Code Corner 2007.1
Requirement 126.96.36.199.6 Floor Opening Protection Adjacent to Escalator Wellway will be deleted in the next edition of ASME A17.1.
Faithful readers of Momentum may recall our discussion of this requirement and interpretation regarding the protection of the escalator wellway (issue 2005.1). ASME A17.1 clearly stated and approved an interpretation indicating that the protection was to be provided along the incline of the escalator, not just at either end.
Following the Law of Unintended Consequences, a number of local jurisdictions and clients have had issues turning projects over without wellway protection along the length of the escalator. We have heard several circumstances where building owners felt that the escalator manufacturer should supply this projection, since it is a requirement of the Escalator Code.
Enough of these situations came to a head and another request for interpretation was submitted to ASME A17.1 to revisit this issue. At the last ASME A17.1 Standards Committee meeting, the following changes were approved:
188.8.131.52 Protection Required: Floor openings for escalators shall be protected against falls, the passage of flame, heat, and/or smoke in accordance with the provisions of the applicable building code (see Part 9).
184.108.40.206.6 Floor opening protection adjacent to escalator wellway: Floor openings adjacent to the entire length of the escalator wellway shall be provided with protection in accordance with the applicable building code (see Part 9).
Rationale: To clarify that floor opening protection is addressed in the applicable building code.
What this means is that the Floor Opening Protection rule that caused confusion for so many people has been deleted from the new edition of the Code. The need to protect against falls is clearly placed into the applicable building code.
While this may appear to be a simple solution, it should be noted that falls over the sides of escalators has happened with terrible results. This protection is important, but should be addressed by the proper design professional responsible, not the Escalator Manufacturer.
One last potential for confusion is if a local jurisdiction still operates under the older version of the Code. Careful clarification of this issue in both design and construction is advised so no further confusion delays or other problems during a project.
We at VTX® deal with code issues on a regular basis. It is very likely that your question is not new to us, and we can help quickly. It is not uncommon for us to bring a request for interpretation for our clients before A17.1. Just remember that ASME wants the requirements to be clearly understood, so get it clarified, it could dramatically affect your project or operation!