ASME A17.1-2016 – Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators

***Update: The elevator code has been revised. The current edition, ASME A17.1/CSA B44-2019: Safety Code For Elevators And Escalators, is available on the ANSI Webstore. You can also read about the new safety code here.Pushing elevator button and testing to ASME A17.1

The standard for elevators and escalators is ASME A17.1 – Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. This covers the design, construction, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration, and repair of the equipment and any associated parts, such as hoistways or adjacent spaces.

The document applies specifically to “hoisting and lowering mechanisms, equipped with a car, that move between two or more landings” (elevators), “power-driven stairways and walkways for carrying persons between landings” (escalators and moving walks), and “hoisting and lowering mechanisms equipped with a car that serves two or more landings and is restricted to the carrying of material by its limited size or limited access to the car” (dumbwaiters and material lifts).

In ASME A17.1, the key concern is safety, and by working to assure the efficient use of elevators (or lifts) and rooting them with rigid recommendations, the daily passengers of the elevator cars remain safe. The majority of these efforts are present in the elevators’ construction. This includes design considerations such as using the correct materials, allocating for allowable stresses, a means of suspension for cars and counterweights, and braking mechanisms, just to name a few.

As for escalators and moving walks, the design specifications are written with the same safety interests, but they, of course, are catered to the relevant equipment. For example, the guidelines for escalators call for many important design characteristics in the balustrades, such as their materials (glass or plastic), strength, and geometry.

Many escalators tested to the ASME A17.1 code

ASME A17.1 has been in use since 1921, and its many revisions have undergone changes to keep it current and assure that compliance with its guidelines protects the equipment comprising elevators and escalators, along with the people involved with their use.

Changes to ASME A17.1-16

***Please note: these changes are those made to the 2016 edition of the standard, which has since been revised.

The 2016 revision contains many changes, and there are alterations all throughout the many sections of the incredibly extensive document. Some of these are to the specifications, some are more editorial, and some involve the addition or adaptation of defined terms. For example, elastomeric buffer, “an energy-accumulation-type buffer with nonlinear characteristics (such as a polyurethane buffer) using resilient materials to cushion the impact force of the descending car or counterweight,” has been added.

Elevator shaft with elevator designed to code

To assist in compliance with ASME A17.1-2016, the early pages of the document list all changes made with their corresponding location.

The guidelines in ASME A17.1-2016, which incorporate the industry’s expertise, serve as recommendations for elevators in the United States. However, in many parts of the U.S., local governments require adherence to the latest version of ASME A17.1 as part of the law. For this, it is important to know your legal requirements, since they supersede the content of the recommendations. For an overview of these, please refer to: State Elevator Code

CSA B44: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators in Canada

In Canada, ASME A17.1 functions as CSA B44. This has been incorporated into the National Building Code of Canada, the rules of which have attained legal status by their adoption in certain provinces. You can learn more about this here: Model Code Adoption Across Canada

ASME A17.1-2019 – Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators is now available on the ANSI Webstore.

17 thoughts on “ASME A17.1-2016 – Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators
  1. Hello Victor,

    The state adoption of ASME A17.1-2016 is not determined by the voluntary consensus community, but the state government itself. For Nevada, that is the State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry Division of Industrial Relations (DIR), which is responsible for safety relating to elevators and escalators in that state.

    You should refer to them on their website (where you can also find their contact info:

  2. what is the minimum dimensions of the elevator cab so it can accommodate a stretcher for the state of Texas,what is this dimension for the cab?

  3. Hi,does the additional signs ( ) shall required a mandatory risk assessment and/or what are the factors or objective criteria to support the requirements of such additional signs,which are not mandatory as the caution signs.

  4. Does the A17 allow for a residential lift from a first floor garage to access a second floor bedroom used for sleeping purposes. There will be self closing solid core rated doors on the first and second floors.

    Thank you,

  5. what is the dynamic amplification factor to be utilized in the design of the beams carrying the escalator

  6. Does the A17.1-2019 emergency two-way communication require a 24/7 video interface? If so, how are the independent companies facilitating the requirement?

  7. Is independent ventilation always required for elevator machine rooms? If so, is there a less expensive alternate to a mini-split system?

  8. What does the revision say about NOT using u-clamps for wire termination. What type of clamps should be used to terminate the wire rope?

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