• Welcome to the new and improved Building Code Forum. We appreciate you being here and hope that you are getting the information that you need concerning all codes of the building trades. This is a free forum to the public due to the generosity of the Sawhorses, Corporate Supporters and Supporters who have upgraded their accounts. If you would like to have improved access to the forum please upgrade to Sawhorse by first logging in then clicking here: Upgrades

Sump pump pit issue


Registered User
Oct 22, 2009
Code in use IBC 2012. Okay trying to understand elevator sump pump pits.

New elevator in an existing two story school building. The elevator is only for ADA usage between floors since it is in a school. The school does have at least one accessible egress for the physically disable at each floor to the outside via EXIT doors. I point this out because the elevator is not for fire evacuation for the physically disable. The elevator will not have emergency power other than the battery to lower it to a designated floor. It will not have power for fire use if the building power is off.

The existing building does not have an automatic fire suppression system so there are not any sprinkler heads inside the elevator shaft.

The elevator’s pit is 4-ft deep below grade.

The problem;

Due to structural concerns with the new elevator shaft, which are surrounded with three existing building walls, not wanting to undermine the existing walls with the new elevator pit; the structural engineer moved the sump pump pit from where the elevator manufacturer showed it to be. The new location is now installed and not acceptable to the elevator supplier and he states the elevator inspector will not allow it where is currently located, under the fluid tank. We are using a machine room-less elevator.

Clarification; the existing three walls distance apart only required the elevator’s door wall to be abutting the existing building’s wall. The other two walls were a short distance away from the pit’s excavation. The elevator vendor wanted the pit at the corner where the elevator’s door front wall was abutting the existing wall.

Since the elevator is not for emergency use and does not contain a sprinkler head, why does the sump pit pump have to be sized as if there was a sprinkler head in the shaft? I can understand the possible groundwater intrusion but the pit does have a waterproofing membrane around the outside of the foundation walls and under the footing. Do we even need a sump pump pit by any code?

north star

Oct 19, 2009
@ @ +


Was the design & installation of this elevator and associated pit,
approved at the location under the elevator [ i.e. - before the
SE moved its location ], and by the AHJ ?

+ @ @


Oct 17, 2009
Big Sky Country
Near as I know, no "code" requires the pit....

IPC 1003.4
1003.4 Oil separators required.
At repair garages, car-washing facilities, at factories where oily and flammable liquid wastes are produced and in hydraulic elevator pits, separators shall be installed into which all oil-bearing, grease-bearing or flammable wastes shall be discharged before emptying into the building drainage system or other point of disposal.

Exception: An oil separator is not required in hydraulic elevator pits where an approved alarm system is installed.


Sep 21, 2015
Las Vegas
The IPC does not require a sump or a drain in the bottom of ANY elevator shaft......(But go see ASME A17.1 Elevator Code as referenced by the IBC)

If there if is a sump or drain at the bottom of a hydraulic elevator shaft, then IPC Section 1003.4 requires that the discharge from that sump or drain must go to a oil separator before the discharge goes elsewhere.(such as the building drainage system.)

The exception says you don't need the oil separator where there is an approved alarm system installed. Now exactly what type of alarm system could be an approved alarm system is open for debate....presumably, the plumbing code official recognizes that not discharging oil to the drainage system is important so the only "type" of alarm system that should be allowed is one that stops pumping when oil is sensed and turns on an alarm to indicate that the pump has stopped.

NOW, getting back to the original question. The elevator inspector is trying to enforce ASME A17.1 (for ALL types of elevators). Typical they want to be able to see the sump or drain so that at the yearly inspections can verify that the drain is clear/the pump is working (lift the float.) Unless A17.1 has provisions for leaving out the drain/sump with pump, you will have a hard time getting around the requirement. Even though there is not a sprinkler and everything is water tight, manual fire fighting activities, a leaking water heater or a broken water pipe could flood the bottom of the shaft. And even though the elevator is not for fire fighter use/means of evacuation, the elevator inspector wants to any liquid accumulation from occurring in the bottom of the shaft to prevent the possibility of damage (corrosion). Remember that a "flood" could occur and no one would be the wiser that water was in the bottom of the elevator shaft......possibly for months...causing corrosion and sweating of elevator components....until the yearly inspection occurs.

IPC Section 1003.4 has nothing to do with answering the initial post.....sorry.