Code Primer

It takes time to acclimate oneself to the navigation of the Elevator Code, technically known as the California Code of Regulations, Subchapter 6, Elevator Safety Orders. This code also refers to other Codes such as ASME A17.1-1996 and ASME A17.1-2004, depending on the year the conveyance was installed or modernized (altered).

As a Building Owner, Manager, or Engineer, it can be useful to understand which Code applies to the conveyance in your building. The applicable code will depend upon the date of installation and/or alteration.

The Elevator Safety Orders categorize elevators into the following groups:

Group II – Existing elevators (Elevators installed prior to October 25, 1998).

Group III – Elevators newly installed after October 25, 1998.

Group IV – Conveyances installed after May 1, 2008. If the installation contract was signed prior to this date, Group 3 regulations would apply.

If alterations are performed to an elevator or conveyance, the altered portions of the unit, and anything deemed necessary by the alteration section of the code, will be inspected to the newer code. The unaltered portions of the elevator will be required to comply with the code in effect at the time of the original installation.

Code Links:

Group II Code is contained within the body of CCR, Subchapter 6, Elevator Safety Orders.

Group III Code refers to ASME A17.1-1996, but is more stringent in some areas.

Group IV Code largely refers to ASME A17.1-2004.


  • Besides installation and alteration requirements, these codes govern the annual inspections, testing, and other requirements that will affect your operating costs related to the elevators in your building.
  • The required fire service operation depends upon the code group with which your elevators must comply.
  • If your elevators are hydraulic, the frequency of load testing will be different based on the code group
  • If your elevators have suspension ropes, the code group determines the criteria used to determine if the ropes require replacing.

These are just a few of the items affected by the specific code which governs your elevators. As you can see, these requirements can materially affect the building operating costs, and awareness of these facts can be useful in budget projection.

If you are unsure of which code pertains to your elevators or have a code related question, we would be happy to assist you.