ASME A17.3-2023: Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators

Businesspeople standing in clear existing elevator adhering to ASME A17.3-2023 on way to meeting in fancy, blurry building.

ASME A17.3-2023: Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators is the latest edition of the existing elevators code.

Safety of Existing Elevators

Fear is a natural feeling, a nervousness surrounding the forces that might bring one harm. However, sometimes this feeling prepares one for the unlikely, or it is triggered in unrelated moments. While there is no official name for the fear of elevators, it likely is associated with claustrophobia and agoraphobia.

Overall, however, elevators are safe. U.S. passengers travel more than 2.55 billion miles on elevators and escalators each year, and injuries take place only in a minuscule fraction of a percent of all occurrences. Elevator safety has been assured throughout the past century thanks to the helping hand of standards.

About the Elevator Code, ASME A17.1

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has published ASME A17.1 as a safety code for elevators, escalators, and related equipment since 1921. Currently, ASME A17.1-2022: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators serves as the basis for the safe design, construction, installation, operation, testing, inspection, maintenance, alteration, and repair of elevators, dumbwaiters, escalators, moving walks, and material lifts.

Existing elevators, escalators, and associated equipment remain a key concern, as not only are they the root of many people’s fears, but they also can be more prone to fault. ASME A17.1-2022 does, in fact, address guidance for existing elevators. In older editions of the code, however, the extent to which the document covers retroactive requirements for existing installations has been varied.

You can learn more about ASME A17.1-2022: Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators here.

About the Safety Code for Existing Elevators, ASME A17.3-2023

By 1986, numerous state and local jurisdictions had developed their own codes for existing elevator installations, so the need for a nationally recognized consensus code for existing installations had become evident. In result, the ASME A17 Elevator and Escalator Committee issued the first edition of A17.3. ASME A17.3-2023 is the current edition of this code.

ASME A17.3-2023 serves as the basis for state and local jurisdictional authorities in adopting retroactive requirements for existing elevators and escalators with the ultimate goal of enhancing the safety of the general public. The code also acts as a standard reference for engineers, architects, insurance companies, manufacturers, building owners and managers, and others in providing a reasonable degree of safety for the general public.

Covering existing elevators, escalators, and their hoistways, ASME A17.3-2023 details guidelines for machinery and equipment, hydraulic elevators, dumbwaiters, hand elevators, sidewalk elevators, moving walks, private residence elevators, and numerous other concepts in its expansive content.

Changes to ASME A17.3-2023

ASME A17.3-2023 revises the 2020 edition of the same standard. As the twelfth edition, to keep its information current, this revision underwent numerous editorial changes and updates, as well as these changes:

  • New Subparagraph (d) was added to Section 2.3.1, “Access to pits,” detailing requirements for fixed vertical ladders within reach of the access doors of pits.
  • New Section 2.6.8, “Bottom Safety Retainers,” was added.
  • New Subparagraph (v) Retractable Ladder Electrical Device was added to Section 3.10.4, “Electrical Protective Devices.”
  • New Subparagraph (c)(2) was added to Section 5.1.11, “Step/Skirt Performance Index,” to specify the escalator step/skirt performance index for escalators installed under ASME A17.1a-2002 or CSA B44-00 Update 1 and later editions and when a skirt deflector device is provided, and the former (c)(2) was revised and redesignated as (c)(3).
  • New Section 5.3.13, “Combplate Vertical Safety Device,” was added.
  • Several cross-references for machinery and equipment for hydraulic dumbwaiters in Section 6.3 were corrected by errata.
  • New Section 9.6.14, “Combplate Vertical Safety Device,” was added.

ASME A17.3-2023: Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators is available on the ANSI Webstore.

Changes to ASME A17.3-2020

The previous edition of the code, ASME A17.3-2020 updated and superseded the 2017 edition of the same standard. As the eleventh edition, this revision underwent numerous editorial changes and updates, as well as some notable changes listed below:

  • New Section 3.8.5, “Emergency Brake,” was added.
  • Requirements for ascending car overspeed and unintended car movements protection were added. This resulted in the addition of new Sections 3.13, “Ascending Car Overspeed and Unintended Car Movement Protection,” 3.10.13, “Ascending Car Overspeed Protection Device,” and 3.10.14, “Unintended Car Movement Device,” as well as expanded provisions for counterweight safeties and control and operating circuit requirements.
  • New Section 4.7.9, “System to Monitor and Prevent Automatic Operation of the Elevator With Faulty Door Contact Circuits,” was added.

Changes to ASME A17.3-2017

ASME A17.3-2017 replaced the 2015 edition. This tenth edition was a significant update. For users who need to be familiar with its changes, we’ve listed them below:

  • Definitions for base, building; control, mechanical-hydraulic; conveyor, vertical reciprocating (VRC); elevator, outside emergency; and several other terms were added.
  • Reference documents and procurement information tables were updated.
  • Guideline on guarding chain drives and belt drives from accidental contact was removed from 3.8.3(b) on “Indirect-Drive Machines.”
  • Clarification that control and operating circuits should conform to the guidelines of 3.10.12, “System to Monitor and Prevent Automatic Operation of the Elevator With Faulty Door Contact Circuits.”
  • Clarification in Part X, “Private Residence Elevators,” that private residences are usually exempt from “periodic” inspections, not “routine” inspections.
  • There was a substantial expansion of on “Clearance Between Hoistway Doors and Landing Sills and Car Doors or Gates.” The clearance between the hoistway doors and the hoistway edge was minimized, as was the distance between the hoistway face of the landing car and the car door or gate, based on one of five circumstances.
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One thought on “ASME A17.3-2023: Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators
  1. Regarding Capacity: Why is 15sqft selected as the magic number for a private residence elevator? With a wheelchair effectively occupying about 10 sqft (40″x36″), there is only 5sqft remaining for an attendant, and absolutely no room for an attendant to assist the individual in the wheelchair, if they are confined to the space for a period of time. Of course, this also precludes the wheelchair-bound individual from having a suitcase accompany them and their attendant.

    Please help me understand this restriction.

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