Time is running out to get your elevator code compliant by the December 31st, 2023, deadline. Contact Liberty Elevator today to schedule a survey of your elevator equipment and to coordinate any necessary repair or modernization before the approaching deadline. With the code compliance requirement affecting over 80,000 elevators in the state of Florida, it’s important to act quickly as necessary supplies and labor will become limited as you get closer to the deadline.
Florida Elevator Code Requirement
There was a recent update to the Florida building code that effects over 80,000 elevators across the sunshine state, including the 25,000+ elevators in the Miami metro area. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) code A17.3 refers to elevator standards & compliance, including provision 3.10.12 that states: An elevator car will not move while the cab doors are open.
The Elevator Safety Code is implemented by Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulations requiring that owners of existing elevators ‘must be in compliance with part 3.10.12 of ASME A17.3-2015, Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators by December 31, 2023'
Door Lock Monitoring Requirements
Door-lock monitoring (DLM) which is sometimes referred to as “redundancy,” has been included in the ASME A17.3 code since its publishing in 2000 and should be included in elevator controllers subsequently built to meet the 2000 codes. This means that most microprocessor-based controllers built after 2000 (and a few relay-based systems built earlier) either come with monitor circuitry already installed or can be connected to devices that have door fault-monitoring capability. The problem Florida faces comes from the vast number of elevators currently using equipment installed prior to the mandate, which may not easily permit fault monitoring to be added.
What is Elevator DLM?
In simple terms, an elevator “knows” when to close its doors and depart from a landing, because the controller sends it a signal to do so. The signal is created when monitoring sensors within the car door gate switch make contact with sensors in the interlock on the landing door, completing an electrical circuit that lets the controller know it’s safe to move the elevator. This means the lift meets the new Florida code provision by constantly monitoring the car and preventing operation with the doors open.
Impact From the Upcoming Deadline
Some property owners/managers are only now starting to consider how the 2023 code change will affect them. Considering that up to 80,000 Florida elevators could be impacted, this has quickly become a cause for concern, as time starts to run out.
On the bright side, the code only stipulates what the change is and when it must be implemented. It doesn’t require that existing equipment be changed; some equipment could simply be upgraded to comply. Updating an elevator’s controller can be done at a fraction of the cost of installing an entirely new system. And, while there may be some who will see any expense to address code compliance as a burden, the liability associated with noncompliance is huge. In addition to loss of service, it can include fines, canceled insurance coverage, legal liabilities and massive inconvenience to tenants & guests.
How To Comply With New Elevator DLM Code Requirements
To address each existing elevator the owner/building manager should consider the following rough guidelines in preparation for code compliance.
- Elevators installed or modernized prior to 2000: will likely need new hardware that can accommodate the software requirements.
- Elevators installed or modernized before July 1, 2009: will likely need a software update and possibly a hardware update.
- Controllers installed or modernized after July 1, 2009: may be compliant. This needs to be confirmed by an elevator contractor, especially the Firefighter’s Service Phase II exception which may need a software update.
- Equipment Installed or modernized after August 1, 2017: should be compliant, but this needs to be confirmed as some vendors were still shipping none compliant equipment manufactured prior to code requirement through early 2020.
- Also note that modernization of controllers and door equipment going forward will be compliant, so this is a viable method of achieving compliance if the modernization will be completed by December 31, 2023.
These date ranges are merely a guideline, and although it may have been required by code when the equipment was installed, it doesn’t mean that it is currently operating properly at this time. Each elevator should be inspected by a certified elevator contractor to assure upcoming code compliance.
History of Door Lock Monitoring Code
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A17.3 code compliance was first mandated across New York City, effective January 1, 2020. The code was enacted as a result of catastrophic incidents where the elevator went into action while the doors remained open, resulting in fatalities of patrons caught in the doorway. Property Owners with commercial elevators across the city needed to schedule upgrades to address the door operator requirement by the deadline or face fines & potential shut downs of their elevators.
Liberty Elevator Corporation played a key role in assuring all of their Manhattan clients were code compliant within the stated deadline, performing countless modernizations & inspections. Unfortunately, complying with the code can be a very time consuming process as there isn’t a uniformed fix across all elevators & each unit may require its own unique solution. Selecting a knowledgeable service provider with experience in DLM modernization is essential for a timely and cost effective resolution.
Phase II Off Operation
In addition to the DLM mandate, Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulations has recently issued a statement that some elevators installed in Florida may not be programmed correctly with regards to the removal of a unit from Phase II In-Car Emergency Operation. Since the merger of Code under ASME A17.1-2000, 184.108.40.206.5 has read as follows:
“Elevators shall be removed from Phase II Emergency In-Car Operation only when the “FIRE OPERATION” switch is in the “OFF” position and the car is at the designated level and the doors are in the normal open position.”
In order to ensure complete compliance with the updated Code, Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulations requests that elevators are tested and that the requirements for 'Fire Fighter’s Operation' functions properly, as stated above.
The Next Code Compliance Upgrade
In addition to the 2023 code situation, Florida property owners also must consider the impact of other potential elevator code updates in the future. One proposed requirement provides protection against unintentional car movement (UCM) as specified in A17.1 Section 2.19.2. It also requires one to either convert to a dual-plunger brake assembly or incorporate an emergency braking system to prevent UCM and ascending car over-speed (ACO) motion.
Time Is Running Out
Regardless of whether you are targeting the upcoming 2023 compliance deadline, or being proactive and considering future modernizations, you should move quickly and consult with Liberty Elevator Corp. on how best to address the situation. The technical solutions are out there, and the costs for them are not prohibitive; indeed, the biggest challenge is time. For the Florida elevator industry, the countdown to compliance is underway, and it can take up to six weeks just to obtain the necessary permits to proceed. Waiting much longer could risk failure to meet the compliance deadline, resulting in fines and potential exposure to additional liabilities. Schedule your elevator inspection today.
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