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Elevator Code FS90: What Building Owners Need to Know

Ryan Hussey
Written By: Ryan Hussey
Elevator Code FS90: What Building Owners Need to Know

Attention building owners! In 2022, due to a potential safety concern, the State of Massachusetts changed part of their interpretation of the elevator fire service code, and in order for your elevator to be in compliance — and therefore operational — you may need to have it updated and retested.

Massachusetts had been issuing conditional certificates for what they’ve defined as the elevator code “FS90” violation and granting extensions on the repairs needed to comply with the update to the Phase II Emergency Control Operation section of the elevator safety code.

However, the state is no longer granting extensions, and all tests must be completed by your annual elevator state test in 2024.

If you haven’t heard of this update, or have been putting off efforts to address it, here’s what you need to know about FS90, the Phase II in-car stop switch update and how Stanley Elevator can help.

What Is FS90?
When Was FS90 Identified?
What Happens with an FS90?
Transition Period and Deadlines
Safety and Compliance
What Building Owners and Managers Must Know
Contact Stanley

What Is FS90?

FS90 is the cited violation for the updated Firefighters Emergency Operation Phase II Emergency In-Car Operation code requirement for certain elevators in Massachusetts. Any elevator found to have an FS90 safety violation by the 2024 annual inspection is at risk of being placarded and shut down by the state until the necessary changes are made.

When Was the FS90 Violation Identified?

This safety issue was first identified by the Office of Public Safety and Inspections (OPSI) at the end of 2021 and then formally announced on March 29, 2022, by the Division of Occupational Licensure (DOL) Office of Public Safety and Inspections.

What Happens During an FS90 Violation?

In simple terms, a firefighter opening an elevator door during a Phase II Emergency In-Car Operation expects that, upon releasing the door opening button, that the elevator door would immediately reclose. Instead, under certain circumstances the stop switch can remove power to the elevator door operator or fail to cause the opening door to re-close when the elevator is on Phase II fire service.

Inspectors from the Massachusetts OPSI have found that these scenarios present a possible safety issue for firefighters and other emergency personnel. The concern is that a firefighter could ride the elevator to a floor, activate the stop switch, but then lose control of the doors and/or have difficulty closing the doors if there was an active fire on the floor.

As such, inspectors have been writing this up as an FS90 violation for elevators that experienced this issue with the in-car elevator stop switches.

If you are interested in the full details of the safety code update, see the full regulation 524 Code of Massachusetts Regulations, specifically section on Phase II Emergency In-Car Operation of 524 CMR 35.00: Safety code for elevators and escalators.

FS90 Transition Period and Deadlines

Initially, the state Board of Elevator Regulations issued a statement that necessary repairs to address this matter should be completed by December 31, 2022. Due to the large number of elevators needing modifications and updates, the state had been issuing individual and blanket extensions.

The state had also been issuing conditional certificates if the elevator unit had passed all other aspects of inspection. If you received a previous extension, your equipment status is considered “certified with stipulation” as your unit passed its annual inspection except for the Firefighters Service Phase II Stop Switch fix.

It is important to understand that the state of Massachusetts is no longer issuing extensions or conditional certificates for operation. So even if you had previously received a “certified with stipulation” operational certificate, the FS90 repair and test for your elevator must be done by its 2024 annual state inspection and test. Any elevators that still have, or are found to have, an FS90 violation by the 2024 annual state inspection will be at risk of placard and removal from service.

FS90 Safety and Compliance

Due to the nature of the FS90 repair, it’s not a do-it-yourself fix that can be handled by building or property maintenance crews. This is a specialized repair that must be contracted out to a licensed elevator repair company. This is for a few reasons:

  • Pursuant to 524 CMR 10.03, permits are required in order to alter firefighter emergency operation controls and/or perform a change in the type of operation or control.
  • These repairs require access to the controller in the elevator machine room, so any repair personnel must be licensed. Additionally, any elevator contractor must apply for a permit in the Massachusetts Inspection and Permitting system (IPS) and pay the corresponding fee, prior to starting repairs.
  • Because of the many different elevator makes and models, the repair company must submit certified plans from the controller manufacturer detailing the repairs to be made.
  • When repairs are complete, the elevator company will notify the state and the re-inspection will be performed during the subsequent annual inspection.

What Building Owners and Managers Need to Know

If you are a building owner or manager, here’s what you need to know:

  • There will be no more applications for extensions or conditional certificates of operation if any of your elevators are found to have an FS90 violation.
  • FS90 re-inspections will occur during your elevator’s annual state inspection in 2024.
  • Because permits are required to alter firefighter emergency operation controls to make this repair, you must contract with a licensed elevator repair company. Permits must be submitted to the State no later than December 31, 2023, regardless of when your 2024 inspection occurs.
  • Any elevators found in violation of FS90 during the 2024 inspection are at risk of being placarded and shut down by the state until the required repairs are made and the elevator is re-inspected.
  • When your elevator passes its FS90 re-inspection, OPSI will issue a new elevator operational certificate without stipulation.

Contact Stanley to Meet the FS90 Requirement

If you’ve been putting off addressing an FS90 violation, time is quickly running out to do so:

  • Assuming that other building owners have been delaying this repair, finding a licensed elevator repair company at the last minute will be extremely difficult.
  • Some older elevators may require specialized or OEM specific parts to enact the repair, which could increase the timeline of your downtime and repair. It’s better to understand as soon as possible what repairs will need to be done.
  • Don’t downplay the risk that the state of Massachusetts could placard and shut down your elevator if it’s found in violation of FS90.

While some controllers require just a few simple relays to be added and a few hours of downtime, some require more extensive software updates and wiring changes. If you need to get this repair done correctly and in a timely manner, contact Stanley Elevator. Stanley has been working with many different elevator controller vendors to come up with fixes for FS90.

Even if your equipment is old or obsolete, we have many solutions to offer and have partnered with a variety of controller vendors and third party suppliers to bring our clients’ elevators up to code. We have experience in dozens of different controllers, have completed hundreds of FS90 updates and received clean certificates for a wide variety of manufacturers, models and vintages of elevator controllers we’ve worked on throughout Massachusetts.

When it comes to getting this needed repair done in a timely manner, you can trust the Stanley difference.

Contact Us to discuss modifications, retest permits and the reinspection certifications you need so that your elevator can be in compliance with the state’s updated requirements.

Ryan Hussey

As VP of Operations for Stanley Elevator, Ryan oversees the field, construction and modernization teams. His resume includes over 10 years of first-hand experience in elevator field service, project management, surveying, estimating and warehouse operations.

Ryan’s role focuses on incorporating new technologies into Stanley Elevator’s operations, while prioritizing the continuous advancement of their elevator maintenance, repairs, modernization and installation services. He also maintains Stanley Elevator’s certifications and relationships with associations, including the Massachusetts Elevator Safety Association (MESA), the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Elevator Contractors of America (ECA).

Ryan holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Providence College and is working on an MBA at Babson College.