11/01/2009

A New Elevator Safety Code

Because new technologies are constantly being brought to market, it’s important to have consistent standards to evaluate their safety and effectiveness

By Norman B. Martin

 

While new elevator technologies are available and in use globally, building professionals may be unable to deploy them due to limitations imposed by the current Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, ASME A17.1/CSA B44 (see Code Chat, below).

But, when the Performance-Based Safety Code (PBC) is adopted across all jurisdictions in the United States and Canada, it will allow building professionals to keep pace with elevator technology while maintaining or exceeding the safety requirements under ASME A17.1/CSA B44. Instead of having to meet prescriptive safety requirements like those in the existing code, the PBC requires that all elevator designs meet global essential safety requirements (GESRs), which provide safety objectives, but also provide flexibility in how those objectives are met. This new code will address:

Safety. There will be numerous review processes to verify the safety of a new technology. Elevators will continue to maintain a stellar safety record while allowing state-of-the-art technology to be applied to the designs. New safety measures, such as sophisticated braking systems, laser sensors, and advanced speed governors, which may not be addressed by the original prescriptive code, will increase elevator safety. There will be numerous review processes to verify the safety of a new technology. Elevators will continue to maintain a stellar safety record while allowing state-of-the-art technology to be applied to the designs. New safety measures, such as sophisticated braking systems, laser sensors, and advanced speed governors, which may not be addressed by the original prescriptive code, will increase elevator safety.

Code Chat

Under ASME A17.1/CSA B44, there’s no uniform process for validating the compliance of new technologies with the safety requirements, often making their adoption inefficient and burdensome. This is why the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), supported by the National Elevator Industry Inc. (NEII), recently published the Performance-Based Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (PBC), or ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7. The PBC is a companion code to A17.1/ CSA B44, not a replacement, and the latest version of ASME A17.1/ CSA B44 recognizes compliance with the PBC as an equivalent or complementary method of compliance with the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.

Speed/capacity. Speed, capacity, and efficiency are limited by current codes because designers must utilize specified building materials, control devices, and driving machines. The PBC will allow elevators manufactured with strong, lightweight synthetic or composite materials; high-tech, computerized control devices; and evolutionary drive designs. These advances will allow for lighter and faster elevators that are capable of safely moving more passengers in less time. Speed, capacity, and efficiency are limited by current codes because designers must utilize specified building materials, control devices, and driving machines. The PBC will allow elevators manufactured with strong, lightweight synthetic or composite materials; high-tech, computerized control devices; and evolutionary drive designs. These advances will allow for lighter and faster elevators that are capable of safely moving more passengers in less time.

Comfort. The use of advanced building materials, controls, and drives will enable faster, more comfortable transportation. Aerodynamic designs, lightweight building materials, and advanced speed controls allow for extremely smooth starting and stopping, and whisper-quiet operation. Many new designs also incorporate aesthetically pleasing lighting systems and high-tech monitors to view news or important messages. Elevator designs will be more customizable to fit the building and its population. The use of advanced building materials, controls, and drives will enable faster, more comfortable transportation. Aerodynamic designs, lightweight building materials, and advanced speed controls allow for extremely smooth starting and stopping, and whisper-quiet operation. Many new designs also incorporate aesthetically pleasing lighting systems and high-tech monitors to view news or important messages. Elevator designs will be more customizable to fit the building and its population.

Accessibility. New designs will allow for increased accessibility. One advance is the development of destination-orientated elevators. These systems require passengers to enter the destination floor on a device in the lobby. The passenger is then directed to the elevator that will provide the most direct and fastest transportation. New designs will allow for increased accessibility. One advance is the development of destination-orientated elevators. These systems require passengers to enter the destination floor on a device in the lobby. The passenger is then directed to the elevator that will provide the most direct and fastest transportation.

Energy efficiency. A high-tech elevator system can positively affect the bottom line since new systems are substantially more energy efficient, require less space, and should be more reliable. New technologies, including advanced motors and drives, lighter materials, and sophisticated control software, can reduce elevator energy use by up to 40 percent and eliminate waste byproducts. A high-tech elevator system can positively affect the bottom line since new systems are substantially more energy efficient, require less space, and should be more reliable. New technologies, including advanced motors and drives, lighter materials, and sophisticated control software, can reduce elevator energy use by up to 40 percent and eliminate waste byproducts.

Space savings. The demand for space-saving elevator shaft and machine room designs has led to machine room-less elevator systems with control hardware housed in a small, easy-access cabinet or built into the shaft. To save space and provide increased capacity, elevators are beginning to use multiple cars in single shafts. The most common utilizes a "double-decker" elevator car with entrance doors on two floors of a building at one time. New technology also allows for two independently operating elevator cars to move within the same shaft. The demand for space-saving elevator shaft and machine room designs has led to machine room-less elevator systems with control hardware housed in a small, easy-access cabinet or built into the shaft. To save space and provide increased capacity, elevators are beginning to use multiple cars in single shafts. The most common utilizes a "double-decker" elevator car with entrance doors on two floors of a building at one time. New technology also allows for two independently operating elevator cars to move within the same shaft.

Reliability. New or modernized elevator systems are more reliable, requiring less out-of-service time and establishing lower maintenance costs. Some new systems offer offsite monitoring, which allows a problem to be identified and corrected before the customer realizes it. Building management will be able to spend less time and money repairing elevators, and guests will feel less frustrated by out-of-service elevators. New or modernized elevator systems are more reliable, requiring less out-of-service time and establishing lower maintenance costs. Some new systems offer offsite monitoring, which allows a problem to be identified and corrected before the customer realizes it. Building management will be able to spend less time and money repairing elevators, and guests will feel less frustrated by out-of-service elevators.

Norman B. Martin is chief elevator inspector for the State of Ohio.

 


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Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Yaskawa drives offer quality performance for air handlers and cooling towers on the roof to secondary chilled water pumps in the basement

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
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