Questions

Inspections

Installation, Operation, and Repair

Appeals

 

Answers

Inspections

Q: Which devices are regulated by the Department under M.G.L. c. 143, §62?

A: All elevators, moving stairways, dumbwaiters, moving walks, material lifts and dumbwaiters with automatic transfer devices, wheelchair lifts, automatic people movers and other associated devices are regulated by the Department. Auto repair lifts, however, are not included. M.G.L. c. 143, §62.

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Q: When must elevators (and other regulated devices) be inspected?

A: Under M.G.L. c. 143, §63, all elevators must be inspected by the Department when they are initially installed. Additionally, all alterations to elevators must also be inspected by the Department upon completion of the alteration by the elevator company. Under M.G.L. c. 143, §64, elevators must subsequently be inspected by the Department at least once per year (annually), with two exceptions.  First, Limited Use Limited Access Elevators (LULA), Vertical Reciprocating Conveyers (VRC), wheelchair lifts and dumbwaiters not located in a single-family owner-occupied dwellings must be inspected every two years (biennially).  Second, any elevator located in a single-family owner occupied residence does not require periodic inspections, but will require the initial installation inspection, and an inspection at the completion of any modernization or alteration requiring a permit

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Q: How do I know if the elevator in my building needs to be inspected?

A: After an elevator has passed an inspection, the inspector will issue a certificate of approval. M.G.L. c. 143, §63, §64. That certificate is required to be posted in a conspicuous place in or near the cab of the elevator. Certificates for elevators that are not located in single-family owner-occupied dwellings include an expiration date. The owner of the property in which the elevator is located must make sure that the certificate is up to date.  The expiration date printed on the certificate (rather than an expiration date recorded elsewhere) is the key date.

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Q: How do I schedule an elevator inspection?

A:   It is the owner’s responsibility to ensure that an elevator’s certificate is up to date, but you must contact your elevator maintenance company to coordinate an inspection date with the Department.  Before an inspection date can be scheduled, an application for elevator annual or biennial inspection first must be filed with the Department.  If the application is not filed with the Department before the expiration date on the certificate, the owner will incur a late fine.  See M.G. L. c. 143, §65, 520 CMR 16.02(4).  Please note that in order to complete the filing an application, a complete application and payment must be received by the Department.  The date on which the Department receives the application is the date on which it will be deemed to have been filed, not the date on which you placed an application in the mail.  (Filing by using the Department’s recently implemented Inspection and Permitting System (IPS) will help better ensure that the application is timely filed). 

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Q: How much does it cost to have an inspection?

A: A fee, which is determined annually by the Secretary of Administration and Finance, must be paid prior to obtaining any inspection, test, or permit. Currently, the fee for an annual or biennial inspection is $400; the fee for a first inspection on a newly constructed elevator is $400; and the fee for a permit to perform repairs is $40. You may apply for a waiver of the annual/biennial inspection fee if you are able to demonstrate that the fee would result in a hardship to you. The application to request the reduction may be accessed at http://www.mass.gov/dps.

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Q: How do I prepare the elevator for inspection?

A: To have the required inspection, an application must be filed with the Department before the expiration date on the posted certificate.  If you have your elevator maintenance company submit the application on your behalf and the application is not filed with the Department before the expiration date on the certificate, you, as the owner of the elevator, will be responsible for late fines.  You will be fined $100 per day for each day the application was filed late.  See M.G. L. c. 143, §65 and 520 CMR 16.02.   Because an elevator maintenance company must be involved in the inspection, you must contact your elevator maintenance company. They will schedule and prepare for the inspection with the Department after the application has been filed.  The filing of a complete application after the filing deadline will still lead to an inspection, but the results of the inspection will not change the fines imposed for having missed the filing deadline.

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Q: What happens if an elevator in my building does not pass inspection?

A: If an elevator does not pass inspection, the inspector will immediately issue a temporary certificate indicating that the owner of the elevator has either 60 or 90 days depending on the violation, to bring the elevator up to code. If the elevator has failed the inspection because it presents a life or safety hazard, the inspector will post on the entrance of the elevator a notice of its dangerous condition, or placard, and will disable the elevator. The use of such elevator is prohibited until it has been made safe to the inspector's satisfaction.

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Q: If an elevator in my building has been placarded or shut down for not passing re-inspection, what should I do?

A: Contact your elevator maintenance company and schedule the necessary repairs.

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Q: What happens if the certificate for the elevator in my building has expired?

A: Contact the building owner and report that the elevator is in need of inspection.  The owner must ensure that an application for elevator annual inspection has been filed with the Department.

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Q: What is the Department's policy with respect to inspection certificate expiration dates?

A:  Certificate expiration dates are set at the last day of a month.  The first expiration date for a newly installed elevator, or for an elevator that has undergone modernization, will generally be one or two years from the month in which the elevator has its first installation acceptance inspection depending on the type of elevator.  Thereafter the next expiration date will generally be the same month as the last expiration date, except:

•        If the inspection takes place more than six months after an expiration date, the next expiration date will be set from the inspection date rather than from the last expiration date. 

•        For placarded elevators, the expiration date is set from the date the elevator passes inspection and is re-certified.

However, it is the owner’s responsibility to look at the certificate to determine the next expiration date, and to ensure that an inspection application is timely filed (90 days before the expiration date).  Certificates issued since 2015 are available on the Department’s Inspections and Permitting System (IPS) online customer portal (https://massdpsportal.secure.force.com/home/home.jsp ).

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Q: I have an elevator in my house. Does it have to be inspected?

A:  Elevators located in owner occupied, single family dwellings must be inspected after the initial installation and again any time it undergoes a modernization or alteration.  These residential elevators do not require periodic inspections.  It does not matter what type of elevator is in the single-family owner-occupied dwelling—these rules apply equally to passenger elevators, wheelchair lifts, dumbwaiters and any other type of elevator. 

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Q: I cannot afford to pay the fee to have the elevator in my home inspected. What can I do?

AA: If your elevator is medically necessary, you may request a fee waiver. You may also request a waiver if payment is a hardship.  The application for both waiver requests can be found at http://www.mass.gov/dps.

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Installation, Operation, and Repair

Q: Which devices are regulated by the Department under M.G.L. c. 143, §62?

A: All elevators, moving stairways, dumbwaiters, moving walks, material lifts and dumbwaiters with automatic transfer devices, wheelchair lifts, automatic people movers and other associated devices are regulated by the Department. M.G.L. c. 143, §62.

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Q: Do people performing an elevator installation or repair have to be a licensed elevator mechanic?

A: Yes. All persons responsible for the installation or alteration of an elevator must possess an elevator mechanics' license.

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Q: Why hasn't the Department's database been updated to reflect that a new company is servicing my elevator?

A: You must fill out the Notice of New Contract docx format of Notice of New Elevator Contract 
 form and send it to elevator.scheduler@state.ma.us to ensure that the database is updated appropriately.

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Q: What is the difference between a repair and an alteration and when is a permit required?

A: Pursuant to 524 CMR 1.03, a permit is required prior to performing any "alteration" to an elevator. Repairs, maintenance, and replacements, as those terms are defined in 524 CMR 3.00, are not alterations and, accordingly, no permit is required to perform such work. An "alteration" is work which falls under the definition of the term as set out in 524 CMR 3.00, but also includes all of the items specifically listed in 524 CMR 10.01 and 10.02 as well as referenced in A17.1-2004, Non-mandatory Appendix L (by way of A17.1-2004, section 8.7- Alterations) or the equivalent provisions contained in earlier versions of the code. Therefore, a permit must be obtained prior to performing any alteration which includes work specifically listed in 524 CMR 10.01 and 10.02, referenced in A17.1-2004, Non-mandatory Appendix L, and/or the equivalent provisions contained in earlier versions of the code regardless of whether one believes the work listed in those sections also meets the definition of repair, maintenance, or replacement.


This interpretation applies to all permitting issues. The fact that a state inspector writes a violation up during an inspection does not necessarily mean that a permit is required to perform the work necessary to abate the violation. A permit is only required for alterations (and construction, installation, or relocation).
 

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Q: Do all elevator installations have to be inspected?

A: Yes. All elevators must also be inspected and granted a certificate to operate.

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Q: How do I obtain an elevator permit for installation of an elevator?

A: Your elevator company must provide the Department with both application and your plans and specifications with sufficient clarity and detail.

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Q: What do I need to submit to obtain a permit?

A: If this is a new installation, a relocation or material change (as defined by 524 CMR section 15.01(2)), you are required to submit plans signed by a registered architect or a registered professional engineer. The plans shall bear a registering stamp certifying that the registered architect or P.E. has examined the plans and found that the building structure will comply with the contract load plus its tare as they are shown on the elevator drawing.


New installation plans (layout drawings) shall include all items (where applicable) listed in A17.1 - 2004 Section 2.28, 524 CMR Section 35:00 Part 2 Section 2.28 and Part 3 Section 3.38.1.


If you are applying for an alteration permit, you are required to submit plans and/or specifications for the equipment you will be installing.


Here are some examples:


1. A new controller in a machine room will require a MR plan and specification for the controller.


2. A new hoisting machine will require a MR plan and specifications for your machine.


3. If you are replacing hoisting ropes, you are required to submit specifications on the hoisting ropes installed.


4. If you are replacing a hydraulic control valve, you are required to submit specifications on the hydraulic control valve.


No elevator shall be installed or altered until a copy of the plans and specifications of such elevator or of the proposed alterations have been filed by the owner of the premises where such elevator is to be installed or altered, or by the manufacturer of such elevator (M.G.L. Chapter 143, Section 62).
 

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Q: How detailed must the plans and specifications be?

A: Your plans and specifications must include: the location of the installation in relation to the building; the location of the machine room and equipment to be installed, relocated or altered; all structural supporting members thereof, including foundations; all materials to be employed and all loads to be supported or conveyed; and shall be sufficiently complete to illustrate all details of construction and design.

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Q: Who can sign off on the Pre-Inspection Checklist for New Elevator Installations and Modernizations?

A: Only a authorized representative of an elevator company registered in Massachusetts may sign the Pre-Inspection Checklist. If the Department receives a form that is signed by anyone other than a registered company's authorized representative, the form will immediately be returned to the sender.

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Q: How do I calculate the permit fee?

A: The permit fee is calculated by taking the contract value and rounding down to the nearest thousand dollars, multiplying that figure by .01 and adding $40.00.


Example: contract value is $15,288.00 rounded down to the nearest thousand dollars = $15,000.00 X .01 = $150.00 + $40.00 = $190.00.
 

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Q: What is the Department's emergency permitting procedure?

A: The Department's emergency permitting procedure can be found here. The application for an emergency elevator permit has been updated and can be found . Please be sure to use this form for all emergency permit applications.
 

Additionally, the Department has created the following consolidated e-mail address that will be used for all notifications: elevator.supervisor@state.ma.us.
 

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Q: Does the Department issue electronic permits?

A: The Department has developed a process by which it can issue permits electronically. You must keep the permit on site at all times that work is in progress.

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Q: How do I obtain a certificate of approval?

A: The elevator must pass an inspection and practical test performed by a licensed elevator construction man, maintenance or repairman in the presence of a Department inspector assigned by the commissioner. It is the responsibility of the owner of the building where the elevator is located to contact the installation contractor and arrange for the inspection.

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Q: What happens if I operate an elevator without a permit or certificate of approval?

A: Operating an elevator without a permit or certificate of approval may be punishable by fines specified by M.G. L. c. 143, §65 and/or M.G. L. c. 143, §71, See also 520 CMR 16.02.  In addition, the Department may shut down the elevator.

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Q: Why haven't I received my duplicate inspection certificate and/or fire services test certificate?

A: The Department will issue an inspection certificate at the time of the inspection via email to the building owner and the elevator maintenance company; it will be the responsibility of the building owner to make sure that the certificate is posted in the elevator at the time of the inspection.

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Q: Will I be able to obtain a certificate from the elevator inspector if my unit passes the fire services test?

A: The Department will issue an inspection certificate at the time of the inspection via email to the building owner and the application contact; it will be the responsibility of the building owner to make sure that the certificate is posted in the elevator at the time of the inspection.

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Q: Who must be licensed as an elevator mechanic?

A: M.G.L. c. 143, §71b states that anyone performing work as an elevator constructor, maintenance man and repairman in the construction, maintenance or repair of elevators must have a license.

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Q: How do I obtain my elevator mechanics' license?

A:

1. First, please read and complete an Application for Elevator Mechanic. This is a one page form requiring information about you and your employer.

2. The form must be signed by a notary public.

3. Send a check for $75.00 made payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts along with the completed and signed application to the following address:

4. The Department will inform you by mail of the time and location of your exam.

Department of Public Safety - Elevator License
One Ashburton Place, Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108

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Q: How frequently must I renew my elevator mechanic's license?

A: Your license is in effect until your birthday occurring at least 12 months from the issuance of your license, but not more than 24 months. M.G.L. c. 143, §71(c).

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Q: Are there continuing education requirements to review my elevator mechanic's license?

A: Yes. Prior to renewal, the applicant must submit a certificate of completion of a course designed to ensure the continuing education of licensees on new and existing provisions of the regulations of the board of elevator regulations. The certificate must be sent to the Board of Elevator regulations along with the renewal application. In order to satisfy the continuing education requirement, the course must be approved by the Board of Elevator Regulations, consist of at least eight (8) hours of instruction, and be completed by the applicant within one year preceding the license renewal.

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Q: What must I do to renew my license?

A: A renewal form will be sent to you one month prior to the expiration of your license. You must complete and sign the renewal form, and attach a certificate of completion from your continuing education course. In addition, you must enclose a check or money order made out to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for the $60.00 renewal fee. Please send the application, certification of completion, and fee to the following address:

Department of Public Safety - Elevator License
One Ashburton Place, Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108

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Q: What happens if I do not renew my license in time?

A: If you do not renew your license before the expiration, it will be void and you will not be able to perform work required to be done by a licensed elevator mechanic. If you send in a completed application for renewal within one year of the expiration date of your license, you will not have to retake the examination to become re-licensed. If you do not renew your license within one year of its expiration, you will have to take and pass the mechanic's examination in order to have your license re-issued. See M.G.L. c. 143, §71c.

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Q: Do all elevator operators have to be licensed?

A: Yes. Under M.G.L. c. 143, §71, no person may act as an elevator operator without a license from the Department.

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Q: How do I obtain my elevator operator's license?

A:

1. First, fill out an Application for License to Operate Elevators. This is a one page form requiring personal information about you and your work experience.

2. Make out a check for $25.00 to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

3. Submit your completed application and check to the following address:

Department of Public Safety - Elevator License
One Ashburton Place, Room 1301
Boston, MA 02108

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Appeals

Q: What is the process for me to appeal a decision of an inspector and/or the Board of Elevator Regulations?

A: Appeals must be filed within 10 days of the owner being notified of the inspector's decision. An owner or representative must complete the appeal form and submit it along with the appropriate fee payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the Board of Elevator Regulations, One Ashburton Place, Room 1301, Boston, MA 02108. The appeal form must be filled out completely and must cite the code sections used by the inspector as the basis for his or her decision. It must also state the basis for the appeal and/or a request for a variance from the cited code sections and a basis for such variance.
 

All appeal applications will be reviewed by Department staff and all viable appeals and variance requests will be scheduled for a hearing before the Board of Elevator Regulations. After a hearing, the Board may issue an order reversing, affirming or modifying in whole or in part the inspector's interpretation, order, requirement or direction or postponing the application thereof or granting or denying a variance. A written decision commemorating the Board's decision will be sent to the parties.
 

If the appeal of a non-placard issue is denied and the work is not complete for the retest 90 days after the initial test, the unit will be shut down until the work is completed. If the appeal is not heard until after the 90 day deadline and the Board denies the appeal, the unit will be placarded immediately and will remain placarded until the work is completed.
 

Within thirty days after receipt of any decision or order of the Board of Elevator Regulations, any person aggrieved thereby may file an appeal to the Board of Elevator Appeals. The appeal may be initiated by the filing of an application which includes a copy of the decision of the Board of Elevator Regulations. The Board of Elevator Appeals shall hear all pertinent evidence and determine the facts, and, upon the facts as so determined make such decision or order.
 

Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Board of Elevator Appeals, whether or not previously a party to the proceeding, or any municipal officer or board, may appeal to the superior court for the county in which the building or installation concerned is situated, provided that such appeal is filed within thirty days after receipt of notice of such decision.
 

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Q: Will my appeal from a decision of an inspector stay the order?

A: Yes, with one exception: an appeal of a decision to placard an elevator pursuant to M.G.L. c. 143, § 65 will not stay the order. In such cases, an inspector will cite M.G.L. c. 143, § 65 on his or her inspection report and the elevator will remain shut down pending the outcome of the appeal.
 

Given that appeals of placarding issues do not stay the Board's order, the Department will make all reasonable efforts to expedite the appeals process with respect to these issues.
 

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Q: Who will be present when the Board hears my appeal?

A: A quorum of the Board must be present to adjudicate any case. The elevator owner may appear on his or her own behalf or be represented by an agent or attorney. Additionally, the Department will notify the inspector responsible for the initial determination and that inspector may appear at the hearing.

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Q: Where can I find the appeal form to appeal a decision from the Board of Elevator Regulations?

A: The "Appeal from Board of Elevator Regulations Decision" form can be found at mass.gov/dps.

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