The first ancient elevators were cabs attached to lengths of rope that were lifted either by animal or manual labor. Development of screw drive and hydraulic elevators followed. Today, elevators are found in buildings all around the world. Although regulations regarding their use differ by state and country, elevator code requirements were developed to ensure their users' safety.
General requirement codes typically cover the construction, operation, testing, inspection, repair, alteration and maintenance of elevators. Included in these general requirements, such as in the Florida state code, is the requirement that each elevator should have a unique serial number that the regulatory department assigns. This serial number must be posted in plain view, in the cab and on the driving mechanisms. This same serial number is also used on all permits and certifications. It is also a common general requirement that the elevator owners are required to not only maintain the elevators but also correct any deficiencies that regulatory agencies find.
Handicapped Accessibility Requirements
Florida elevator code 399.035 states that all elevators installed after Oct. 1, 1990, must be accessible to physically handicapped persons. Arabic and Braille numbers must be placed over call buttons in elevators that do not service every floor. Every car interior must have at least one wall with a support rail. This railing must not be more than an inch and a half thick or two and a half inches in diameter and must be at least 42 inches long overall. This statute also states that public buildings more than three stories tall must have at least one elevator that will accommodate a 76-inch-long by 24-inch wide ambulance stretcher.
Most states require an annual inspection of all public elevators. These inspections must typically be conducted by either a certified elevator inspector or a municipality-assigned inspector. In some states this annual inspection may be waived. In Florida, if an elevator serves only two adjacent floors and is covered under a maintenance contract, the inspection is not needed while the contract is in effect. In some states, such as Colorado, elevator owners are required to arrange their own inspections via a third-party inspector.
Correction of Violations
Most state elevator code requirements mandate that the owners are required to correct any violations of code found during the inspection process. Chapter II of Illinois Administrative Code Title 41 states that owners have 30 days from the date of their elevator inspection to correct any violations and come into full compliance. The licensed inspector will then reinspect the elevator and the actions that were taken to correct the violations. If the corrections are found to be adequate, a follow-up inspection report is issued showing that the owner corrected the violations.