TSSA Implements New Elevator Code – Last Chance to Install Under Old CodeRolly Mechler
This past December our blog was entitled: “4 Reasons You Need to Pull the Trigger on Your Elevator Job”. In re-reading it, nothing has changed that would make me reconsider our recommendation.
- Prices are continuing to escalate at unbelievable levels (a supplier shocked me with another massive hike this past week)
- Project lead times continue to grow as suppliers scramble for certain components
- Labour challenges persist as companies look for skilled trades people
- The pending code change is no longer “pending”, it has happened.
It is the latter that I’d like to focus on.
TSSA Adopts New Elevator Code
- On February 1, 2022, TSSA announced that they have adopted the ASME A17.1/B44-2019 code, replacing the current code in place, the ASME A17.1/B44-2010.
- The code change has a number of implications for modernizations, but the biggest requirement for this code change pertains to the addition of one-way video, two-way messaging emergency communication technology. Traditionally, elevators have been equipped with a phone for use by riders in the event of any emergency. This new protocol will require elevators to better support its passengers with hearing impairments by mandating a form of one-way visual and two-way messaging communication.
What Will the New Elevator Code Cost the Owner?
- Manufacturers of the car operating panels and emergency phones are scrambling to finalize the new technology and price it. The estimates we have been given are that the new communication technology could add as much at $10K per elevator.
- Beyond the initial capital cost increase, however, there is a huge associated operating cost that many elevator owners may not be considering. For many decades, the entire elevator industry has been set up to handle emergency telephone communication for trapped passengers with simple infrastructure (i.e. phones in the elevator cars and phones in the Elevator Company’s Office and/or an After-Hours Call Centre). Now there is a requirement to handle video calls, and send/receive special two-way messaging. Customers who currently handle their own calls internally (e.g. hotels, large institutions) must now invest in this technology. Likewise, Elevator Companies and/or Call Centres must now also invest in this expensive technology. The operating costs of emergency elevator monitoring could increase by 10 times, if not more.
- One of the other costs may be time and aggravation. It is not a simple thing to implement a new elevator code. While there are always attempts to limit ambiguity, there is always a place for interpretation and from past experience, there can be significant differences in understanding between TSSA Engineers, Inspectors, Industry Manufacturers, and Elevator Contractors, when first inspecting elevators installed under a new code. This often means delays in passing inspections and sometimes even means multiple re-inspections, thus delaying elevator handover (which can be extremely costly to owners). Our recommendation to our customers has always been: “do everything possible not to be the guinea pig with a new code”.
Once again, the TSSA has provided a last chance to submit under the old code for any modernizations or new construction projects that are “sold” prior to July 31, 2022. They have not indicated how long the customer has been given to install after submitting under the old code, however, from precedent they typically honour such submissions for a couple years.
While there are certainly benefits to the new code initiatives, some elevator owners may feel that they do not warrant the added costs outlined above. If that is you, and you have a new construction or modernization project on the radar, then do everything possible to work with your elevator contractor to come up with a plan to get it “sold” prior to July 31, 2022.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions on any of the above: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sales & Marketing Manager
Rolly has been in the elevator industry for over 20 years in both a sales role and running an Operations Department. He works hard to help implement methods to provide superior service to Elevator One clients.