Elevators: Home & Residential Elevators, Commercial Elevators for Buildings

Elevator codes apply to more than just the machine room, and the area surrounding an elevator needs to live up to codes specified in ASME A17.1. Elevators in residential and commercial buildings are advised to adhere to these codes for the safest environment for passengers. Aside from the machine room for elevators, other parts that require upkeep are the hoistway and pit, also known as the elevator shaft and the landing point for the elevator car. For one or more elevators, these points also need smoke and heat detectors and drains or vents. Regardless of whether you need residential or commercial elevators for a building, all of these codes for the elevator hoistway and pit are recommended.

In the area of the hoistway, the jambs need to be wrapped over 1/16 inches for labeling purposes. The area around the elevator car should have beam projections of no more than two inches and setbacks need to be leveled or covered. The running clearance, or the space between the elevator car and the hoistway for residential and commercial elevators, should be at least ¾ inches. Also, no recesses are allowed in the hoistway for all elevators and, if the hoistway extends more than two floors, a vent needs to be in place.

As with the machine room, the hoistway needs emergency protection, and this includes a sprinkler and smoke detector installed in the hoistway. If you have multiple elevators in a residential or commercial building, the hoistway for each needs a sprinkler and a smoke detector. The smoke and heat detector, with the latter sometimes used in place of a sprinkler, need to be located behind a locked access door with screening with dimensions of two feet by two feet. If a sprinkler is used in the hoistway, the head needs to be covered with a guard.

The pit for an elevator has many of the same safety properties as the hoistway. For example, the area should have a sprinkler with a guarded head. The area needs to be lighted, in addition, and the light switch for an elevator pit needs to be located 18 to 36 inches above the sill in the pit. Lights for the area should be guarded and grounded and, to prevent shocks, the pit needs a GFI outlet. In addition, a drain should be installed in case of spills or water accumulation but the drain itself should not be connected directly to the sewer. The floor under the drain needs to be flat and not slanted.

Another safety measure for elevators is installing a shunt trip. A shunt trip needs to disconnect as a signal to the controller for a loss of power. In case of sprinklers going off, the shunt trip acts much like a circuit breaker to prevent passengers from being electrocuted while in the car. If your building uses a heat detector in place of a sprinkler, however, a shunt trip still needs to be installed. The system for the elevators in a building with a heat detector should mimic that of a sprinkler to indicate to the controller that the elevator has experienced a loss of power.

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