Elevator Pit Requirements

Due to a vast amount of inquiries into the requirements of elevator pits and pit equipment (from plumbers, electricians, etc), we have put together a short-list addressing these requirements for a quick reference of sorts. Be advised that this list may not cover all of the requirements, may not be applicable in all States, and it may not be 100% applicable to your particular project. There are separate requirements for new construction, maintenance and alterations, in addition to there being more stringent codes in different States, but we hope that this will address many of your concerns.

To begin, every elevator must have a pit. Now that we’ve established that, let’s move on to the heart of the requirements.

  • Pits must be of fire-resistive construction, as should the partitions between elevator pits.
  • The pit floor must be approximately level except that trenches or depressions shall be permitted for the installation of buffers, compensating sheaves and frames, and vertically sliding biparting hoistway doors, where structural conditions make such trenches or
    depressions necessary
  • Permanent provisions must be made to prevent the accumulation of water in the pit. In other words, pits should be waterproofed and/or sealed.
  • Drains and pumps must comply with the local plumbing code, and steps shall be taken to prevent water, gas and odors from entering the pit.
  • Drains cannot be connected to main sewer systems (Florida Administrative Code 61C-5)
  • If the elevator is equipped with fire service operations (and almost all new elevators are), sump pumps must be provided
  • In Florida, a sump hole is required with or without a pump in every elevator pit that does not have a drain installed.
  • FLORIDA:  Sump pumps are required on NEW installations equipped with fire service operations
  • Sump holes and pumps must be covered, secured, and level with the pit floor.
  • Safe and convenient access shall be provided to all elevator pits
  • Pit ladders are required in all pits that extend more than 35″ below the bottom landing sill
  • The pit ladder must extend 48″ above the landing entrance.
  • The pit ladder rungs must be at least 16″ wide unless obstructions prevent this, and in that case it can be no less than 9″ wide
  • Pits shall be accessible ONLY to authorized personnel
  • Pits must have a stop switch, and if more than one elevator in a hoistway, each elevator must have its own stop switch
  • Pit switches must be accessible from the pit access door
  • Two pit switches are required for each elevator where the pit extends more than 67″ below the bottom landing sill – one near the ladder, and another approximately 47″ above the pit floor (wired in series).
  • Where the distance from the pit floor to the underside of the plank channels or slings exceeds 2 100mm(83 in.), with the car at the lowest landing, a means shall be permanently installed or permanently stored in the pit to provide access to the equipment on the underside of the car.
  • Pit lighting shall be provided and 10 foot candles of illumination is required (A17.1 2004)
  • Pit lighting must be guarded
  • Where sprinklers are installed in the pit, all conduit, fittings, lighting covers, etc., must be NEMA4 rated and/or “vapor-proof”.
  • In existing buildings, where new elevators are installed or existing elevators are altered, existing foundation footings extending above the general level of the pit floor shall be permitted to remain in place, provided that the maximum encroachment of such footings does not exceed 15% of the cubic content of the pit, and further provided that it is impracticable to remove the footing.
  • When the car rests on its fully compressed buffer, no part of the car or any equipment attached thereto shall strike any part of the pit or any part of the equipment located therein (ANSI A17.3 1996 Code).

In Florida, if an elevator company is installing “retractable toe-guards”, they will need to pay close attention to the last bullet point. According to adopted code, no part of the elevator, or any equipment attached to it (platform guards, aka “toe guards”) can strike the pit. For verification, the floor is certainly a part of the pit.

Any other requirements? Certainly. As we said, this is just a short-list. There are a myriad of code requirements for traction elevators as well as hydraulic elevators, and any qualified consultant can spell them all out for you in detail.

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