All Posts by Nicole Van Velzen

Recommendations to States Related to Building Transportation Equipment during COVID-19 Reopening Efforts

Everyone is trying to figure out what will be the new “normal” in the era of Covid-19, and we have seen lots of questions related to the use, cleaning and design of elevators and escalators within discussions about the types of services our industry can offer. One thing is certain: Transmission of the disease occurs when people are in close proximity to one another, and the space in elevators and on escalators presents opportunities for meeting the challenges of the pandemic.


We also know that many routine tasks and others aspects of commerce have changed – people are queued six feet apart to check-out of retail stores, mail packages, etc.; wearing masks is socially expected in public places; and sanitizing  surfaces and surroundings has become the norm.

The building transportation industry has the opportunity to shape the debate around the regulation and use of our equipment, and we need to take assertive action. In order to ensure the appropriate management of issues related to elevators and escalators and to assist states in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and related recovery, NEII is proposing the following: 

COVID-19 Response and Beyond (Long-Term Recommendations)

Encourage the use of “touchless” phone and app-based systems so passengers can call elevators and/or select floors from a personal device through the internet without a need to push the standard elevator buttons from the lobbies or within the car.

  • Jurisdictions should ensure that all such systems providing users a method to call cars and/or select floors from a personal device (or other alternative means), including those that connect through the internet, can be utilized.

Adopt the most recent edition of the A17.1 model elevator code (ASME A17.1/CSA B44, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators) so that the safest and most cost-effective standards are in place and to support a strong economic recovery.

  • Jurisdictions following older versions of A17.1 are encouraged to update their elevator code to the most recent edition (2019).
  • Adopting the most recent code will significantly reduce the number of variances that may be needed each year. Variances add costs and delays, many of which can be avoided by adopting the most recent codes.
  • Manufactures design to the most recent code nationally. Building owners benefit from the economies of scale by purchasing these pre-engineered models, as well as the on-time installation of standard elevators rather than devoting resources to troubleshooting changes specific to any one jurisdiction.

Allow elevator companies to self-attest to the completion of specific work identified by inspectors during annual and other required inspections.

  • Jurisdictions across the U.S. and Canada all face challenges of managing increasing workloads with limited resources.
  • Deficiencies identified during annual inspections are often related to non-life-safety items, many of which are minor such as elevator button lights, etc.
  • Self-attestations related to the completion of the work related to items such as these will reduce the time inspectors dedicate to re-inspections, freeing resources for the completion of annual and other required inspections.
    • Spot-checks can be done to confirm compliance, or those items can be verified during the next scheduled inspection.
  • Citizens need to be confident that all elevators will be inspected every year, especially when equipment will be returned to service after being idle or  shut-down during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders, and some, if not all, will be operating under different conditions and/or be modified moving forward in response to measures aimed at responding to the pandemic.

Implement video inspections to reduce the need for inspectors to travel to multiple sites.

  • Elevator service companies have utilized video inspections in various jurisdiction across the U.S. effectively during the COVID-19 Stay-at-Home orders and restricted operations.
  • Inspectors can perform on-site inspections if specific locations if issues are identified during the video inspection or other factors deem it necessary.
  • Moving forward through re-opening and beyond, video inspections would be a way for jurisdictions to maximize its resources without compromising safety.
  • Video inspections can also reduce the need for inspectors to travel to various locations and interact with numerous people, reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for inspectors, elevator personnel and others.

COVID-19 Response for Building Owners (Short-Term Recommendations)

As part of the detailed risk assessment and site-specific protection plans required by most, if not all re-opening efforts, building owners and managers should have a section specifically related to building transportation equipment to be followed for a specific length of time and discontinued thereafter.


The following recommendations are components of a multi-factor approach for this section of the site-specific protection plan. Specific measures may or may not be adopted depending on requirements, considerations or circumstances.


NOTE: NEII is not a healthcare expert. Its recommendations are based on currently available guidance from the CDC and other authorities.  NEII is not making any claim or representation that any of these measures will prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any other virus or disease.  These recommendations are subject to change as more information about COVID-19 becomes known.


A. Implement physical distancing protocols in elevators. Each site will need to review the size of its cars and number of elevators in a bank to assess distancing between passengers. 


Examples include: 

  • 2500# cars: no more than two people in opposite corners.
  • 3000# & 3500# cars: no more than three people with two in back corners and one in center by door.
  •  Larger service cars (which may have limited access by the public) greater than 72”x 72” can accommodate four.
  • These guidelines were developed based on the “standard” dimensions of elevator cars and are not appropriate in all circumstances. All factors should be considered when determining the appropriate number of persons per elevator, including what type of other preventative measures are being utilized at the location.

B. Space passengers on escalators.

  • At least four steps should remain empty in between passengers.

C. Other passenger traffic control measures, such as:

  • Markings on lobby floors and/or in elevator cars and escalator steps.
  • Stanchions (for lobbies only; not recommended for use inside cars)
  • Destination dispatch systems* (to increase efficiencies of elevator rides and reduce time spent in elevator cars). 

D. Communicate information to passengers and building tenants.

  • Signage plan for content and placement.
  • Other.

E. Cleaning methods and frequency recommendations or alternatives to traditional cleaning methods for each elevator car, escalator railing and all the call buttons.

  • Other measures to comply with current CDC guidance, including but not limited to:
  • Face masks and other coverings.
  • Sanitizer stations.
  • Staggered arrivals, departures and break times of workers and tenants.

G. Other options may also be considered as long they meet all applicable codes, laws and regulations, and they do not restrict accessibility, create unsafe conditions, or hinder performance of the elevators and/or escalators. Examples include:

  • Additional air ventilation for elevator cars and elsewhere in the building.
  • Alternative floors selection options (i.e., “no touch” screens, foot pedals, etc.).
  • Additional elevators.

*Destination Dispatch systems can be either a short-term or a long-term solution. We recommend building owners interested in exploring destination dispatch systems should discuss options with their elevator service companies.


Download a PDF of NEII's recommendations.

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Safety Tips for the Public

Elevator and Escalator Tips for the Riding Public

  • Elevator buttons and escalator handrails are frequently touched surfaces. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after riding an elevator or escalator.
  • Avoid direct hand contact with the elevator buttons.
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when in public. Consider an elevator a public space and cover your mouth and nose when riding.
  • Maintain physical distancing practices in elevators and on escalators when possible.
  • Keep at least four empty steps between you and the person in front and behind you on the escalator.
  • In small elevator cars, two people can stand in opposing corners. In larger elevator cars, three people can practice social distancing with two in the back corners and one in the center facing the door.

Download a PDF below:

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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Elevator and Escalator Tips for the Riding Public:


  • Elevator buttons and escalator handrails are frequently touched surfaces. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after riding an elevator or escalator.
  • Avoid direct hand contact with the elevator buttons.
  • The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends covering your mouth and nose with a cloth face covering when in public. Consider an elevator a public space and cover your mouth and nose when riding.
  • Maintain physical distancing practices in elevators and on escalators when possible.
  • Keep at least four empty steps between you and the person in front and behind you on the escalator.
  • In small elevator cars, two people can stand in opposing corners. In larger elevator cars, three people can practice social distancing with two in the back corners and one in the center facing the door.

Download a PDF below:

NEII Announces 2020 Board of Directors

Spotsylvania, VA. (May 20, 2020)

The Board of Directors will drive NEII's mission to represent the global leaders in the building transportation industry through advocacy and code development.


SPOTSYLVANIA, VA. (May 20, 2020) - The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII), the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry, announced the election of its new Board of Directors and officers. The new leadership team will serve a one-year term effective immediately. The elected officers of the association include:

  • Greg Ergenbright, President – Ergenbright has been President of Schindler Elevator Corporation’s U.S. operations since 2013. He has more than 20 years working in the elevator industry.
  • Erik Zommers, Vice President - Zommers is Senior Vice President/General Manager of Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc.'s Elevator and Escalator Division. He has been with Mitsubishi Electric since 1989 and is in charge of all US operations for the Division.
  • Jared Radabaugh, Treasurer - Radabaugh is the Global Controller at Prysmian Group, where he provides financial, analytical, and decision-making support to the North American renewable energy and OEM business units.
  • Karen Penafiel, Secretary – Penafiel is the Executive Director of NEII and leads the staff team. She has over 30 years of building trade association management and advocacy experience.

NEII welcomes new Board members:

  • James Cramer, Otis Americas – Cramer has been with Otis Elevator Company for nearly 34 years, progressing through roles of increasing responsibility. He has served as the Regional Vice President of the Western Region for more than a decade and is also Interim President of Otis Americas.
  • Kevin Lavallee, thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation – Lavallee serves as the President and CEO, North America at thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation, where he has a history of over 16 years in both the U.S. and Canada with the company.
  • Ken Schmid, KONE Inc. – Schmid now serves as the Executive Vice President of KONE Americas. He has been with KONE in a series of successive leadership roles for more than 35 years.

The returning members of the NEII Board of Directors include:

  • Sterrett Lloyd, Draka Elevator Products – Lloyd currently holds the position of president at Draka Elevator Products where he directs the company's worldwide operations. He began his lifetime of industry service as a contractor and is the third generation of his family to work in the industry.
  • Gary Krupp, Fujitec America, Inc. – Krupp organizes and oversees the management of operations, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing and service across the United States and Canada as the president of Fujitec America, Inc. Mr. Krupp has over 25 years in the elevator industry and began his career with Fujitec in 2002.

The NEII Board of Directors sets the strategic direction of the association to drive its mission to advance safety and innovation in the building transportation industry throughout North America.


“In my new role as president of the NEII Board of Directors, I look forward to continue building on our association’s successes over the past few years," said Greg Ergenbright, president of NEII. "Our industry association has been critical during the current coronavirus pandemic and I look forward to our collaboration as we work to keep the world moving as we get past this point in history. I'm honored to serve with this group of recognized leaders in the vertical transportation industry as we continue to promote safety and drive innovation.”

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Safety Tips for Facility Managers

Elevator and Escalator Tips for Facility Managers Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

  • Clean and disinfect all elevator buttons and other frequently touched surfaces periodically throughout the day.
  • Post signage letting riders know that all high-touch surfaces are being cleaned on a regular basis to help keep them safe.
  • Post signage asking riders to avoid overcrowded elevators and to practice physical distancing.
  • Provide sanitizing wipes and/or hand sanitizer near elevators and escalators.
  • Stay safe in your home, workplace and in commercial environments by following these valuable tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Stagger arrivals, departures and break times for workers or tenants to manage the number of people needing the elevators and/or escalators at the same time.
  • Place queuing marks in elevator lobbies and near escalators to reinforce physical distancing intervals of six feet. 
  • Consider using stanchions, floor decals, etc. to control elevator and/or escalator traffic. 
  • Place decals on the elevator floor to identify where passengers should stand. 
  • Encourage the use of stairs to help manage overcrowding in elevators and elevator lobbies where feasible. Clean and disinfect stairwells and handrails in response to increased stair traffic. 
  • In elevator cars with minimum dimensions of less than 60 inches by 78 inches, two people can stand in opposing corners.
  • In elevator cars with dimensions greater than 60 inches by 78 inches (standard 300# cars and larger), three people can practice social distancing.
  • In elevator cars with dimensions greater than 72 inches by 72 inches (large service cars), four people - one in each corner - can practice social distancing.
    • Note: elevator cars with a minimum of 6 foot width and depth will meet the intent of the CDC guidelines. 

Download a pdf below:

About NEII

NEII is the premier trade association representing the global leaders in the building transportation industry. Its members install, maintain, and/or manufacture elevators, escalators, moving walks, and other building transportation products. NEII‘s membership includes the six major international companies – Fujitec America, Inc., KONE, Inc., Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Otis Elevator Company, Schindler Elevator Corporation, Thyssenkrupp Elevator Company and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty percent of the total hours worked within the elevator and escalator industry, employ more than 25,000 people in the U.S. and indirectly support hundreds of thousands of American jobs in affiliate industries. 

For more information about NEII, please visit www.neii.org


RECEIVE IMPORTANT INDUSTRY UPDATES

JOIN THE NEII INSIDER NEWSLETTER