ISO/TC 178 Plenary Meeting in Australia

TC 178 committee representing 16 countries

On final approach to Sydney, many air travelers are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the harbor. The iconic Sydney Harbor Bridge and the unique opera house are flanked on both banks of the harbor by myriad skyscrapers. The view of the city from the air is one of beauty and balance.

The combination of natural and manmade beauty is validated once on the ground and from almost anywhere in and around Sydney. The skies around Sydney are dotted with dozens of cranes that lend a sense of progress and economic development. Fortunately, urban development has not been at the sacrifice of buildings and areas of historical significance. Indeed, history did not commence with Western-style development, and the role of the aboriginal peoples as custodians of the land is well recognized in Australia. Overall, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/Technical Committee (TC) 178 Plenary Meeting on April 11-15 was held in a very special location.

Welcome Reception

During the welcome reception, John Tibbits, chair, Standards Australia (SA) ME 4 Lift and Escalator Committee, welcomed attendees from around the world. Tibbits summarized the role of SA with special emphasis on the elevator industry. He emphasized SA’s support for aligning Australian standards with global standards by the process of harmonization or inclusion. The participation of Australian experts in ISO activities is a key part of this process. Over the years, many elevator-related ISO standards have been adopted as Australian Standards. Tibbits thanked the Australian Elevator Association (AEA) for being a sponsor of the meeting. He also thanked the volunteers for their efforts over the years.

Christian De Mas Latrie, chair of TC 178, spoke next and welcomed all attendees to the meetings. He thanked Tibbits for his kind words and acknowledged the support of SA, AEA and all the volunteers. De Mas Latrie acknowledged the long-term participation of the Australian Delegation in ISO/TC 178 and Australian experts in the various working groups. He noted that, consistent with the global nature of ISO, it was fitting that plenary meetings be held in as many locations as feasible, and in that context, it was an honor to be invited to Australia for this meeting. De Mas Latrie lauded Australia’s record in helping develop and adopt ISO standards.

Working Group (WG) Meetings

Preceding the actual Plenary Committee meeting, meetings of WG 4: Safety Requirements and Risk Assessment convened by David McColl (Canada), WG 5: Escalator Safety Requirements convened by Edip Kaci (Turkey) and WG 6: Evacuation and Lift Dimensions convened by Ari Ketonen (Finland) were held. The main purpose of these meetings was to continue the work assigned to the WGs, prepare updates on the status of the work and develop positions for presentation to the Plenary Committee.

Plenary Meeting

The plenary meeting was opened by De Mas Latrie on April 14. The welcome address was given by Kareen Riley-Takos, general manager of Standards Development for SA. Riley-Takos thanked attendees for traveling vast distances to attend this meeting. She indicated SA was proud to support ISO/TC 178 and noted that the large number of attendees reflected the importance of the work of ISO/TC 178 and the dedication of the experts from around the world responsible for the work. She mentioned that SA had already demonstrated its commitment to international standards and would continue to do so. She thanked AEA for helping make this meeting possible and wished the committee well in pursuing its long and difficult agenda.

De Mas Latrie thanked Riley-Takos and said he was happy ISO/TC 178 had been invited to meet in Australia for the first time. De Mas Latrie noted this was the 27th time ISO/TC 178 had met, starting with the inauguration meeting in Paris in 1980. He stated that the role of ISO/TC 178 is to develop relevant elevator standards suitable for all countries. The standards broadly cover sustainable development, technical characteristics and safety. Adoption of ISO standards in various countries leads to globally harmonized elevators.

De Mas Latrie welcomed all the delegates and observers to the meeting and advised the committee of regrets received. Eva Contival, secretary of ISO/TC 178, conducted the roll call of attendees. There were 49 attendees from 16 countries, as well as the Pacific Asia Lift and Escalator Association.

De Mas Latrie presented a summary of ISO/TC 178 membership, marketing and key information. There are 52 member countries, of which 26 are voting members. The annual volume of new equipment installations is 925,000 worldwide, of which the largest proportion is taking place in the Asia-Pacific area. The worldwide installed base of elevator equipment exceeds 15 million units. The value of the world market for new equipment and service exceeds US$65 billion per annum.


The plenary meeting was very fruitful, and the active participation of the delegates resulted in the approval of 23 resolutions. Some of the more significant resolutions are outlined below.

Escalator Code Comparison Documents

Based on the hard work of WG 5, a resolution was taken to revise the ISO TR 14799-1/2 Comparison of Worldwide Escalator and Moving Walk Safety Standards — Part 1: Rule by Rule Comparison and Part 2: Abbreviated Comparison and Comments. The revisions will be based on the recent updates to EN 115-1:2017, A17.1-2016/B44-16 and Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS).

Energy Measurement Standards

A resolution was taken to investigate a revision of ISO 25745-2: Energy Efficiency Evaluation and Classification to cover the impact of the future eco-design directive, express-zone coverage and dispatching.

Prescriptive Standards for Elevator Safety

Based on previous ISO/TC 178 resolutions, a roadmap and process toward the development of an ISO prescriptive standard for elevators based on EN 81-20/50 — with a part identifying specific requirements to be met in North America and Japan — was approved. In order to implement this process, resolutions were taken in Sydney for the simultaneous creation and publication of three documents: the first two, ISO X and Y, mirroring EN 81-20 and 81-50, respectively, and the third, ISO TS Z, identifying specific requirements applicable in North America and Japan that need to be met, in addition to or in place of requirements in ISO X and Y. The resolutions recognized the interdependence of the ISO X, Y and Z documents and, hence, the need for simultaneous publication.

A further resolution was taken to accept a revised ISO numbering system and request ISO to reserve the series of ISO 8100-8105 numbers for use in new ISO/TC 178 documents.

Electrical Standards

A resolution was taken to update the comparison of requirements in Table B.1 of ISO 22201-1: Design and Development of Programmable Electronic Systems in Safety Related Applications for Lifts. This will be done using the latest available national standards editions, such as CEN EN 81-20/50:2014, ASME A17.1-2016/CSA B44-16, as well as JIS and the Building Standard Law of Japan.

A resolution was also taken to request WG4 and WG8 to cooperate in the future harmonization of requirements of the ISO X and Y standards. In addition, involvement of CEN TC10 AH17 should be addressed in order to assist with the harmonization process.

Safety of Existing Lifts

While progress had been made on developing requirements for the improvement of the safety of existing lifts, the clock had run out on this project, and it was necessary to register a Preliminary New Work Item (PNWI) for this work. A resolution was thus taken for WG 11 to develop an ISO standard applicable around the world.

Guide Rail Standard

A resolution was taken to reactivate WG 2 and launch a call for experts and a convener. A further resolution was taken to register a PNWI for the revision of the ISO 7465 Standard for Lift Guide Rails to take into account comments provided from Japan and correct any technical errors.

Standard for Elevator Controls

Based on the results of a systematic review, a resolution was taken to revise ISO 4190-5: Control Devices, Signals and Additional Fittings, taking into consideration the latest standards impacting this area.

Future Meetings

ISO/TC 178 gratefully accepted the proposal from the Bureau of Indian Standards to host ISO/TC 178 and its working groups for its next plenary meeting in 2017 in New Delhi. The WG and plenary meetings will take place October 9-13, 2017, with the plenary meeting commencing on October 12, 2017. Looking toward the more distant future, ISO/TC 178 acknowledged initial proposals to hold future plenary meetings from DIN (Germany) as well as from SII (Israel).

When final proposals are received, they will be assessed, and a decision will be made by the chairman of ISO/TC 178, considering overall TC objectives.

Improving Understanding

One of the major opportunities the plenary meeting presents is the chance for experts from around the world to improve understanding among themselves. Indeed, with so many different cultures represented, the importance of listening to each other and recognizing different points of view is invaluable. One of the best opportunities toward this end was a dinner cruise around Sydney Harbor at the invitation of Standards Australia and AEA.

As the cruise of the spectacular Sydney Harbor commenced, the lights of the city lent an aura of majesty to the natural beauty of the harbor. The tranquil atmosphere provided an excellent forum for networking and sharing ideas and perspectives.

Following a pleasant dinner, Tim Wheeler, National Sector manager, Standards Australia, addressed the group. He mentioned that, in view of the international nature of the elevator industry, it was important that Australian standards remain aligned with state-of-the-art international standards. He thanked the ISO experts for helping develop internationally relevant safety standards. He also thanked the AEA for its continued support and cooperation.

Noel Smith, executive director of AEA, acknowledged the efforts of many personnel who had given their time and effort in handling all the logistics to make the plenary meeting a success. In particular, he thanked Chris Jones, who is both AEA Technical Chair and Standards Australia ME 4 Elevator Standards Drafting chair, for his tireless efforts in organizing this event. At this point, the group gave Jones a well-deserved ovation.

As the evening drew to a close and some of the attendees were admiring the Southern Cross shining brilliantly in a black velvet sky, the heavens were illuminated by a spectacular burst of vivid fireworks. This was, indeed, a fitting climax to a superb evening.

Concluding Thoughts

In his closing remarks, De Mas Latrie summarized the work that had been performed by the WGs and TC as a whole. He acknowledged that significant progress had been made, and important steps forward had been realized. He indicated that much work remains to be completed. He thanked the resolution drafting committee, the delegates and other attendees, and thanked the secretary, Eva Contival, for her continued support and diligence. He also thanked SA and AEA for their sponsorship and support. Damith Rupasingle and Jessica Monks were also thanked for their help with the details of the meetings and Chris Jones for taking the lead in organizing the overall event.

Your author has been to Australia many times and has always been impressed with the level of cooperation among the various stakeholders in the elevator industry. This event, the first plenary meeting in Australia, certainly validated that impression. Moreover, over the years, Australian experts have willingly and consistently traveled to all parts of the world to participate in ISO/TC 178 activities. The staging of the plenary meeting in Australia constitutes recognition by the international community of the significant contribution by the country’s experts.

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