Does My Building Need an Elevator

Does My Building Need an Elevator?

May 1, 2023

You may be wondering, “does my building need an elevator?” It’s an important question to consider, as installing an elevator requires planning, budget, and a trustworthy elevator construction company. So it’s vital to understand when and why you need one, as it can save you from potential fines and bad publicity.

In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) helped instate a law that requires that all public buildings in the United States should be accessible to people with limited mobility. While it initially applied only to the construction of new buildings, existing buildings are now required to be renovated for greater accessibility.

Your Building is 3 Stories or More

Elevators are great for anyone, but those who benefit the most from them are people with disabilities, like wheelchair users. That’s why the ADA requires that an elevator must be installed in any commercial building that has three or more stories. 

According to the International Building Code (IBC), at least one accessible elevator must connect to each level of the building, including mezzanines.

So, if your building is only one or two stories, you don’t need an elevator. However, if you’re a 3+ multistory commercial building, you need to get one installed ASAP.

If Each Floor is More than 3,000 Square Feet

Most buildings with two or more stories have elevators. However, if your building is less than 3,000 square feet on every floor, you’re generally exempt from needing an elevator. So, if you have a four story building where each floor is 2,900 square feet or less, then you won’t need an elevator installed. If even one of those floors measures as 3,000 square feet, though, an elevator is required. Yes, even if it’s the main floor.

What are the Exceptions?

There are exceptions, of course, however not in the direction you think. Smaller commercial buildings, whether they’re two-story or less than 3,000 square feet, are generally exempt from needing an elevator. The exception comes from whether or not it’s a specific type of building. These buildings include:

  •    Shopping center or mall
  •    Public transit station
  •    Healthcare facility or doctor’s office
  •    Airport passenger terminal

All of these buildings, regardless of the number of stories or size, must have an elevator so they are ADA compliant.

At the end of the day, elevators are required to accommodate those who can’t get up the stairs, but they’re helpful to everyone. You might find deliveries more efficient with an elevator, as large or cumbersome items can be more quickly brought up to the higher floors. Cleaning services can also benefit, as their equipment can sometimes be difficult to transport up multiple flights of stairs, and you won’t need to waste storage space on each floor for said equipment. Really, there are more pros than cons to installing an elevator.

You might be concerned about the time or expense installing an elevator might cause you, but don’t worry. We at Buckley Elevators work to make the process easy and affordable, installing only non-proprietary equipment that will have easily replaceable parts readily available. This means that any elevator we install will be compatible with the best quality parts, making them easy to fix and stay up to code. Contact us today and let us get your building up to code.