Does a Renovation Project Change Elevator Recall Requirements?

Elevator-Lobby IIWe frequently get questions about whether an office buildout/renovation changes the existing elevator recall sequence or mandates it if there is no recall.  The simple answer is that if the elevator equipment is not substantially altered after its installation, the requirements applicable at the time of installation remain in force.  Whether or not the space surrounding the equipment changes has no bearing on how the equipment functions.  Seems simple enough, but there is often confusion among code officials, property owners and contractors over what they’re used to seeing and what is actually required.  Many elevators were installed before recall was required and continue to function properly without being substantially altered since its installation.  Additionally, most code officials will expect recall to be controlled by the building’s fire alarm system and when it’s not, demand the recall activation method be changed to reflect their expectations.  However, what may seem like a violation may simply be an assumption that the fire alarm panel was present at the time of elevator recall installation.  If there was no fire alarm panel at the time of recall installation, a stand alone, local panel that does not evacuate the building nor call the fire department may be installed (if a local code doesn’t override NFPA 72).  Bottom line:  If the method of elevator recall was submitted to and approved by the local reviewing agency, and the equipment present at the time of approval has not been substantially altered subsequently (new elevator controller, shaft alteration, cab alteration, etc.), then the current method of elevator recall can remain the same and remain compliant, even if the floor space is substantially altered.  You may have to add a detector in the lobby if the detector that was being used is now incorrectly spaced from the lobby, but you won’t have to add smoke detectors or recall itself if they weren’t being used previously.

As your preferred Gamewell – FCI fire alarm equipment distributor, Affiliated Fire Systems has all the knowledge and experience to complete your installation as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.  Contact us at your convenience for more inforamtion.


About Gene Rowe

Gene Rowe serves as the Director of Business Development for Affiliated Customer Service. He brings twenty three years of fire alarm and emergency voice systems experience to the table with both an operational and marketing viewpoint. A US Army veteran, NICET certified, an executive board member of the IL-AFAA and a member of the NFPA, he began his career establishing operational expertise as a technician, developed graphic skills with CAD design as a general engineer, gained a ‘big picture’ mindset by moving to project management and finally a marketing perspective directing business development efforts. By interfacing with a broad range of diverse organizations such as the AFAA, CAA, AIA, CEA and the IFIA, he combines concerns of the owner, designer of record, contractor, distributor and approving authority to bring a unique perspective to Affiliated.

An avid marathon runner, he resides in west suburban Chicago with his wife and two sons. He's served the community as a Cub Scout Leader, as well as coaching multiple levels of travel and park district basketball and baseball teams. Professionally, he serves as the Treasurer and is on the Board of Directors for the Illinois chapter of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (IL-AFAA).


  1. Thanks for sharing. My work is going through some renovations right now. My boss was wondering about the recall for the elevators. We do not have a fire panel that can recall the elevator or that helps with the evacuation process. It is an older building and an old elevator. I will have to let my boss know that most likely we do not have to update the recall. I will have to look up local codes to make sure, though.

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