How an AECO Acts as a Facilitator
Some of the most frequently asked questions concerning ASME certification are addressed.
by Dirk Schroeter and Carsten Schumann
As an accredited elevator certification organization (AECO) formally recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Standards Council of Canada (SCC), TÜV SÜD America Inc. answers frequently asked questions about the ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 Performance-Based Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators (PBC), which provides an objective and structured method for safely establishing new elevator technology. TÜV SÜD America acts as a facilitator between AHJs and elevator manufacturers for new technology being introduced. Main concerns from AHJs and inspectors are addressed to provide any needed information and rationale. Some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the certification process are addressed below:
What Is the Goal of the AECO Process?
The PBC describes an objective and structured method for establishing an equivalent level of safety for elevator systems, subsystems, components or functions that deviate from ASME A17.1/CSA B44 (the prescriptive safety code for elevators and escalators) to implement new technology quicker, but at an equivalent or higher level of safety.
How Is the Independence and Impartiality between an AECO and a Manufacturer Ensured?
Reputable certification organizations like TÜV SÜD follow the accreditation requirement for being independent and impartial. This is ensured through internal audits of the certification body and the respective technical departments. This is monitored through the various accreditation bodies (in this case, ANSI and SCC).
Does the AHJ Need to Accept Certificates of Conformance (CoCs) Issued by an AECO?
The AHJ does not have to accept CoCs issued by an AECO. However, the AECO certification process and the CoCs should support the AHJ in their approval process of elevator products deviating from the prescriptive code ASME A17.1/CSA B44 to verify an equivalent level of safety.
What Documents Does an AHJ Get in Addition to the Certificates of Conformance Issued by an AECO?
According to ASME A17.7.1/CSA B44.7.1, an AECO shall maintain up-to-date issued and withdrawn CoCs, available in a publicly accessible medium. For example, all issued and withdrawn CoCs by TÜV SÜD America can be found at website: http://tuvamerica.com/industry/elevator.cfm.
Additional information requested by an AHJ (such as code-compliance documents, which include the description of the product, the applicable deviations to the prescriptive code ASME A17.1/CSA B44, the entire technical documentation with the risk-assessment report and the performed tests) will need to be supplied by the certificate(s) holder(s)/manufacturer. The corresponding parts of the maintenance control program (MCP) of an elevator required by ASME A17.1/CSA B44 should be available with the elevator.
How Can an AHJ/Inspector Identify the Parts of an Elevator System Evaluated by an AECO?
The code data plate shall include the statement, “This elevator com-plies with ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7. See Maintenance Control Program.” Furthermore, parts subjected to an AECO certification process need to bear an AECO certification mark.
The CoC issued by an AECO shows the applicable global essential safety requirements in conjunction with ASME A17.1/CSA B44. In addition to the CoC, the AHJ will find a list of applicable requirements of ASME A17.1/CSA B44 that has been addressed by compliance with ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 as part of the MCP.
How Can an AHJ Verify Certificates of Conformance?
CoCs, issued by an AECO, includes the effective date. These certificates must be publically assessable on the AECO’s website.
What Is the Liability of an AECO after Installation and during the Operation of an Elevator?
An AECO has the liability for the certification process according to ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 and for the accreditation as an AECO. An AECO has no liability for the elevator after the installation and during the operation. The liability lies with a manufacturer and/or an operator, monitored by an AHJ/inspector.
Is It Possible for a Manufacturer to obtain a CoC from More Than One AECO for the Evaluation of the Same Deviation?
No. In general, the manufacturer/applicant has to provide a written declaration that the same application has not been submitted to any other AECO. In case the manufacturer/applicant does, the manufacturer/applicant needs to pro-vide a written explanation as to why the application is being submitted to another AECO.
Who Evaluates the Safety of an Elevator That Operates with Deviations Evaluated by More Than One AECO?
The verification and approval of the elevator with devia-tion(s) evaluated by more than one AECO are performed by the respective AHJ.
Who monitors the AECOs? Have the AECOs the Same Expertise and Evaluate Deviation(s) with the Same Level of Safety?
The AECOs are monitored by the accreditation organization(s) through surveillances to verify that they continue to meet the AECO requirements. TÜV SÜD America is monitored and accredited through ANSI and SCC.
The expertise of the AECOs may vary based on their experience and specific product knowledge. TÜV SÜD/TÜV SÜD America has a successful history in testing, inspection and certification of elevator technology ensured through internal training and education programs for engineers/inspectors. TÜV SÜD has an acknowledged worldwide acceptance and reputation, and contributes in various national and international code meetings.
Is It Possible That an AHJ Can Apply for Certification According to ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 through an AECO?
No, because only manufacturers of elevator systems, subsystems, components, or functions can apply for a certification according to ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7. Sur-veillance of the manufacturing facilities is part of the monitoring of the certificate holders to ensure that the certification requirements are still being met.
What Are the Advantages of an AECO Certificate for an AHJ?
- Competent and independent expertise in the subject matter is documented through the CoC.
- Support is provided for the decision process of accepting deviations from the prescriptive code/adopted code.
- AHJs have the option to limit their staffing to the essentials for ensuring that elevators are safe and can utilize the AECO expertise for specialized products.
- New, safe and efficient technology can be introduced in various jurisdictions through a one-time and de-tailed evaluation as the basis for the acceptance within a jurisdiction.
How Is the Procedure of the Certification Process According to ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 Defined?
Figure 1 gives an overview of the certification process according to ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7 and shows the tasks of the involved parties.
About TÜV SÜD America
TÜV SÜD America is an AECO to ASME A17.7/CSA B44.7, holding accreditation through both ANSI and SCC, along with offering Notified Body services to the European Union Lift Directive through TÜV SÜD Industry Service GmbH.