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Massachusetts’ New Elevator Code

You may have heard about the new national elevator code, and, if you’re like us, you may also be trying to make heads and tail of it.

We tapped Windover’s Manager of MEP Services, Charlie Romano, to explain the new code and how it may affect current projects in construction.

What’s New?

As of January 1, 2018, Massachusetts adopted the 2015 International Building Code (IBC) with amendments, also known as the 9th Edition. Among other changes to the international code, this update eliminated the need for hoistway ventilation in elevators. However, Massachusetts published the following amendments to Chapter 30 of the 9th edition, which references elevator building code:

  • Section 3001.2 was changed to conform with 780 CMR and 524 CMR
  • Section 3001.3 was changed to conform with 780 CMR and 521 CMR
  • Section 3001.4 was changed to conform with 780 CMR and 524 CMR
  • Section 3001.5 was added to clarify, when 780 CMR and 524 CMR conflict or are duplicated, which code applies over the other

What Does it Mean?

Essentially, the Massachusetts amendments to the 9th edition of the IBC were published to conform with 524 CMR, which incorporates ASME A17.1-2013/CSA B44-13, which, as of December 1, 2018, requires (in Part 2, Section 2.1, paragraph 2.1.4) control of smoke and hot gases. The only way to comply is to ventilate the shaft of the elevator.

Therefore, for projects that are in construction, elevator installers in Massachusetts are being required to submit a ventilation plan with their elevator permit application. We feel the best way to comply is to refer to 780 CMR 8th Edition, Chapter 30, Section 3004 which outlines hoistway ventilation design.

In addition to hoistway ventilation changes, 524 CMR by inclusion of ASME A17.1-2013, Section 2.2, paragraph, requires that “permanent provisions shall be made to prevent accumulation of ground water in the pit.” If a gravity drain cannot be installed, a pump will now be required in elevator pits if the elevator is equipped with Firefighters’ Emergency Operation, per Pumps shall have a capacity of 3,000 gallons per hour and shall be provided with a positive means to prevent water, gases, and odors from entering the hoistway. Drains and pumps must comply with applicable plumbing code. Most jurisdictions will require an oil minder pump to prohibit the pump from operating when oil is present (hydraulic oil).

For the complete Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 524, check out the Massachusetts Law Library website.

Charlie Romano
Manager of MEP Services

If you have more questions about the changes to the Massachusetts elevator code, and how it may affect your project, reach out to Charlie at

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