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Senate Bill 872 (As Introduced)
Topic: Amending Elevator Definition to Exclude Two Types
of Lift Units
Position: The Department does not support the bill in its current form.
Background: During the past two years, ASME has worked closely with Canada to create a single elevator standard which could be utilized in both Canada and the United States. Since Canada does not include platform lifts and chairway stairlifts in their definition of elevators, ASME removed references to these lifts from the A17.1 standard and relocated them in a separate, stand-alone standard, namely A18.1. This change was noted in the 2000 and 2001 addenda to the ASME codes. The process to update Michigan's elevator code/rules to the latest ASME standards has already commenced.
Currently, Michigan's elevator code (administrative rule) adopts the 1994 ASME A17.1 standard, which includes inspection standards for platform lifts and chairway stairlifts. Until current code language can be amended, CIS must continue to conduct inspections based on the standards contained in the 1994 version. The advisory committee plans to amend the current code language to adopt the ASME A18.1 standard. Hence, platform lifts and chairway stairlifts have been, and will continue to be, inspected by CIS.
Many manufacturers do not understand that the ASME references to platform lifts and chairway stairlifts were not deleted, but simply moved to a stand-alone standard (A18.1). Manufacturers of these devices view the removal of such lifts from the A17.1 code as an opportunity to remove them from inspection requirements altogether. They have testified before the Elevator Board that platform lifts and chairway stairlifts do not pose a substantial danger to the public and therefore, should not be regulated. This bill seeks to exclude their products from regulation.
Description of Bill: The proposed bill would amend MCL 408.803 to exclude from the definition of "elevator" the following categories of portable lift units, namely:
• A portable, freestanding, prewired lift unit.
Arguments For: Clock Conversions of Grand Rapids, installer of specialized lift units utilized primarily by handicapper populations (i.e. van conversions), believes their products pose little risk for the public. By design, a person cannot be crushed underneath a stairway lift since the lift rides along a rail on the stairway.
Further, Clock Conversions and similar manufacturers build their products to industry standards and specifications, even though those standards may differ from the elevator code requirements. They believe the industry standards sufficiently provide for the safety and welfare of the public.
Lastly, many products, when used in conjunction with vehicles, are not subject to elevator regulations. Why then, when these products are used in conjunction with residential or commercial buildings, is regulation and inspection necessary? The inspection fees, either paid by the customer or the manufacturer, are therefore onerous.
Arguments Against: Departmental code experts contend that the references to the lifts have not been removed from the ASME standards; instead, they have been relocated to a new stand-alone standard (A18.1). Any proposed exclusion should not be in conflict with other provisions of the code.
In an effort to assist the manufacturers in developing language which will uphold the integrity of the codes without compromising the safety of the public, the Department recommends the following language be substituted for the proposal to exempt "portable, freestanding, pre-wired lift units." The substitute language, as offered by the Bureau of Construction Codes, is:
"A portable, self-contained, vertical platform lifting device installed in a single-family dwelling. The unit shall be pre-wired, powered by a 110-volt power supply connected with a single cord cap connector. The unit shall not rise more than 48 inches and shall not be connected to the building or structure."
The bill also proposes to exempt "battery-powered stairway chairlift units" from the elevator code, installation requirements, and installation by qualified technicians. The department feels this exemption could endanger public safety. Further, there is no device which is totally battery operated, as these devices must be re-charged upon depletion. Lastly, a stairway charilift is not acceptable for egress stairs in commercial settings under the Barrier Free Design Act requirements. As such, an overly broad exemption could lead one to believe the device is appropriate in commercial settings (i.e. churches).
Supporters: Clock Conversions; Grand Rapids, MI.
Opponents: The Department cannot support the bill in its current form.
Fiscal Information: There is no fiscal impact on the Department.
Economic Impact: Currently, elevator inspection fees are as follows:
($75) Private residence inclined lifts and private residence wheelchair elevating devices. ($100) Wheelchair elevating devices and inclined lifts in buildings other than private residences.
The bill would relieve the manufacturers (or customers) of paying the inspection fees noted above.
Administrative Rules Impact: Currently, Michigan's elevator code (administrative
rule) adopts the 1994 ASME A17.1 standard, which includes inspection standards
for platform lifts and chairway stairlifts. Until current code language can
be amended, CIS must continue to conduct inspections based on the standards
contained in the 1994 version. The advisory committee plans to amend the current
code language to adopt the ASME A18.1 standard. Hence, platform lifts and chairway
stairlifts have been, and will continue to be, inspected by CIS.
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