HonoluluThe Hawaii State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) has adopted new elevator standards effective this month. The adoption of the proposed administrative rules will bring elevator standards up to the 2010 American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards for new elevators and the 2011 ASME code for existing elevators. The revised rules also clarify that the applicable code for older elevators is the code in effect at the time of installation.

The  old rules used the ASME standards from 1996, which have been updated four times since, but in Hawaii the administrative rules for elevator safety were last updated fourteen years ago in 2000 and the 1996 code was adopted in 1998.

Under the new rules, all new elevators will have to comply with the ASME A17.1-2010 code for new elevators, while existing elevators must comply with the code in effect at the time of installation of alteration. If the installation or alteration permit was issued after 1997 then the equipment must comply with the ASME A17.3-2011 code for existing elevators.

[pullquote]The new code allows for a more effective use of space in building design because it does not require separate machine rooms and the use of new types of hoisting machines are considerably smaller and more energy efficient.
Darren Hamasaki, District Manager for New Installations and Modernizations for Schindler Elevator
[/pullquote]Upgrading the elevator code is part of an ongoing effort by the DLIR to improve the operations of the Boiler & Elevator Branch. In 2011, 78 percent of the state’s 6,700 elevators had expired operating permits, according to state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations spokesman Bill Kunstman. Act 103 (SLH, 2012) provided for ten additional positions for the department to address backlogs in boiler and elevator inspections. The additional inspectors have allowed the DLIR to reduce the significant backlog of inspections. The Act also increased fees and created a special fund so the Branch could be self-sufficient and not dependent on general funds.

“Requiring a written Maintenance Control Program and operating permits in elevators will involve some higher costs up front,” said Thad Tomei of the Elevator Branch. “But the increased public safety and resulting slower increase in insurance premiums will more than offset the costs in the long run.”

The DLIR is also developing a new information technology system to replace an aging, paperbased process. This phased project will implement a web-based system that will be accessible 24/7 and mobile friendly. The installation application for new elevators was the first component of the new system and was made available on August 6, 2013. The second phase is under development and involves building a database, and enables the request, approval and issuance of permits via the web.

“It’s good that we’re keeping up with the times from a public safety perspective,” said Darren Hamasaki, District Manager for New Installations and Modernizations for Schindler Elevator Corporation. “The new code allows for a more effective use of space in building design because it does not require separate machine rooms and the use of new types of hoisting machines are considerably smaller and more energy efficient.”

“This is a huge step forward for the department, the elevator industry and building owners in the state,” said Michael Chung, Consultant for Elevator Consulting Services, Inc. “Making it clear what code is applicable and bringing Hawaii’s code up to date means building owners, elevator companies, architects, engineers and the State’s inspectors will all know what is required of each elevator in Hawaii.”

New Code Highlights

  • Requires the posting of permits conspicuously in the elevator car. In cases where this is impractical or infeasible, owners may request exemptions from the director to post in another location in the building as long as a posting in the elevator states where the permit may be viewed and it is available for viewing whenever the elevator is in operation.
  • Makes the development of a written Maintenance Control Program mandatory and available in electronic or paper formats on site. The Maintenance Control Program is standard in the elevator industry across the country in jurisdictions that have adopted up to date standards—regular equipment maintenance is an essential and integral component of safely operating elevators.
  • Permits variances for building owners to bring elevators up to code in cases of practical difficulties or due to undue hardships.
  • Requires a data plate indicating year of installation and thereby applicable code as well as year for each subsequent alteration
  • Enables streamlined building design and construction because the proposed rules were developed in consultation with the fire and building codes and harmonized with those codes.
  • Specifies that all accidents resulting in damage to equipment or injuries to persons must be reported to the department within eight hours and requires a subsequent accident report.