Professionals in the escalator and elevator industry often use terms like “inspection”, “audit” and “testing” to mean basically the same thing. However, these terms actually mean different things.

An inspection of an elevator is usually carried out by an AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). The inspection is used to determine the condition of the elevator equipment. It also ensures that every aspect of the elevator meets the standards of the State or Municipal elevator safety codes. In order to pass an elevator inspection, various parts of the elevator must be tested. The tests that are used for this inspection are detailed under ASME A17.1, and they depend on the type of elevator being inspected.

Different tests are used for hydraulic, escalator, traction and dumbwaiter units. There are different levels of testing as well. Category 1 tests occur annually, while Category 5 tests take place every five years, and these only apply to traction elevators. For hydraulic elevators, an annual pressure test is required. Escalators are also tested every year, and they may also be tested whenever the AHJ decides they need to be. The Electric Service Provider carries out all testing for elevators and escalators.

According to safety code, the elevator machine room must contain all testing tags. These tags detail the type of test taken and the date it was performed. An inspector will ensure that all the necessary testing is carried out during an inspection.

An audit for an elevator, on the other hand, determines how safe the unit’s equipment is. It also assesses performance and determines how well maintained the unit is. Audits are not a code requirement, and they are often requested by the owner of the property or building to get an idea of the what condition the elevator is in. The audit also tells them about the quality of maintenance the elevator is receiving. During an audit, the elevator’s maintenance plan will be reviewed. The units’ service contract is also examined. These documents will be cross examined with the current state of the elevator to ensure that the plans that are currently in place are being followed.

Audits, when performed regularly, can improve an elevator’s performance and the level of service the elevator receives. These audits can also find gaps in service and maintenance, exposing flaws and ensuring he elevator is able to pass inspection and meet code requirements. Many times, an elevator audit will also be called an “elevator survey” or an “elevator assessment”.

“Elevator” can be a general term as well, referring to any vertical transporting, including dumbwaiters, escalators and LULA, among others.