How will the 2019 ASME A17.1/CSA B44 Code Updates impact your property?

Recent News Reveals Elevator Rides Turned Tragic. What Can We Do?

As we all know, building code is paramount, especially when you own or manage commercial or multifamily properties. So what does the new ASME 2019 A17.1 code update mean for building owners and managers?

Let’s start with the basics. 

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What is ASME and why are they issuing building codes?  

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) was founded in 1880 when a group of engineers met to discuss concerns resulting from the rise of industrialization and mechanization in industry.  In 1884 they established the Boiler Test Code. After an explosion that resulted in 58 deaths and 117 injuries, ASME formed the Boiler Code Committee. One hundred and forty years and many codes later, they have become the industry standard. 

Changes are broad and as always our focus will be on amendments to the emergency communications systems in elevators. We know recently, in 2018, IBC 3001.2 was updated to include video communication. ASME has followed suit and also added video code, but what else is changing and how do you accommodate those changes?

FREE GUIDE: Understanding Elevator Emergency Communication Code Compliance >>

To find those answers, we sat down with Dave Mann, Vice President of Technology at Kings III to discuss the technical aspects of Kings III’s approach to the updated elevator code. Mann is responsible for the technology infrastructure that enables operations and all Kings III services offered to customers. He has more than 30 years career experience having worked with major 3rd party security and fire central stations as well as operating his own consulting firm serving the same industry.  

ASME A17.1 Car Emergency Signaling Devices has been updated to include:

  1. Two way message display in the cab for hearing and/or speech impaired.
  2. A means for authorized personnel to view video of passengers anywhere in the cab.
  3. A means activated by emergency personnel to change cab message to indicate help is on-site if over 60 ft of travel.

ASME 2019 Elevator Code

Q&A with Dave:

Describe Kings III’s solution to this new ASME code requirement.

We have been working closely with MAD Elevator to solve for new code requirements, but our Kings III phones and monitoring are compatible with a range of elevator fixtures. We will be able to use our existing code compliant phones with new two-way video components. When our Kings III Emergency Dispatch Center (EDC) is alerted to an entrapment, we will connect to the elevator car camera to augment our audio communication.

Additional details about how the Kings III/MAD Elevator solution meets ASME requirements can be found in this Elevator World article.

How will this work? How will the video display and phone interact with each other from a technical perspective?

In this initial system, the phone and the video are separate systems. We combine their functionality at the EDC. The phone creates an inbound call to the EDC and while the EDC begins working the call, our software will connect to the video system in the elevator.

What will this change about the way Kings III emergency operators currently respond to emergency calls?

Adding video to any call received can help determine if there is anyone on the elevator at the time we connect or possibly if someone is in the elevator and is not able to respond.

How will the new video communication system change the end user/caller experience?

Being able to potentially see an issue that is not apparent in an audio-only session could create a much-improved outcome for the caller when they are unable to respond to us audibly. For Kings III property manager and building owner customers, where enabled, this will allow us to have visual confirmation of entrapped passengers vs a false alarm and empty elevator.

Will this change any additional technical features in the current Kings III monitoring service?

The addition of one way video and two way text communication will change how the end user communicates with our operators but our monitoring will remain the same. Use of existing features will also be updated.

Will customers still have the option to utilize either landlines (line seizure) or cellular service or will this be cellular only?

In this iteration, the customer can use all existing options for the phone. Since the video and text  is separate from the communication path of the phone, some form of broadband data will need to be available for the video and text component.

Any concerns with the use of VoIP with this solution? Any hurdles?

The video and text portion is a data-only communication path and we’d always opt for the simplest and most capable service available. Being dependent on customer networks for emergency services is always concerning, both for us as well as for customer company internal IT teams, so establishing a data connection independent of the customer network will be explored.

As someone with 30 years of experience in the alarm industry and more specifically as someone managing the technical side of emergency alarm centers, what is your opinion on any unforeseen benefits of this new code? Unforeseen issues?

There will be hurdles and benefits that fall outside the scope and reasoning of the code. Video adds a dynamic element that doesn’t exist in an audio-only environment. As we’ve learned, sometimes our phones are used for ‘off-script’ purposes, such as reporting crimes or fires, kids getting locked out of their apartments, and other on-demand or creative uses.

Be sure you’re compliant with ASME A17.1– refer to this table for your elevator’s emergency communications requirements, depending on the ASME code year your state follows.

ASME-Table Reprinted from ASME A17.1-2019/CSA B44:19, by permission of The American Society of Mechanical Engineers.  All rights reserved.

Not sure which year your state follows? Learn here.

Kings III Emergency Communications has been providing complete, compliant, and affordable emergency phone solutions for elevators, poolside, stairwells, parking areas, and more for over three decades. Our all-inclusive turnkey solution includes equipment, installation, maintenance, and 24/7 monitoring at our very own Emergency Dispatch Center for one low price. We design our equipment with code compliance and caller experience in mind, staying at the forefront of code and technology changes. Need help making sure you’re up to code? Contact us here.

Understanding Elevator Emergency Communication Code Compliance


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