Why do elevators need to be inspected?
Elevators need to be inspected for several reasons. The primary reason is to ensure that they are safe to use. The Uniform Statewide Building Code (USBC) and Virginia law requires that elevators be inspected and tested at least once a year. The integrity of an elevator and the elevator shaft are critical elements in the fire safety of a building, and can affect the fire fighting techniques of the Fire Department.
The Building Code (Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code - 2012 Virginia Maintenance Code) applies to the maintenance of all buildings. This code sets minimum standards which all buildings must meet. However, the standards may vary depending on when the elevator was installed. Elevators installed after September 1973 must comply with the code which was in effect when they were installed. Elevators installed before September 1973 must comply with the minimum safety standards of USBC-2012 Virginia Maintenance Code.. All elevators must receive an inspection if they are in operation.
The code requires that elevator inspectors be properly trained and certified. The City does not provide an inspector to inspect elevators. Elevator owners will be responsible for making arrangements with qualified inspectors to have their elevators inspected and tested. The City will maintain a list of known qualified elevator inspectors. Owners may use inspectors on the list or submit the credentials of another inspector for inclusion on the list. Qualified inspectors must possess:
- A QEI (nationally recognized certification) or a Virginia Elevator Inspector's Certificate.
- A minimum of $1,000,000 liability insurance.
- A valid business license.
The City charges a processing and administrative fee of $76.50 per Certificate of Compliance. The cost of the inspections and tests are the responsibility of the owner.
The City is requiring what is known in the code as a "periodic inspection and test" be performed. These procedures are outlined in Section 1002 of the elevator code, known as ASME A-17.1.
The purpose of the building code is to ensure safety. The code allows the building Official to issue code modifications as long as the intent of the code is being met. Older elevators may not meet every requirement of the code. In these cases, an evaluation of the circumstances will be made, and as long as conditions are safe, a code modification may be granted. Applications for code modifications are to be made in writing to the Building Official. In the event of a dispute, the USBC provides an appeals process through the local Board of Appeals. There is no cost to appeal.
Certificates will be valid for one year from the date of inspection. Owners will be responsible for ensuring that their elevators are properly inspected and certified.
New elevators are required to comply with all of the current requirements. New elevators may not be put into operation without a valid Certificate of Compliance.
New elevators must be inspected by an approved, qualified third party inspector. Upon receipt of the inspection report indicating compliance with code, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued. There will be no charge for the initial Certificate of Compliance.
Elevators which currently have a valid Certificate of Compliance are in compliance with the regulations, and require no further action until the Certificate expires. At that time, another inspection is required for compliance.
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