Inspections Required for Elevators and Escalators

There are approximately 71,000 vertical transport devices throughout the five boroughs. This can include elevators, freight elevators, escalators, wheelchair lifts, and dumbwaiters. These devices must be inspected in order to ensure they are safe enough for use. Contracted inspection agencies perform annual inspections, on behalf of the Department of Buildings (DOB).

There are three different categories of tests for these devices. Inspections must be filed with the DOB within 60 days of the test.

Category 1 Test (Cat-1):

All elevator and vertical transport devices must undergo an annual inspection. Property managers and building owners are required to hire an approved elevator inspection agency to execute the inspection. In addition to hiring the first agency, the owners and managers must also hire a third party approved agency unaffiliated with the first to witness the test.

This test is test is

  • Performed between January 1st and December 1st annually.
  • Buildings with one to two residential units have a late filing fee of $50 per month per elevator, and a $1,000.00 fine for failure to file per elevator.
  • All other buildings are fined $150.00 per month per elevator, and a $3,000 fine for failure to file per elevator.

Category 3 Test (Cat-3):

  • Water hydraulic elevators must be tested every three years from the installation date.
  • For every month the application is late, there is a $250 fee per elevator and a $5,000 fine for failure to file per elevator.

Category 5 Test (Cat-5):

  • Must be undergone every five years, by the end of the last month it was performed
  • Requires a full load inspection
  • The speed is tested
  • Can be performed at the same time as the Category 1 Test

You can submit all applications to the DOB at 280 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

  1. It’s fantastic to learn that water hydraulic elevators have to be inspected every three years. My wife and I are getting a new house with an elevator soon and we were wondering how to make sure that it stays working correctly. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should get the elevator inspected every three years.


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