Elevator safety is a critical consideration for builders, who have state safety codes to follow, permits to obtain and regular inspections to pass. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers publishes the construction standards for elevator equipment rooms. Building the rooms to code means following the proper ASME standards as required by law.
The Equipment Room
States have specific requirements for the installation and maintenance of elevator equipment. State building codes generally require the installation of driving machines, motor generators, control equipment and backup equipment in a separate, dedicated room or enclosure. The room must be kept clean and clear of any obstructions; access must be separate from access to the elevator cars and hoistways, also known as elevator shafts. The state may require permanent lighting and a minimum number of electrical outlets, as well as telephone jacks for emergency phones.
Permits, Inspection and Certificates
Missouri, like other states, requires a permit before an elevator or any associated equipment can be installed. After the permit is issued, the state requires an inspection and testing of the equipment by a licensed inspector, and the filing of a report within 10 days of the inspection. The builder must obtain an operating certificate prior to operation of the equipment and renew that certificate regularly as required by law. The laws in Missouri and elsewhere also require the public display of a building's elevator license or operating permit. State laws generally rely on the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for more specific construction and mechanical standards.
New and Existing Construction
Rules on elevator equipment rooms often distinguish between new and existing construction. In new construction, for example, the code may ban the presence of any equipment in the room that is not related to elevator operation. In existing construction, any extraneous equipment may not block access to elevator motors and machinery. Pipes conveying liquid in existing construction must be isolated and "guttered" so that any leaks are conveyed away from the elevator and related equipment.
Room Access and Space Standards
Elevator machinery rooms are normally off limits to the public; only maintenance personnel should have access, and they must use a key to enter the room. The location of the room is important to ensure that equipment can be easily moved to and from the exterior of the building. On its inspection checklist, the state of Ohio requires that inspectors ensure that electricity supplied to the room is via a separate branch circuit. Anyone using the room should have enough room to remove, replace, inspect and maintain elevator equipment. The room environment is also subject to regulations; for example, in California, the ventilation system must keep the temperature below 104 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.