Code of Honor
NEII carries on the work of its predecessors and plays a key role in the development of model safety codes
By Amy Blankenbiller, Executive Director, National Elevator Industry, Inc.
On May 25, 1914, the Elevator Manufacturers Association (EMA), a predecessor to NEII, met for the first time to begin development of a U.S. elevator safety code. Only three years later, The Uniform Regulations for the Construction and Installation of Passenger and Freight Elevators were published in 1917. EMA was also a key contributor to the first American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) elevator code, A Code of Safety Standards for the Construction, Operation, and Maintenance of Elevators, Dumbwaiters and Escalators, which was published by ASME in 1921. EMA, which transitioned to the National Elevator Manufacturing Industry, Inc. (NEMI) in 1934 and then to NEII in 1969, went on to contribute to every edition of the model elevator codes thereafter.
Over 100 years later, NEII continues the tradition started by EMA and plays a significant role in elevator code development. NEII’s Central Code Committee – one of several groups and committees at NEII – consists of engineers and industry experts with over 300 years of combined experience, which is critical to provide guidance and expertise on safety code development and application. Central Code Committee members participate in more than 40 code committees within ASME, the International Code Council (ICC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and other model code and standard writing organizations. In addition, NEII staff and member company representatives partner with authorities across the U.S. and Canada to develop, update, and apply safety codes and standards that pertain to building transportation equipment. NEII also works on code interpretations and enforcement issues to assist our member companies when needed.
But I want to focus this post on the development of the primary code that has not only redefined building transportation safety in North America but created a model for the rest of the world to follow.
ASME A17.1/CSA B44, Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators
As discussed previously, NEII (and its predecessors) have been involved in the development of our industry’s model codes since the very beginning. In the 1990’s, NEII was part of the movement to create one unified elevator code for the U.S. and Canada. The process from inception to implementation took nearly 20 years but in 2007, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) code ASME A17.1/CSA B44 became the first fully harmonized standard throughout North America for the design, construction, installation, operation, inspection, testing, maintenance, alteration and repair of elevators, escalators and related conveyances. The code is continuously reviewed and updated every three years to ensure that the requirements in each edition represent the latest safety and technology available.
In the article “Up to Code” that appeared in the March 2023 issue of Elevator World, Kevin Brinkman, NEII’s Senior Director of Codes, discussed how ASME A17.1/CSA B44 could serve as the blueprint for the rest of the world as we seek the seemingly impossible – one global unified elevator code.
In an effort to achieve this lofty goal, NEII and its member companies actively engage in the development of elevator codes world-wide. The industry’s contributions date back to 1972 when the European Committee for Standardization (CEN)/Technical Committee (TC) 10 Lifts, Escalators and Moving Walks Committee held their first meeting to discuss standardization of European elevator codes. Many NEII Central Code Committee members participate in a variety of ISO code development committees today, sharing their knowledge and experience with the rest of the world.
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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, TK Elevator and several other companies across the country. Collectively, the NEII members represent approximately eighty-five 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.