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Elevator Design Guidelines

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Ensure Your Elevator Systems Meet Standards and Codes Required by Law

Proper elevator design guidelines are essential for architects and builders that are in the beginning of any development project. The Massachusetts Board of Elevator Regulations has implemented strict design and construction requirements in the interest of public safety, as have similar boards in other New England regions. These policies are in addition to and in some cases overlap with the requirements outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). All contractors must subcontract work to a registered elevator contractor that understands and follows these design protocols.

Whether you’re building or installing elevator systems in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Maine, Stanley Elevator has the experience and expertise New England property owners and managers have relied on for over 65 years.

Overview of Elevator Design Regulations

Several provisions of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (as well as the ADA) outline safety requirements that all elevators must meet. Here is an overview of some of these regulations contractors must meet while designing and installing an elevator in any commercial or residence in the state.

Cab Dimensions
CMR 28.7 contains a number of policies elevator cabs must meet:

  • All elevator cabs in new buildings must be at least 54” wall-to-wall and 68” wall-to-door. Elevator cabs in buildings constructed before the passage of CMR 521 CMR 28.00 must be at least 48” by 48”.
  • Every cab must also have a handrail, which will be placed between 32” and 36” above the car floor.
  • Every hoistway clearance must not exceed 1 and ¼”.

Elevator cab floors and surfaces must also meet the requirements provided under 521 CMR 29.00 and other applicable codes.

Elevator Doors
The reliability and safety of the doors are among the most important features of every elevator. Doors must meet the following requirements to pass inspection by the Board of Elevator Regulations:

  • Doors must open and close automatically.
  • The opening must be at least 32”.
  • Doors may not close faster than 12” per second.
  • The doors must have a reopening device that is triggered if the door is obstructed or a person enters the opening. It must be capable of detecting obstructions passing between 5” and 29” inches of the finished floor.

These rules are outlined under CMR 28.6 and subject to modification.

Self Leveling
Every car in an elevator must have its own self-leveling unit to control the distance the car travels. The self-leveling device must be independent of the main elevator controls. Self-leveling features must be within a 1/2” tolerance.

Hall Call Buttons
All elevators must have call buttons to alert building operators of any emergencies. These call buttons must be accessible to all passengers as outlined under outlined by outlined under both CMR 28.3. The Department of Public Safety currently uses the standards covered by 4.10.14 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but reserves the right to expand on them.

The main provisions of the call button requirement stipulate:

  • They must be positioned 42 inches above the floor.
  • They must be at least ¾” in diameter.
  • They must be identified with a raised star or lettering.
  • Objects positioned underneath the call button cannot project into the lobby more than 4”.

ADA Accessibility Guidelines are subject to change, so contractors should regularly review 4.10.14 and CMR 28.3 for future changes. Not sure where to start? The Stanley Elevator team knows elevator design guidelines and codes inside and out. Let us help.

Schedule a Consultation for Your Elevator Design Guidelines

With a reputation of excellence and expertise built since our first elevator installation in 1951, Stanley Elevator has been providing the consultative–as well as installation, repair, maintenance, and modernization–services New England can count on. In Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maine, call 1-800-258-1016 today.