The National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII) is celebrating a 75-year milestone. Though incorporated on March 9, 1934, NEII’s origins can be traced back to the first joint meeting of elevator contractors that took place in 1914. NEII, formerly the National Elevator Manufacturing Industry, Inc., was formed by elevator contractors to create standard guidelines that promote safe building transportation. The association focuses on new and existing elevator products and technologies, as well as promoting the adoption of codes and specifications by local government agencies.
Today, NEII is a national trade association representing the interests of corporations, firms, or companies that, as part of their regular business, manufacture elevators, escalators, or moving walks (including parts and components); or install, repair, and maintain related equipment. Trust membership is available to those corporations, firms, or companies who, as part of their regular business, employ members of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) and contribute to the benefit trusts (Trusts) established by agreements between the IUEC and NEII.
75 Years Of Industry Action
As early as the 1930s, the organization was instrumental in its negotiation of the Standard Agreement with the International Union of Elevator Contractors (IUEC) and later established the National Elevator Industry Health, Pension and Education plans.
“NEII members are incredibly proud to celebrate the 75th anniversary, reflecting on how the organization has evolved over the years and recognizing the vital role that NEII still plays in the industry,” says Ed Donoghue, managing director of NEII. “The need for an organization that focuses on safety and codes is especially necessary as the building transportation industry continues to progress with new technologies and advanced systems.”
The first meeting on record between elevator contractors took place on May 25, 1914. The outcome of the meeting was the formation of a sub-committee, which would be known as the Elevator Manufacturers’ Association (EMA), and its purpose was to prepare the first constitution and set of bylaws for the overall organization. The inaugural EMA convention was held later that year, in October, where papers were presented on several issues, amongst them “Code of Elevator Regulations,” “Patent Situation,” “Elevator Specifications” and “Standard Forms.”
In 1934, the EMA became the National Elevator Manufacturing Industry, Inc. which it remained until 1969, when it reorganized once again—becoming the current National Elevator Industry, Inc. (NEII). In 1935, the “first elevator convention” was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City (see photo).
In 2002, NEII again reorganized, forming two different membership categories: Regular Members and Trust Members. NEII Regular Members focus on code, standards, safety, communications and government affairs, whereas the Trust Committee (elected by Trust members) is responsible for administering NEII rights and obligations regarding the National Elevator Industry benefit plan and educational programs.
Over the years, NEII has found ways to improve its services to make them as efficient and beneficial as possible for its members. In 2006, NEII developed a local code regulation database, CodeFinder, available on the NEII Web site to full regular members. The NEII CodeFinder serves as an online catalog of elevator industry codes, standard,s and regulations, as well as modifications, local interpretations, and historical data.
Also in 2006, NEII was instrumental in the development of a code for new technologies with its creation of the Performance Based Code (PBC). NEII had proposed the PBC in 2002 to a joint meeting of the ASME A17 Standards and CSA B44 Technical Committee after observing challenges in the code enforcement process. The existing Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators, ASME A17.1/CSA B44, contained prescriptive language to address state-of-the art technologies. Lack of a uniform process for assessing the compliance of new technologies indicated a need for a safety code that addressed these products. To this end, the PBC serves as a comprehensive method for specifying safety requirements for new elevator technologies. The PBC was approved by the ASME A17 Standards Committee in 2006.