings, including lifts and elevators. Copies are available through ICC.
National Electric Code (NEC)
The current edition is 2011. Work is currently under way for changes for the 2014 edition. This standard provides electrical requirements for the design and installation of lifts and elevators. Copies are available through NFPA.