Maintaining Architectural Design and Code at the Same Time

Elevator interior design isn’t just “regular” interior design in a 4.5 x 6 foot space. Size constraints can create challenges – but so do fire codes, weight, and other safety standards with which interiors must comply. You need solutions that meet or exceed all applicable regulations and maintain the architect’s design intent of the elevator. Here’s how to preserve the integrity of a beautiful design – without facing non-compliance charges.

Balancing Design and Building Code

Those “Maximum Capacity of This Elevator” signs are there for a reason! Engineers have to figure out the resistance and pull of the entire system to set a weight limit. This ensures the elevator functions properly. If there is too much weight inside the elevator, the doors will stay open, and the cab won’t budge until some of the burden is removed.

Redundant safety features virtually eliminate the risk of a freefall or other accidents caused by excessive weight. Property owners face another problem, though. When they have occupants who need to get to their homes, offices, or appointments, a stalled elevator is not only an inconvenience – it reflects poorly on the building.

Sometimes, a specifier creates a design that is simply too heavy to implement. If it exceeds weight limits, it doesn’t meet code. And if it is non-compliant, it doesn’t meet the customers’ needs. It’s that simple.

A Convenient – Compliant – Answer

The solution can be equally simple. To ensure the initial design is executable, work with an experienced elevator interior company that knows how to preserve inspiration and vision – and lose the code violations.

Say, for instance, that the architect wants to recreate a building’s granite entryway in the elevator interior. Any material can be used in interiors – as long as they meet code requirements. But because granite is so heavy and is susceptible to damage from vibration, it is often not a feasible option.

But this is: printing a granite pattern and then laminating it with durable Corning® Gorilla® Glass panels. As good as the “real” thing? Well – better! Because, while it looks like granite and delivers ultimate sheen and protection, it is ultra-lightweight and easy to integrate into a fully compliant design.

If an architect specifies products that are too heavy or costly, there are viable alternatives that look as great and meet code and budget requirements. A knowledgeable elevator interior partner will help them find solutions that allow their designs to come to life – and pass inspection.

Up to Code

Designers and architects are driven by vision – not code. Working with a trusted partner gives them the coaching, advice, and expert knowledge they need to ensure their vision can be safely and properly executed. This support, from concept to implementation, ensures that they don’t have to spend time worrying about:

  • ADA Requirements. In buildings with more than three stories or larger than 3000 square feet per story, elevator hall and call buttons must be mounted 42 inches from the floor.
  • Lighting Issues. Elevators must have proper lighting, and canopies need clear, unobstructed passages to a ceiling emergency exit, which needs to be at least 400 square inches, with a minimum length of 16 inches per side.
  • Fire Safety Compliance. Materials used on the walls, ceiling, and floor have to be end-use configuration tested. For example, a laminate panel has to be tested with the substrate and adhesive that will create the complete assembly.

These regulations don’t even begin to scratch the surface! It can be a huge headache to coordinate – and an even bigger expense if the interior doesn’t comply with applicable codes. The proper partner can save you time, money, and a lot of Aspirin by handling compliance issues.

The right design team and technicians can flag elements that are not up to code in the design and take over the heavy-lifting. You’ll be sure of two things: that you’re installing an aesthetically pleasing interior that meets your architectural goals, and that you are getting a fully functioning, compliant elevator.

When you work with an experienced elevator cab company, you get the expertise and experience of both a designer and a code expert in your corner. The result? Elevator interiors that impress both building inhabitants and elevator inspectors! The winning combination of outstanding aesthetics and code-compliance means projects that are completed on time and without headaches.

Want to learn more about the expert? Read Eric Farah’s bio here.