Sunday, September 25, 2016

NAEC – Montreal United Convention

I had the opportunity to attend the 2016 NAEC United Convention.  It was a great event.  Every four years there is a United Convention which brings together the US and Canadian trades groups, NAEC and CECA.  This year the IAEC[consultants] where a partner in the convention.  This is a good way for contractors, suppliers and consultants to get together and share experiences, ideas, learn and see what is new on the market. 

Monday – We had a presentation on new technology form 8 different suppliers.  The two big items I took away was CEDES selling a new 3D scan device which will come out in 3 different phases which if it is what they say it is will be the only 3D scan that works well.  The other item was a non-heat producing push button lamp[led] replacement for some of the popular fixtures, no bleed through, no heat which are guaranteed for life from Mathis Electronics.

Tuesday – We had a key note address by Brian Holloway, AFC winning 85’ Patriots.  He was great and motivating and he did touch on the 85’ Bears.  We had our general business session and then our contractor session.  The hot topic in the contractor session was the MCP.  MEI gave a modernization start to finish presentation for efficiencies and best practices and Dick Gregory gave a talk about A17.1 which touched on OEO and MCP.

Wednesday – The show started which had a ton of suppliers showing their elevator equipment and new products.  There was also education sessions going on all day.  I attended Maxtons electronic valve presentation and another MCP informational session with John Koshak.  There was a opportunity for NAEC’s under 40 people, called NexGen, to get together for lunch.  During the evening there was a great dinner with Cirque performers.

Thursday – Final day of the trade show.  I got to attend a group that gets together called Bridge Builders which included NAEC, CECA, Elevator U, Elevator World, EESF, NAESA, ASME, NEII and groups from China, Japan & Argentina. 

It was a busy week going around the show from here to there but as much as I am ready to leave at the end of it, I get excited about elevators and getting back to work with the knowledge I got from the convention.  I saw countless good friends and business relationships and met more this trip.  The connections you can make in a reception, on the show floor, at an education session, at breakfast, at dinner, at a after party are invaluable.

Next year’s NAEC convention is in Orlando Florida. 

If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Private Residential Elevators[PRE] in semipublic facilities – State of Illinois open territories

The latest State of Illinois Fire Marshall Elevator Safety meeting brought on some interesting potentials for facilities like churches, VFW, American Legions, etc that installed private residential elevators in them.

The only building that should have a private residential elevator is a private residence[one family].  Over the years instead of installing a typical commercial elevators churches, VFW’s and other similar buildings that have low traffic installed the PRE. This was never “street legal” but accepted for many years by many inspectors.

A contractor asked for clarification about some recent inspections not passing the lifts due to noncompliance.  The State indicated these lifts should not be passed as they are not included in the State of Illinois public act and should have never been issued conveyance #’s.  Buildings may have filled out the application many years ago and they were miss classified and went under the radar for years.

ASME A18.1 Safety Standard [§410.1]
ASME A18.1 Safety Standard for Platform Lifts and Stairway ChairliftsPlatform lifts must meet the ASME A18.1 Safety Standard for Platform Lifts and Stairway Chairlifts. The ASME A18.1 covers the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance and repair of lifts that are intended for transportation of persons with disabilities.    However, use of a later edition of the ASME A18.1 may provide equivalent or greater accessibility.  Questions about the ASME A18.1 code should be directed to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (
While a final decision was not made it was indicated that any PRE must comply with A18.1.  This creates a significant issue for many buildings in open territories that work with the State for their certificates.  If a lift doesn’t have a current certificate they should not be maintained or worked on unless they get an extension.

Municipalities with agreements with the State - Towns with agreements with an elevator inspector will have more flexibility and may not need to comply with A18.1.  These would be towns like Glenview, Skokie, Des Plaines, Homewood, etc.

Take away – While not 100% answer was given buildings that are in “open territories” should talk to their lift maintenance provider about how to comply with A18.1. 

If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sprinklers in elevator areas

Holy sprinklers Batman!  I have been to 2 buildings this week and heard of a 3rd building that is having issues with the addition of sprinklers to buildings that have caused significant code consequences to existing elevators.  To Illinois this is something that is new to most buildings, within the last 2-3 years.  Buildings have been installing sprinklers due to mandates, build outs, etc and have not addressed what their elevators need to do i.e. Fireman’s recall.

A building introduces a sprinkler to a 50 year old building, the building installs a heat detector next to the sprinkler heads, these heads can be in the elevator hoistway or machine room.  Some buildings even add a smoke detector next to the heat detector.  When you have heat detectors you need to have a shunt trip.

Building #1
[Elevator pit - Sprinkler and heat in the top right corner - needs a smoke detector - when you have a heat, you need a smoke]

Building #2
[Sprinkler sited - no shunt trip, when the sprinkler goes off there will be live electrical and electrify the elevator machine room]

So what is the big deal?  For 2 of the 3 elevators with new sprinklers, if the elevator is moving and people are in the elevator and the heat detector goes off, the shunt trip is triggered and the elevator loses power.  If someone is in the elevator, they will be trapped, and since the heat went off there is most likely a fire and the person in the elevator most likely will be exposed to tremendous heat, fire or danger.  The 3rd elevator I was made aware of does have fire recall but no flashing hat, this 3rd elevator has an even smaller potential for safety/danger but it is still lurking out there in a certain scenario.  Fireman goes in the elevator with out knowing that there is a fire in the pit or machine room[because there is no flashing hat], heat trips shunt, fireman is trapped.

What is the likelihood of this occurring to my building?  The likelihood of there ever being a situation is very small. However, any risk that can be avoided, should be avoided, there is not a price you can put on someone’s life.

I just installed sprinklers, heats and shunts, what do I do now?   You have to call your elevator contractor and have them identify if your elevator control system is capable of working with a fireman’s recall system and have a flashing hat.  Remember fire recall is different than having flashing hat. 

Logic behind this

Installation of sprinklers = installation of heat detector next to sprinkler head
Installation of heat detector = installation of smoke detectors
Installation of heat detector = installation of shunt trip
Installation of smoke detectors = Fireman’s recall is required on elevator controller w/flashing hat

How did we miss this?  The Bill Buckner like scenario is very common.  You have a building design team or fire system design team or sprinkler design team who meets the building department’s requirements.  Most design teams are not elevator code experts or ever know how it straddles into the realm of elevator systems. Very Common.  Unfortunately everything having to do with each component of adding sprinklers is expensive, even the elevator system.

What do I have to do now?  Most likely you will need to modernize the elevator control system.  There are elevator control system add on panels, most of the time we do not recommend the installation of this panel.  Every elevator is different you need to make a good decision based on the elevator system that is installed in your building.  Call your contractor, if you don’t like what they tell you, call someone who knows what options you have.

Sump pump -  If you have sprinklers you should also look into adding a sump pump, if that sprinkler ever goes off you will need a way to get the water out of the elevator pit.  And ask the Building Department what their stance on sumps on sprinkled elevator pits.

Most likely the building decision maker was doing everything correct with the information given to them by the other design professionals[building, sprinkler & fire].  Unfortunately if you are in this position they did not know enough to globally review the cost implication to the addition of sprinklers on other parts of the building.

If you have any questions or would like information from Colley Elevator you can go to, email or call 630-766-7230.