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Understanding the Difference: ASME A18.1 and ASME A17.1 Elevator Codes cover

Understanding the Difference: ASME A18.1 and ASME A17.1 Elevator Codes

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When it comes to elevators, whether it's in a commercial building, an apartment complex, or your own home, safety is paramount. To ensure this, governing bodies like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) provide guidelines, or codes, that detail safety standards for elevator design, construction, and operation. Two such codes are the ASME A18.1 and ASME A17.1. But what do these codes mean, and how do they impact you? This article aims to demystify these codes, highlight their differences and similarities, and help you understand when each code is applied.

What is the ASME Code Standard?

Before we delve into the differences, let's get a grasp of what an ASME code is. Essentially, it's a set of safety standards and guidelines created by ASME. It governs various aspects of engineering, including pressure technology, construction equipment, and, yes, elevators. Following these codes is not just about ticking a regulatory box; they ensure the safest possible conditions for the people using the equipment and those maintaining it.

  • ASME codes encompass a wide range of engineering aspects, including pressure technology, construction equipment, and elevators.
  • Compliance with these codes ensures the highest level of safety for both users and maintenance staff.
  • The codes guide everything from design to operation, testing, maintenance, and more.

ASME A17.1: The Mainstream Code for Elevators and Escalators

ASME A17.1, also known as the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, applies to nearly all standard vertical transport equipment. It covers the design, construction, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair of the equipment. Whether you're in a shopping mall, an office building, or a subway station, if you're using an elevator or an escalator, it most likely adheres to ASME A17.1.

This code contains several sections dedicated to different types of elevators (passenger, freight, etc.) and escalators, each with specific guidelines for construction and operation. For example, the code has particular rules about the size and design of the elevator cab, door types, control systems, and much more. The goal is to ensure the highest level of safety for every type of vertical transport equipment that people use every day. ASME A17.1 also applies to residential home elevators.

  • It covers design, construction, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair.
  • The code contains specific sections dedicated to different types of elevators (passenger, freight, residential etc.) and escalators.
  • Its detailed guidelines address elements such as elevator cab size and design, door types, control systems, and more.

ASME A18.1: Specifically for Platform Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts

On the other hand, ASME A18.1, known as the Safety Standard for Platform Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts, applies to a specific subset of vertical transport equipment. These are typically seen in private homes, small businesses, or public buildings and provide accessibility options for those who have mobility challenges.

Platform lifts, such as the Savaria V-1504, might transport a person in a wheelchair from the ground level to a stage or a raised platform. Stairway chairlifts, often seen in residential settings, assist individuals who have difficulty climbing stairs. Unlike standard elevators, these lifts operate at lower speeds and cover shorter distances. The ASME A18.1 code governs the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, and alteration of such equipment.

  • It's focused on providing accessibility for those with mobility challenges.
  • The equipment it governs includes platform lifts, which transport a person in a wheelchair to a raised platform, and stairway chairlifts, which assist individuals with difficulty climbing stairs.
  • The ASME A18.1 code guides the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, and alteration of these specific types of equipment.

Key Differences Between ASME A17.1 and A18.1

Now that we understand the basics, let's delve into the differences between these two codes. The principal difference lies in the equipment they apply to: ASME A17.1 is for standard elevators and escalators, while A18.1 is for platform lifts and stairway chairlifts.

Another key distinction is the scope of the guidelines. ASME A17.1, applicable to large-scale commercial and residential elevators, tends to have more complex guidelines due to the higher risks involved with these machines. For instance, A17.1 covers sophisticated safety features such as automatic door operation, emergency ventilation, fire recall systems, and speed-limiting devices.

In contrast, ASME A18.1 covers equipment primarily designed to aid people with mobility issues over shorter distances. These devices have simpler construction and less stringent safety guidelines due to their slower speeds and smaller capacities.

  • ASME A17.1 is for standard elevators and escalators, while A18.1 is for platform lifts and stairway chairlifts.
  • A17.1 has more complex guidelines due to the higher risks involved with larger-scale commercial and residential elevators. It covers safety features like automatic door operation, emergency ventilation, fire recall systems, and speed-limiting devices.
  • A18.1 has less stringent safety guidelines due to the slower speeds and smaller capacities of the equipment it covers.

Similarities Between the Two Codes

Despite their differences, the ASME A17.1 and A18.1 codes also share many similarities. Both are concerned with the safety of elevating equipment and provide guidelines for design, construction, installation, and maintenance. They are also both committed to regular updates to keep abreast of technological advancements and any new safety concerns that arise in the industry.

Both codes also underscore the importance of regular inspections and maintenance. They mandate that lifts and elevators should be periodically inspected to ensure that safety features are functioning correctly and that the equipment is in good overall condition.

  • Both codes provide guidelines for design, construction, installation, and maintenance.
  • They are regularly updated to keep up with technological advancements and new safety concerns.
  • Both codes emphasize the importance of regular inspections and maintenance, mandating periodic checks to ensure safety features are functioning correctly and that the equipment is in good condition.

Which Code Should You Follow?

The code you should follow largely depends on the type of vertical transport equipment you have or intend to install. For regular elevators and escalators, ASME A17.1 will guide you in the design, construction, and maintenance processes. If you're dealing with platform lifts or stairway chairlifts, you should follow the ASME A18.1 guidelines.

  • For regular elevators and escalators, you should follow the ASME A17.1 guidelines.
  • For platform lifts and stairway chairlifts, the ASME A18.1 guidelines apply.

In a nutshell, ASME A17.1 and A18.1 are two distinct safety codes created to govern different types of elevating equipment. While they serve different categories of lifts, both aim to ensure the safety of users and the proper operation of the equipment. By following these codes, you'll not only be ensuring regulatory compliance but, most importantly, the safety of the individuals using your elevating equipment.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of the ASME codes A17.1 and A18.1?

The purpose of these codes is to ensure safety in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of elevating equipment. A17.1 is applicable to standard elevators and escalators, while A18.1 is applicable to platform lifts and stairway chairlifts.

2. Are ASME codes mandatory?

While ASME codes are standards and not laws, they are often adopted into law by governmental bodies, making them mandatory within their jurisdiction. Compliance is essential for safety and often legally required.

3. How often are ASME codes updated?

ASME codes are regularly updated to address technological advancements, new safety concerns, and industry feedback. The exact frequency can vary, but revisions generally occur every three to five years.

4. Who should follow ASME A17.1?

ASME A17.1 should be followed by individuals or organizations involved with the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, and alteration of standard elevators and escalators. This typically includes building owners, engineers, contractors, and inspectors.

5. Who should follow ASME A18.1?

ASME A18.1 should be followed by individuals or organizations involved with platform lifts and stairway chairlifts. This often includes homeowners, small business owners, or public facilities looking to provide mobility solutions.

6. What is the major difference between ASME A17.1 and A18.1?

The major difference between these codes is the type of equipment they cover. A17.1 applies to regular elevators and escalators, while A18.1 applies to platform lifts and stairway chairlifts.

7. Can I use an elevator that does not comply with these codes?

Using an elevator that does not comply with the relevant ASME code is not recommended. Non-compliance could mean the elevator lacks important safety features or has not undergone necessary inspections and maintenance.

8. Who conducts the inspections mandated by these codes?

Inspections are typically conducted by licensed professionals or inspectors from regulatory authorities. They are trained to ensure all equipment adheres to the ASME standards for safety and reliability.

9. Do both codes apply to residential elevators?

While both codes could apply to residential elevators, it generally depends on the type of elevator. Standard home elevators typically fall under A17.1, while platform lifts and stairway chairlifts in homes are governed by A18.1.

10. How can I learn more about these codes?

You can learn more about these codes by visiting the ASME website or consulting with professionals in the elevator industry. If you're planning to install an elevator or similar equipment, it's highly recommended to work with a professional familiar with these codes.

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