JEDDAH — Starting March, all residential and commercial buildings will be obliged to install Civil Defense certified elevators.
The Saudi Arabian Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO) has said all new elevators are required to be registered with the Civil Defense and a certificate issued by the authority displayed at the main entrance at the ground floor of any building.
Elevators that are already installed and operating now will be evaluated by specialized maintenance companies and within a year and will also be obliged to meet the standards. By 2020 all elevators must meet the international elevator standards, according to SASO officials.
The only buildings excluded from the inspections are private villas, military buildings, mining and construction sites, which will be included in a later stage.
Officials from both the SASO and the Civil Defense talked about the new measures at a workshop at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.
Mohammad Huraira, a quality control specialist at SASO, said 20 international companies were authorized to evaluate the elevators and report to the Civil Defense.
He added that the new regulations would reduce the workload of the Civil Defense, which in turn will be in charge of overviewing the work of all parities involved.
Capt. Faris Bader from the Civil Defense explained that they had documented 530 accidents involving elevators, with only one of them fatal.
He said the main cause of elevator malfunctions was that engineering offices would not follow up with construction companies to ensure the safety measures were implemented.
In addition, the owners and occupants of buildings tended to badly use elevators, which are not properly maintained. Sometimes maintenance crew use parts without warranty, Bade said.
The captain said there was great demand for technical courses offered by the Technical and Vocational Training Cooperation to prepare Saudis to serve in the elevator maintenance sector.
He said they have so far given authorization to 55 companies, 22 of them for elevator maintenance alone.