- What is the “Gap Space”?
- What do the terms “hoistway door,” “elevator car door or gate” and “landing sill” mean?
- Who is responsible for home elevator installations?
- Why is thyssenkrupp Access offering this Home Elevator Safety Program?
- How will I know if I qualify for a free inspection to assess if installation of a Space Guard is recommended to reduce the Gap Space?
- How can I request a free inspection of the Gap Space in my home elevator?
- I don’t have children living with me. Do I really need to worry about the Gap Space?
- What action should I take while waiting for the inspection?
- What else do I need to know?
- What codes and standards apply to home elevators?
- Do updated elevator safety standards automatically become law?
- Are home elevators subject to state or local mandatory inspections?
- Is there only one code that applies to new and already-installed home elevators?
- What requirements apply to new elevators?
- How does the code for existing installations cover the Gap Space?
- What Space Guard sizes are available?
- What are the weights of the Space Guards?
- Can I install space guards on my own and without the help of a Contractor?
What is the “Gap Space”?
The Gap Space is the space between the hoistway door and the elevator car door or gate, or the landing sill and elevator car door or gate. If this gap is too large, a child could become entrapped and suffer serious injury or death.Back To Top
What do the terms “hoistway door,” “elevator car door or gate” and “landing sill” mean?
The “HOISTWAY DOOR” is the exterior door that leads from the hallway to the elevator car. There is one hoistway door at every floor served by the elevator (and at every elevator entrance, if there is more than one entrance at any floor, such as a front and rear entrance).
The “ELEVATOR CAR DOOR” or “GATE” is attached to the elevator car itself. It often is a folding "accordion" door or "scissor" gate.
The “LANDING SILL” is the space between the inside of the hoistway door and the edge of the landing.Back To Top
Who is responsible for home elevator installations?
Generally, installation of home elevators is the responsibility of elevator installers, working in conjunction with home builders and general contractors. Companies that produce elevator components do not typically oversee installation.Back To Top
Why is thyssenkrupp Access offering this Home Elevator Safety Program?
Home elevators may have been installed in a manner that allows excess space between the hoistway door and elevator car door or gate large enough for a child to enter and potentially become entrapped (Gap Space). Entrapment between the hoistway door and elevator car door may result in serious injury or death. To thyssenkrupp Access’s knowledge, every instance of child entrapment within the Gap Space between the hoistway door and elevator car door in home elevators involved installations that did not comply with the 3 inch/5 inch rule in place for the period during which thyssenkrupp Access offered home elevator components.
Although elevator installations are typically the responsibility of builders and elevator installers, thyssenskrupp Access Corp. is committed to safety. While thyssenkrupp Access has not manufactured or sold home elevators in the U.S. since 2012, thyssenkrupp Access has previously offered educational information on the importance of addressing the Gap Space, endorsed applying a reduced distance of 4 inches to evaluate the gap between the hoistway door and the elevator car door (even before the American Society of Mechanical Engineers [ASME] Code for new elevator installations was updated in 2016 to use that distance), and offered Space Guards at a discount to homeowners. To further aid homeowners, thyssenkrupp Access is now offering to inspect elevator Gap Spaces, and, if necessary, install Space Guard(s) free of charge to reduce the potential risks associated with mis-installation of home elevators. This enhanced program, which builds on the Company’s earlier space guard program launched in 2014, was announced on February 26, 2021 in a nationally-distributed press release: Home Elevator Safety Program Launches With Free Inspection, Space Guards (prnewswire.com).Back To Top
How will I know if I qualify for a free inspection to assess if installation of a Space Guard is recommended to reduce the Gap Space?
Homeowners who currently have any of the following thyssenkrupp Access residential elevator models furnished by ThyssenKrupp Access Manufacturing, LLC, ThyssenKrupp Access Corp., Access Industries, or National Wheel-O-Vator (jointly “thyssenkrupp Access”) are included in this Safety Program:
- LEV II
How can I request a free inspection of the Gap Space in my home elevator?
Please contact an agent toll-free at 1-800-285-9862. You will be required to furnish proof that your home has an affected thyssenkrupp Access model elevator to qualify. The model name and serial number of your home elevator can be found in the manual that was provided with your elevator.Back To Top
I don’t have children living with me. Do I really need to worry about the Gap Space?
Yes. It is essential to take these steps to protect children, even if children do not live in your home. Children have been killed or injured in vacation rentals and while visiting grandparents’ homes furnished with an elevator.Back To Top
What action should I take while waiting for the inspection?
Homeowners should never let children access or use an elevator without adult supervision. If your home elevator has an excessive Gap Space, block children from accessing elevators with excess Gap Space until you are able to arrange for installation of a space guard or other measures to reduce the Gap Space.
Prevent children from accessing the elevator until Space Guards or other measures are in place to reduce the Gap Space.Back To Top
What else do I need to know?
Space Guards are intended to reduce the Gap Space between hoistway doors and elevator car doors or gates, lowering the risk of child entrapment. thyssenkrupp Access Corp. cannot and does not guarantee that provided Space Guards will be an exact or optimal fit for the particular hoistway doors, door hardware, and Gap Spaces. Installing Space Guards does not ensure compliance with laws, standards or codes that may apply to your residence.
Space Guards cannot take the place of careful adult supervision whenever children may be on or near an elevator. Never allow a child to ride in an elevator without an adult, and don’t let children play on or around an elevator.Back To Top
What codes and standards apply to home elevators?
There is no national law governing the manufacture and installation of home elevators. Instead, laws and regulations governing the design, installation, and inspection of home elevators vary from one state and locality to another. The laws that govern home elevators are not the same as the ones that govern commercial elevators. Nevertheless, voluntary national safety standards have been developed addressing various aspects of home elevators, principally through the ASME. Those standards are reviewed, revised, and updated on an ongoing basis. Standards applicable to new elevators are separate from those addressing potential modifications to already-existing elevators.Back To Top
Do updated elevator safety standards automatically become law?
No, voluntary national elevator safety standards (and revisions) do not automatically become law as they are developed and updated. Rather, state and local authorities in each jurisdiction choose whether to adopt the national elevator safety standards as part of their local building codes, as well as what parts of the standards they adopt. They may adopt the national standards in whole, in part, or not at all. Jurisdictions that incorporate national standards into their own laws can retain past versions indefinitely or they can update local laws and regulations from time to time to keep pace with revisions of the national standards. They can also depart from specific aspects of the voluntary standard.
This discretion given to local authorities leads to a varied “patchwork quilt” of laws governing home elevators from one state or locality to another. It is not feasible to briefly summarize the precise standards that apply to home elevators in every locality. Every owner and installer of a home elevator should become familiar with (and comply with) the relevant requirements established by the “Authority Having Jurisdiction” (AHJ) in their locale.Back To Top
Are home elevators subject to state or local mandatory inspections?
While state and local laws and codes require inspections of electrical systems, many states do not require regular, comprehensive inspections of home elevators. This is different from the situation with commercial elevators; commercial elevators must be installed by a licensed installer and must be inspected both at installation and periodically thereafter.Back To Top
Is there only one code that applies to new and already-installed home elevators?
No. ASME sponsors two elevator safety codes that address the manufacture and installation of elevators, one for new elevators and one for elevators already installed in a home. Generally speaking, the voluntary national standards regarding newly installed home elevators are found in the ASME A17.1 Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators. thyssenkrupp Access Corp. designed and manufactured elevators to meet ASME 17.1 through the period that it offered home elevators (until 2012). The standards applicable to existing elevators are found in the ASME A17.3 Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators. Not every jurisdiction has adopted either of these codes, but far more jurisdictions have adopted the standards governing new elevator installations than those pertaining to existing elevators.Back To Top
What requirements apply to new elevators?
For newly installed home elevators, the A17.1 Safety Code has always provided guidance on two key dimensions affecting the Gap Space between the hoistway door and car door or gate: (1) the maximum distance between the hoistway door and the landing sill, as well as (2) the overall clearance between the hoistway door and the car door or gate. For many years, that provision stated, “The clearance between the hoistway doors or gates and the hoistway edge of the landing sill shall not exceed 75 mm (3 in). The distance between the hoistway face of the landing door or gate and the car door or gate shall not exceed 125mm (5 in.).” This was the origin of the so-called “3 and 5 [inch] rule” that companies offering home elevators, including thyssenkrupp Access Corp. (thyssenkrupp Access), urged installers to follow during the period when it sold them. In thyssenkrupp Access’ case, it ceased offering home elevators in 2012.
More recently, in 2016 (years after thyssenkrupp Access had stopped making home elevators), the A17.1 Safety Code was modified to reduce the maximum Gap Space clearances on new home elevators as an added precautionary measure to lessen the potential for entrapment. The modified provisions limited the distance between the hoistway door and the hoistway edge of the landing sill to 0.75 in. (19 mm). Those revised provisions also reduced the allowable distance between the landing door and a folding car door or gate (including the recesses in a folding gate), such that a four-inch diameter ball cannot fit between them when both are closed. The revisions added other criteria, such as a requirement for stiffness (deflection) of the car door or gate.
During the period in which thyssenkrupp Access sold elevator components for installation in residences, it recommended that installers adhere to the 3- and 5-inch rule set forth in the ASME Code in place at the time elevators were installed. However, thyssenkrupp Access recommends that homeowners seek to reduce the Gap Space to meet the ¾ inch and 4-inch rule in the current standard to provide an added measure of safety.Back To Top
How does the code for existing installations cover the Gap Space?
As noted, a separate voluntary standard, ASME Code A17.3, contains corresponding Gap Space recommendations for existing home elevators. Section 10.1.4.2, through amendments adopted in 2017, calls for reducing the distance between a hoistway door and the edge of the landing sill to 0.75 inch (19 mm), and the distance, including recesses, between the hoistway face of the landing door and the car door or gate to 4 inches (100 mm). ASME A17.3 has been adopted in far fewer jurisdictions than the standard for new installations, ASME 17.1.
Installation of Space Guards can be an important step to reduce an excessive Gap Space that could cause dangerous or deadly child entrapment. It is important for homeowners to know that modifying existing elevators to meet all the criteria of the ASME code for existing installations might require much more extensive modification and renovation than just installing Space Guards. Installation of Space Guards is intended to reduce the Gap Space to lessen the chance of a child entrapment incident but will not assure compliance with all provisions of ASME Code A17.3. Elevator owners should determine what requirements their own local authorities have adopted regarding inspecting and reducing excessive Gap Space in home elevators. If any further modifications are necessary, the owner should contact a qualified elevator contractor to take the steps needed to ensure compliance with all applicable safety requirements, and to advise them about other possible options that might help to reduce the risk of child entrapments.Back To Top
What Space Guard sizes are available?
Measure the width of your hoistway door from edge to edge. (Please note that you should measure the width of the door itself rather than that of the doorway.) Space Guards are available in standard widths of 32 inches and 36 inches. If neither of those widths are suitable for your door size, please contact us for further assistance at 1-800-285-9862.Back To Top
What are the weights of the Space Guards?
15 pounds each.Back To Top
Can I install space guards on my own and without the help of a Contractor?
Depending on the Total Gap Space, homeowners may qualify for a plastic space guard remedy. Plastic models are user friendly and light weight enough to do a self-installation. All other models require a contractor for installation due to door composition and complexity of installation. Click here for an instructional video.Back To Top