Changes to Rules for Older Elevators
In February 2010, the Iowa Elevator Safety Board
(Board) began studying the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
A17.3 code that requires older elevators be upgraded to a higher level of
safety. After 5 years of study the Board adopted a modified version of the
A17.3 code. The enforcement date for the new requirements is May 1,
2020. To view the new rules,
What are the major upgrades that will be required?
Notable Requirements (PDF)
What were the results of the survey the Board conducted?
Survey Results (PDF)
Are there parts of A17.3 that Iowa did not adopt?
New controllers are a significant cost, so the Board did not adopt 2
provisions that would require a new controller: emergency response and car
top operation. The Board required car top lights and outlets as
set forth in A17.1 (2013) instead of the car top operation requirements of
A17.3. The Board allowed 60-inch chains as counterweight guards and guide rails made of material other than steel if they were
legal at the time of installation.
What if my elevator is new?
Most elevators that are less than 20 years old will not be affected by the
adoption of A17.3. As a general rule, the only elevators that will need
upgrades were installed before 1975.
What if my elevator has been modernized?
Typical elevator modernizations include many of the upgrades required by
What is the A17.3 code?
A17.3 code was written by the ASME specifically for older elevators.
Why would Iowa adopt a code written by ASME?
The Board is specifically authorized by Iowa Code Chapter 89A to adopt
A17.3. The first edition of the A17.3 code was published in 1986 and about
half the states enforce it. Elevators, escalators, boilers and pressure
vessels in Iowa and many other states are governed by ASME codes adopted by
How long will I have to comply with the requirements?
Owners have 5 years to comply with the modified version of A17.3.
Are there any advantages to the upgrades required
● Enhanced safety for elevator inspectors and
● Reduced risk of property damage from vandalism
● Easier operation by people with disabilities
● Emergency communication for people in the elevator
● Reduced risk of people falling down the hoistway
● Safer extraction of people trapped in the car
● Reduced risk of overloading the elevator car
● Reduced risk of a crime against a passenger in the car
● Reduced risk of injury due to crushing
● Reduced risk of catastrophic failure of manually-operated elevators
● Prevent the accumulation of sewer gas in an elevator pit and hoistway
What work will be required on my elevator?
The work that needs to be done depends on factors specific to each elevator
such as the original model, installation details, upgrades, and maintenance.
During 2013 most older elevators were surveyed by elevator inspectors. A
copy of each survey was left at the building.
How much will I have to spend?
Obtaining estimates from 2 or more elevator companies is the best way to
determine your cost.
Will the proposed changes affect my escalator?
A17.3 code also improves the safety of older escalators. However, it is not
anticipated that the owner of an escalator will be required to make a
significant financial investment as a result of A17.3.