May A17 Code Meetings


Committee members meet in Oklahoma City to discuss ASME code and celebrate longtime member Zack McCain.

The most recent ASME A17 code meetings took place at the Sheraton Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City during the week of May 11.  Dozens of elevator-industry engineers, consultants, jurisdictional inspectors and specialists gathered to attend A17 Standards Committee and subcommittee meetings to discuss and respond to requests for interpretations (RFIs) of various code rules, and to work on the development of technical revisions to the various A17 codes and standards published by the American Society of mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Following the typical A17 Code Committee meeting schedule, the Electrical and Mechanical Design Committee task groups, and QEI and A17.4 committees met on Monday. The Electrical, Inspectors, Mechanical Design, Residence and Rack and Pinion elevator committees met on Tuesday. Wednesday was set aside for the Standards Committee meeting, during which requests for interpretations were considered and developed, and subcommittee reports were presented and discussed. As is usually the case, it was a busy week for participants, who debated important industry issues, and completed code development and maintenance work.

Some of the major issues the committee discussed and clarified include:

  • Types of motion control defined in A17.1
  • Location of the required Phase 1 in car Firefighters’ Emergency Operation visual signaling
  • Elevator emergency/standby power operation
  • Elevator seismic requirements to be met in various seismic zones
  • Access requirements for pits 3 ft. or less in depth
  • Onsite documentation requirements for equipment that only requires annual service
  • Elevator door-panel data-plate requirements
  • Dumbwaiter car-gate-contact requirements
  • Identification and operation of in-car telephones
  • The following issues were also discussed:
  • Residential elevator power-door closing requirements
  • Top-of-hoistway clearance (runby) requirements for installations with car-crosshead-mounted car-top stations
  • Operation of elevator-group fire-recall switches when in Occupant Evacuation Operation
  • Location of required car-mounted data plates on elevator cars without crossheads

Following the discussion, the status of the RFIs, A17 Administrative, Ad Hoc and Technical Committee reports were presented and discussed. Various technical revisions, which are still being worked on by the subcommittees, were also presented. As the Standards Committee meeting drew to a close, the date and location of the next A17 Code Week was announced for October 5-8 in Vancouver.

For a complete list of all the items discussed and those under consideration by the various A17 Standards Committee  and subcommittees, see the approved Standards Committee Agenda published by ASME. This publication, the meeting minutes and the schedule of upcoming meetings are available at

Honoring Zack McCain

On the evening of May 11, a retirement and recognition dinner was held for 40-year veteran of A17 code development, Zack McCain. He became involved in 1976 as a member of the Inspection Committee, serving as chairman from 1978-1987 and still remaining a member. He continues additional A17 committee work as a member of the Standards Committee, for which he served as vice chairman from 1986-1999. He is also a member of the A17 Maintenance, Repair and Replacement Committee and A17 Existing Elevator Committee. Although he will be retiring from his day-to-day elevator-consulting engineering practice and as a full member of the A17 committees, he will continue as a contributing member of numerous A17 committees.

After obtaining his Mechanical Engineering BS degree from Lamar University in 1960, McCain obtained his Professional Engineers License and was the elevator program administrator for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service. In 1990, he founded McCain Engineering Associates, Inc.      

McCain has also achieved numerous ASME honors, including ASME life member (elected to fellow in 1995), the 2004 Dedicated Service Award and the 1995 Safety Codes and Standards Medal. He has authored numerous ELEVATOR WORLD technical articles and books including Elevators 101, The Elevator Inspection Handbook, and the Elevator Maintenance Manual. He has also developed numerous elevator-industry training videos and has been an ASME elevator-technology course instructor for decades.

In view of all of McCain’s accomplishments and contributions to the elevator industry, it is no wonder that his A17 Code Committee colleagues chose to honor him in his hometown. During this event, James Coaker; Hank E. Peelle, III; Mike Farinola; and Louis Bialy praised and thanked him for all he has done for the industry and for graciously sharing the knowledge he has obtained throughout his career with us.

Since 1953, Elevator World, Inc. has been the premier publisher for the global vertical transportation industry. It employs specialists in Mobile, Alabama, and has technical and news correspondents around the world.

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