Elevator Inspections

The Elevator Inspections Office within the Department of Permit and Inspection Services is responsible for inspection, permitting, issuance of certificates of operation and enforcement for compliance with all New York State Codes, specifically the ASME ANSI A17.1- 2007 edition Elevator and Escalator Safety Code and all applicable codes of the ordinances in the City of Buffalo.

On this page are various hyperlinks to assist you in doing business with the City of Buffalo’s Department of Permit and Inspection Services.

Should you have any additional questions or need additional assistance, please contact the Department of Permit and Inspection Services, Elevator Section at 716-851-5240.

Description of Services

The primary objective of Chapter 167, entitled Elevators of the City of Buffalo Charter and Code is to insure public safety. The elevator safety ordinance contains the requirements, which mandate the registration, inspection and issuance of certificate(s) of operation regarding all new and existing elevators/conveyances located in the City of Buffalo. This act regulates activity as it pertains to the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of elevators/conveyances. This equipment includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Dormant Elevators
  • Dumbwaiters
  • Escalators
  • Freight Elevators
  • Inclined and Vertical Wheelchair Lifts
  • Interior / Exterior Stair-chair Lifts
  • Interior / Exterior Wheelchair Lifts
  • LULA (Limited Use, Limited Application Elevators) Elevators
  • Material Lifts
  • Moving Walks
  • Passenger Elevators
  • Private Residence Elevators
  • Sidewalk Elevators and Lifts

Mandatory Registration

Of all new and existing elevators; property owners are required to supply such information as building use, elevator type, rated load, speed, manufacture, previous alteration, and purpose for which it is used. Registrations include all commercial and private residence properties.

Semi - Annual Inspection

All initial, semi - annual and final acceptance inspections are completed by a licensed third-party elevator inspection company. Property owners can choose from a list of licensed companies. The City of Buffalo Supervisor of Elevator Inspections completes follow up inspections. All elevator inspectors are ANSI, ASME QEI or QEIS certified (qualified elevator inspectors). Upon completion of said inspections property owner are issued an elevator inspection report, a copy of which is filed with the City of Buffalo, Department of Permit and Inspection Services. If after any elevator inspection violations exist the City of Buffalo's Supervisor of Elevator Inspections is charged with the responsibility of gaining code compliance in accordance with the provisions specified in Chapter 167.

Certificate of Operation

Prior to any conveyance being used the property owner shall obtain a certificate of operation issued by the City of Buffalo. Certificate(s) of operation are renewable annually and shall be conspicuously posted inside the elevator / conveyance cab.

Certificate of Operation Fee Schedule

The fee for a first time certificate of operation for an existing elevator is $52.50, renewal certificates are $36.25. An initial certificate of operation for a new installation is $105.

Licensing of Companies, Individual Inspectors & Installers

No person firm or company shall inspect, erect, construct, alter, install service, repair, replace or maintain elevators in the city of Buffalo unless an inspectors or installers license has been issued.

No Company shall hold both an inspector and installer license at the same time.

Licensed Companies

Presently there are ten (10) Licensed Elevator Maintenance / Installation companies. Four (4) Licensed Third Party Inspection Companies and two (2) Licensed Limited Installers companies. (Wheelchair Lifts)

Insurance Requirements

Companies, which inspect or install elevators must provide and maintain insurance certificates with workman's compensation. In addition each company must maintain a two million-dollar errors and omissions policy.

Code & Adopted Standards

Chapter 167, Elevators of the City of Buffalo Charter and Code. The Codes on New York State - 2007 edition with referenced standards, as well as the ASME ANSI A1July 1, 2004 edition) Safety code for Elevators and Escalators.


No conveyance shall be erected constructed, installed or materially altered unless a permit has been obtained. Permits are issued only to companies holding a current installer's license. The elevator permit fee schedule is contained in Chapter 175 of Buffalo's Charter and Code. Applications may be made through the City of Buffalo, Department of Permit and Inspection Services, Room 323, City Hall, Buffalo, New York 14202.

Permit Fee Schedule

New installations $105 and $105 per stop. Alterations $52.50 and $10.50 per stop. No fee for repairs.

Permit Process

  • Applications must be submitted and are only accepted by a licensed elevator installation / maintenance company
  • Elevator permit issued
  • Final acceptance inspection completed
  • Full compliance
  • Issuance of certificate of operation
  • New Installation, Modernization and Alteration
  • Plan review and approval process

Types of Elevator Inspections

  • 3 year hydraulic safety test / witnessed
  • 5 year full-load safety test / witnessed
  • Alteration
  • Change in property ownership
  • Complaints
  • Court ordered follow up code compliance inspections
  • Main machine gear box 5 year test / witnessed
  • Modernization
  • New installation / final acceptance
  • Required annual elevator inspection (all existing units)

Court Case Process

  • 1-30 day notice or summons issued to property owner (for non-compliance)
  • Certificate of operation issued
  • Court case initiated (after no response to a summons and/or a violation notice)
  • Elevator inspection completed
  • Generally involves property owners who refuse to have the required annual elevator inspection completed or have had the inspection completed and have listed violations outstanding
  • If guilty - fine and penalty levied by housing court
  • Owner compliant