New elevator codes coming

The Planning Department will require the installations of all elevators and other kinds of mechanical conveyance equipment meet a new code for operation, inspection and repair as of 1 May 2009.

The new standard for such installations is the 2007 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, published by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Chief Building Control Officer Emerson Piercy said elevator and other conveyance equipment installed or altered prior to 1 May were also expected to be in compliance with the published ASME code.

‘In instances where compliance with these requirements is not feasible, the department will evaluate the situation on a case-by-case basis, and apply the code that is best suited to the circumstances,’ Mr. Piercy said.

Besides elevators, the new code applies to other conveyance equipment such as escalators, moving walks, dumbwaiters and material lifts.

In addition to requiring the ASME code on new elevator installations or alterations, the Building Control Unit is working with property owners and contractors to establish a date for implementing the new code for existing elevators.

Elevator safety became a public issue in late 2007, when Androgroup Elevator Ltd. filed a complaint with the Office of the Complaints Commissioner suggesting elevator inspections were not being done on an equitable basis. The complaint letter raised the issue of elevator safety by mentioning instances of elevators on Cayman that had failed inspections but remained in operation anyway.

Speaking about the complaint, Androgroup Elevator Chief Executive Alan Roffey pointed out there was no requirement for the regular inspections of elevators in the Cayman Islands.

Complaints Commissioner John Epp ultimately issued a report finding maladministration by the Building Control Unit and he made a series of recommendations for changes in inspection procedures. However, Mr. Epp refused to make the entire report public and threatened Mr. Roffey with contempt of court if he released it to the media.

Prior to the release of Mr. Epp’s report in March 2008, the Planning Department announced it planned to require regular inspections of all of Cayman’s estimated 150 to 200 elevators.

Ultimately, the Building Control Unit hired Gerald Mazur as an elevator inspector.

The move to the new ASME code system further regularises the industry. The new code was reviewed during an 11 February Planning Department meeting held with representatives of Cayman’s elevator industry.

Mr. Roffey gave his support to the actions.

‘The A.17.1.2007 Code that BCU has chosen to adopt for new elevator installations is a very good code and they have hired an inspector that is very experienced in the elevator industry to implement its due process,’ he said. ‘The implementation of the new code will cause the Cayman Islands to rank as highly as any jurisdiction in North America.’

Mr. Roffey warned, however, that repair works would be necessary on many existing elevators in order for them to be brought up the required standard.

‘Androgroup Elevator is working closely with BCU and our customers to see that this transition works as smoothly and as seamless as possible,’ he said.

Building owners with any questions about the new code are asked to call Mr. Mazur on 769-1571 or 526-1571.

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