Elevator regulations are a big part of what dictates the safety and cost of elevators. In New York City, the Department of Buildings (DOB) is the regulator of elevators. As the result of an increase in elevator accidents, in part due to aging elevators, the DOB has added four new regulations. In 2009 the DOB adopted the Category 1 and Category 5 inspections, commonly known as Cat-1 and Cat-5.

The Cat-1 inspection is due annually on December 31, and is generally included in the elevator service contract. It requires the service provider to inspect the elevator while running empty. An unaffiliated DOB-approved inspector needs to witness the inspection. The elevator service provider typically files the filing on DOBNow, and these filings are public information available for everyone to see.

The more rigorous Cat-5 inspection needs to be performed with rated load and speed every five years from date of installation. This inspection is also performed and filed with the DOB by the service provider, and also needs to be witnessed by an unaffiliated inspector.

A more recent regulation is the Door Lock Monitoring System, due on January 1, 2020.

A door lock monitor is an electronic device that prevents an elevator from moving if the doors are not closed properly. Manual, or manned elevators are exempt from this regulation.

Here’s what Anderson Kill’s New York Co-op, Condo & Real Estate Advisor said about this in  their article titled: Retroactive New Law for NYC Elevators: Door Lock Monitor System

“Following a number of tragic elevator accidents in recent years, the NYC Department of Buildings Elevator Code Committee has responded with Appendix K3 Rule 3.10.12 to the NYC Building Code, which requires all automatic passenger and freight elevators to have door lock monitors by January 1, 2020. 

This new law is unique not only in that it has a firm compliance deadline, but in that it also applies retroactively to all NYC elevators — and so will affect a vast majority of NYC buildings using legacy elevator equipment.  Elevators are usually only required to meet the code requirements in effect the year they were installed.”

January 1, 2027 is the deadline for Appendix K3 Rule 3.8.4.1, which requires a second emergency brake on all elevators. Hydraulic elevators are exempt from this regulation. If history repeats itself, we would expect boards to push this off as long as possible as well. Don't get caught in the herd, when prices will likely rise, along with the possibility of not meeting the deadline and incurring fines!