This chapter does not apply to locations that can only be accessible through ladders, catwalks, crawl spaces, freight elevators, or extremely tight tunnels. These locations are required by law to have an emergency exit.
In addition, this chapter does not apply to hotel rooms, apartments, or other lodging facilities. These locations are required by law to have working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in each room.
Elevators must meet all requirements of the Michigan Building Code to be considered safe. The Building Code requires elevators to have fire doors that close automatically in case of a fire, resistive wires to prevent electric shock, and two way voice communication between the cab and the floor to allow passengers to hear noises outside the elevator if it stops between floors.
The Building Code also requires that elevators have functioning lights and sound-emitting devices to warn people when the elevator is about to arrive at a floor. The code further requires that elevators be maintained daily by a licensed mechanic who is aware of their electrical systems.
People who use elevators every day should take note of how old they are. An old elevator may not be as safe as one that is new.
Generally, the public exterior, interior, sidewalks, entryways, hallways, and doors of an apartment complex must be ADA accessible. Elevators, ramps, and other potentially challenging disability access installations are not required. Installing an elevator, for example, may be too time-consuming and costly for a "mom-and-pop" landlord.
However, if you own more than one unit and they're all occupied, you would have to provide an elevator for all units. If you own a building with at least four units and no elevators already in place, you can probably install one without violating the law. Otherwise, you might have to make alterations or modifications to your building to create space for an elevator.
In addition, if you receive federal assistance through programs such as Section 8 housing vouchers or Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), then the properties you manage must comply with any special accessibility requirements defined by your government program. For example, if you administer a program that requires some units to be designated as "accessible housing," then all of the units must be able to accommodate people with disabilities or older adults who need help using the stairs. You would know what accessibility requirements apply to your property and how to meet them if you review your government's website or contact your agency directly.
Elevators are the most popular means for multi-story structures to offer access. Title III of the ADA, on the other hand, includes an exemption to the general requirement requiring elevators. Because each level is smaller than 3,000 square feet, an elevator is not necessary. However, if your structure has more than one floor, then you must provide some type of access.
If your building is more than 40 years old, you may not know that it's a federal offense to discriminate against someone based on their disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protection against discrimination for individuals with disabilities. Violating the ADA can result in large fines or even criminal charges. For example, under the ADA, a business cannot deny entry to an individual because they are using a wheelchair. The same principle applies when someone uses a cane, a walker, or another aid device. The ADA also requires that people be provided with reasonable accommodations if they have a physical or mental impairment that prevents them from enjoying a facility or service. For example, if a person is deaf, the ADA requires that they be provided with a qualified interpreter during legal proceedings.
In conclusion, the ADA requires that each level of a multilevel building be accessible by way of an elevator or other suitable transportation. If your building is more than 40 years old, it may not be safe to operate an elevator.
Housing Code SS1002 (b) defines a building to be inadequate if it lacks elevator service, as required by Section 713.1 of the code. This means that any portion of the building for which an elevator was not originally specified in the construction documents is considered unsafe. If an elevator becomes inadequate at any time after construction has been completed, the building is considered unsafe and must be brought up to code.
An elevator can become inadequate for many different reasons. For example, if there is no electrical power to the car, then it cannot be operated. If its drive system fails, then it cannot be moved. If its walls are not strong enough to support itself over rough ground or if its roof collapses, then it is unfit for use.
Buildings with elevators that do not function as required by law or city codes are known as "defective" or "unsafe." The people who live or work in these buildings are said to be "elevator users." When an elevator becomes inadequate, some people may need to be evacuated from their apartments or offices while work is done on making the elevator safe again. This is called "elevator remediation."
Elevator remediation can be expensive.