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New York CAT1, CAT3 & CAT5 Witness Testing

When it comes to testing for elevator code adherence in New York City, impartiality is a key part of ensuring equipment is functioning properly and works safely for all users.


According to the Department of Buildings (DOB) and NYC Maintenance of Buildings Codes, any elevator or escalator located within the city’s five boroughs must be inspected and tested twice a year. Contracted inspection agencies conduct these inspections on behalf of the DOB. Inspections are usually unannounced.

Category Testing is a further means to ensure safer and more reliable performance of equipment. Vertical Systems Analysis is an approved by DOB Elevator Consulting Company that can provide Witness Testing.


The NYC Department of Buildings Guide to Elevators describes the different category tests as follows:

Category 1 (CAT1)

No load safety test performed between January 1st and December 31st each year

Category 3 (CAT3)

Performed on water hydraulic elevators only every three years from date of installation

Category 5 (CAT5)


Performed with rated load and speed every five years from date of installation

Under New York law, building owners and managers have the responsibility of hiring competent and, more importantly, licensed and approved elevator inspectors to perform annual elevator and escalator tests.


In addition, they bear the responsibility to obtain the services of an impartial, unaffiliated third-party agency (typically an elevator consultant) to provide witnessing of the inspection. This part of the process is called Category Test Witnessing.

Category Test Witnessing (or sometimes just Test Witnessing), is an additional service in the testing process, employing the use of third-party agencies to witness the category testing performed by elevator inspectors.

Per the NYC Department of Buildings, only third-party agencies that are licensed by them are permitted to witness annual safety tests.

Aside from Elevator Test Witnessing Being Legally Mandated, What Are the Major


Benefits to You?

Test witnessing helps you best comply with federal, state and local jurisdictions

New and more rigorous annual elevator inspections attended by independent witnesses are detecting about 50 percent more violations in New York City.

Test witnessing helps you satisfy requirements of insurance carriers and protects your assets


As a building owner or manager, you bear the responsibility under the law for hiring a competent and approved elevator inspection agency to perform elevator and escalator tests. By hiring an unaffiliated third-party agency to witness the inspection, you provide yourself with the extra assurance that you have met the requirements of the law, resulting in your insurance not becoming nullified by negligence.

Test witnessing can minimize your liability by ensuring the safety of elevator and escalator users


When performing an annual test, we subject Elevators and escalators to extreme conditions not typically encountered under normal operation. We do this to bring out any possible adverse situation that can cause the verticals to fail. Acting proactively in this manner helps us spot small issues before they become large ones, keeping all users safe.



Why Choose Vertical Systems Analysis (VSA)

VSA is a state licensed third party agency that can perform test witnessing of your vertical devices. As your third-party witness, it is our goal to ensure that your elevators and escalators are performing to code and that the testing work carried out meets the legal mandates required by New York.

With our extensive support staff, we can also complete your third-party code inspections, processing, and filing fees for you.

To find out more about the role Vertical Systems Analysis can play in CAT1, CAT3 & CAT5 test witnessing, please contact our licensed and fully qualified technicians and engineers.

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