LULA Elevator

Characteristics, limitations, and when to use



LULA Elevator

What is a LULA Elevator? When and in what buildings should they be used? …and why the strange name? LULA Elevators are a basically a compact-car version of a full commercial elevator. They’re allowed by code so that small commercial buildings can provide elevator access without the requirement to provide a gurney sized elevator. On this page, we’ll go through the definition of a LULA elevator as written by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the history of LULA elevators (It’ll be pretty brief), the costs, and when one should be used. Cool? Let’s just jump into it.


LULA Elevator Definition


asme lula elevator




As stated above, a LULA elevator is allowed in commercial locations. The safety code for a is wrtten by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) A17.1, section 5.2. These elevators are provided by ASME A17.1 so that owners of small commercial properties who want (or need) to provide elevator access can do so. But they aren’t required to accommodate a gurney. This means that the LULA can fit in a smaller elevator shaft (hoistway) and work better for the actual use of the building.

Hydraulic Operation - Second Image



What does LULA stand for? It stands for Limited Use/Limited Access.

So, what does that mean? I’ll tell you?


LULA Elevator Characteristics and Limitations


They are limited by three key qualities:



Cab size cannot be more than 18 sqft. Code does not say the minimum size so we go by ADA guidelines. You’re going to be doing an 18 sqft cab. You can read more about the ADA guidelines here.


You also can’t travel more than 25′ with this elevator. Travel is defined as the measurement from finish floor of the 1st landing (the bottom) to the finish floor of the top landing. That means you can provide one in more than three standard floors of travel.

That’s not to say you couldn’t do a four stop LULA elevator with Front and Side doors. You can. But the total travel cannot exceed 25′.


 LULA Elevators cannot exceed a speed of 30 feet per minute.


Other LULA Elevator Requirements

1. You need a dedicated machine room.

2. The landing doors and car gate MUST be automatically operated. We only provide side sliding doors with these installations. The same door type you see on commercial elevators.

3. You need a phone line (of course).

4. Deeper pit and taller overhead than a Residential Elevator.


Finish Options

Besides standard finish options that we provide, we can also do stainless steel, brass, primer, or baked enamel finish for the doors and gates.

Cab walls can be anything from laminate to wood to stainless as well.

Process to add a LULA Elevator


This is the fun part. You see, most people don’t even know these elevators exist. And that includes architects, general contractors, and even building departments.

That’s where we come in. Bringing ACME Home Elevator in early, before the plans are submitted to the building department is key to a successful project.

We can help set up the plans to show the elevator with it’s correct dimensions and structural considerations. We also help account for ADA requirements. Adding this information is an extremely important first step. We cannot emphasize it more.

After the first review, if the building department is confused or has never see a LULA before, we can come in to help educate them. The Fire Marshall typically has the final say on the approval. He’ll look at the capacity of the building and the amount of stairways available for egress. Once the approval is given, it’s smooth sailing from there on out.


Types of Buildings are suited for a LULA Elevator

 Because of the constraints we discussed above, the elevators are typcially installed in any low-rise commercial buiding (something 3 standard floors high).

 Here’s where we typically see them:

  • Churches
  • Small care homes
  • Restaurants
  • Small Condominium buildings
  • Small or boutique hotels
  • Bars or pubs
  • Small Commercial buildings. This includes salons, retail stores, and offices.



You are now armed with all the knowledge that you need to get started on your project. Give us a call if you have any more questions or want to get started.