Updates are evidence of efforts by several vertical-transportation organizations to solve barriers to public safety in new and even existing buildings

by Johannes de Jong

"In 2004, the CTBUH published its Emergency Evacuation: Elevator Systems Guideline.[1] After the tragic events of 9/11, it was clear that it was time to enhance egress methodologies for high-rise buildings. This concise yet comprehensive booklet summarized the benefits to be attained from evacuation elevator systems, outlined three levels of protection and the related key design criteria. The guide also explored the considerations to be taken when designing egress elevators and mapped out the protocols for total, staged and fractional evacuation using elevators. The guide was well received, as the marketplace was looking for new ideas to enhance high-rise safety. This need has not changed.

In the U.S., this guideline was implemented by several regulatory organizations. The International Code Council (ICC) allowed voluntary use of automated self-evacuation through Occupant Evacuation Operation (OEO) in the International Building Code (IBC),[2] and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers updated the U.S. elevator code, ASME A17.1,[3] to include voluntary OEO. While it is a great achievement, the take-up of emergency egress elevators as a design concept has been very limited and not as widespread as one could have hoped."