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Proposed State of Iowa Safety Code Changes

KONE is providing advanced notice of proposed changes to local State of Iowa elevator codes that may significantly impact your facilities in the near future. Currently the State of Iowa is researching the implications of adopting American Society of Mechanical Engineers (A.S.M.E.) A17.3 Safety Code for Existing Elevators and Escalators.

The A17.3 Code is intended to serve as the basis for the State of Iowa to adopt retroactive requirements for existing elevators and escalators to enhance the safety of the general public. Furthermore, it is also intended as a standard reference manual of safety requirements for the guidance of architects, engineers, insurance companies, manufacturers, and contractors. This proposed Code, if adopted, will also serve as a standard of safety practices for building owners and managers of structures where existing elevator and escalator equipment is installed. The purpose of this Code is to establish minimum requirements that will provide a reasonable degree of safety for the general public.

Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the potential impact of A17.3 on your properties.

What does A17.3 Code require? As a general rule, A17.3 Code raises the safety standards for older existing elevators bringing them closer to the safety standards imposed on new elevator installations. However, the final requirements of the A17.3 Code for the State of Iowa will not be known until the State of Iowa determines which sections of the A17.3 Code they will adopt and enforce.

What are some of the updates required by the A17.3 Code? If the State of Iowa adopts the A17.3 Code as written here are some of the required upgrades:

  • Fire Service Operation – If an elevator travels greater than 25 feet, the elevator must be equipped with both Phase I and Phase II Fire Service.
  • Door Restrictors – Elevator car doors shall have a mechanical door restrictor that locks the doors and prevents them from being opened when not at floor level.
  • Safety & Inspection Switches – Car top inspection stations, pit stop switches, hoistway access switches, and permanent lighting in the pit and elevator car top are required for the safety of service and inspection personnel.
  • Keyed Stop Switches – Elevator cabs need to be equipped with key stop switches to prevent vandalism and criminal activities.
  • Unlocking Devices – All hoistway doors will be required to have an unlocking device to allow service and inspection personnel to access the hoistway at any floor.
  • Toe Guards – Platform guards and/or aprons will be required to prevent passengers from falling into an open hoistway should an elevator stop between floor levels.
  • Emergency Lights – Emergency lighting will be required in all elevator cars and shall automatically come on in the event of a loss of building power.
  • Alarm Bell – All elevators shall be equipped with an alarm bell or other signaling device for use by passengers in the case of emergencies.
  • Emergency Exit – Each elevator shall be have an emergency exit located on top of the elevator cab that shall be only opened from the car top and protected with an electronic safety lock.
  • Elevator Capacity – The elevator capacity or load limits shall be posted in each elevator cab.
  • Fully Enclosed Cab – Every passenger elevator shall have a cab enclosure construction from a solid material with no openings or holes.
  • Pit Drains – Elevator pits must be able to evacuate water into atmosphere and not a closed sewer system.

What if my elevator is new? If your elevator is less than 20 years old the impact of A17.3 should be minimal. However, we recommend consulting with your KONE Sales Professional for a specific report on your elevator that will enumerate any specific impacts of A17.3.

What if my elevator has been recently modernized? While many modernizations cover items addressed in A17.3 we recommend consulting with your KONE Sales Professional for a specific report on your elevator that will enumerate any specific impacts of A17.3.

How long will I have to comply with the new requirements? The State of Iowa has not adopted this Code or enumerated a specific deadline at this time. In similar retroactive Code situations a 5 year grace period is usually available for compliance.

What happens if I don’t comply with the new A17.3 Code? Elevators in the State of Iowa are required to have a Certificate of Operation and those certificates are updated on an annual basis. If you choose not to comply with A17.3, the State of Iowa has the authority to no longer certify your elevator for operation. If that were to occur, operating your elevator without a valid certificate would be illegal.

What are the advantages for complying with A17.3? By improving your elevator to safety standards similar to those imposed on new elevator installations your elevator will achieve numerous advantages. Those advantages include enhanced safety and performance improvements, reduced liability and exposure, and the ability to evacuate your building in times of emergencies.

What work would be required on my elevator? What work is required on your elevator depends on numerous factors like the make and model of elevator, installation date, and upgrades performed in the past. You will need to consult with your KONE Sales Professional for a specific report on your elevator that will enumerate any specific impacts of A17.3. KONE will provide a complete list of items required to be address along with a cost analysis associated with those required items.


The Iowa Division of Labor Services will provide an elevator consultation visit to identify items that deviate from A17.3 for a minimum fee of $200 per elevator. The consultation visit report will only include items to correct, no cost analysis report will be provided by the State of Iowa. After you receive your State of Iowa report, consult with your KONE Sales Professional for a cost analysis associated with those required corrective items.

How much would I have to spend? You will need to consult with your KONE Sales Professional for a specific report on your elevator that will enumerate any specific impacts of A17.3 including all associated costs.

Will the A17.3 Code impact escalators? Yes. A17.3 has similar requirements for existing escalators bringing them closer to the safety standards of new escalator installations.

Why would the State of Iowa adopt a Code written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (A.S.M.E.)? The State of Iowa adopts Codes by reference. Elevators, escalators, boilers, and pressure vessels in Iowa are all governed by Codes written by A.S.M.E. and adopted by reference.

How can I voice my opinion on the proposed adoption of the A17.3 Code? You can send an email, fax, or letter to the Iowa Division of Labor. Finally you can visit and speak at one of four public hearings.

  • Email – A17.3comments@iwd.iowa.gov
  • Fax – (515) 281-7995
  • Mail:

    Iowa Division of Labor Services
    1000 E. Grand Avenue
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319

  • Public Hearings :

    September 5, 2012 – 1:00 PM
    South Western Community College
    Instructional Center, Room 180
    1501 West Townline Street
    Creston, IA 50801

    September 19, 2012 – 1:00 PM
    Iowa Central Community College
    Career Education Building, Room 108
    1 Triton Circle
    Fort Dodge, IA 50501

    September 25, 2012 – 1:00 PM
    Hawkeye Community College
    Tama Hall, Room 107A
    1501 East Orange Road
    Waterloo, IA 50701

    September 28, 2012 – 1:00 PM
    Indian Hills Community College
    Advanced Technology Center, Room 122
    623 Indian Hills Drive
    Ottumwa, IA 52501

How do I register to attend a public meeting? Registration is not required but is encouraged. To register for a public meeting, please click here and complete the short registration form that appears.