Cold Hands Means Elevator Delays

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Cold gray skies in Canada would have stopped a stick built elevator. Not true with modular.

No one wants to work in cold conditions. Turning a wrench in sub-zero temperatures isn’t really a problem on it’s own, but it is a problem when the wrench slips and you find yourself busting your knuckles. Something about cold weather makes hitting your hands feel worse than if the slip occurs on sunny, warm days. So, no one should be blamed for not wanting to work in cold weather. For the major elevator companies, working with cold hands is more than just a thing they hate, it is a thing they won’t deal with at all. In the “Job Conditions” clause of most major elevator purchase contracts you will find language that restricts elevator installation to a comfortable minimum of 55°F (13°C).

If the temperature in the hoistway or machine-room dips below that magical number, expect lunch pails and tools to be packed up and for the elevator service van to be leaving the property posthaste. For the traditional elevator company to install the elevator, you as the building owner must maintain a minimum of 55° in the work area or they simply won’t do the installation. This has lead to the common notion among GCs, owners, and investors that elevator technicians don’t watch the clock, they watch the thermometer!

Now to be completely fair, not working with cold hands is just a perk of optimal machine room operation temperatures. And as the dinosaurs of vertical transportation require movement up and down of the elevator car to do the very basic portions of the installation no heat means no installation on cold days.

As a general contractor or building owner the reason for delays is not important, it just seems that fighting the cold weather is a no win situation. Mother Nature has chosen sides and you have been left out in the cold.  This is despite demanding construction timetables that require the elevator to sometimes be installed before the heating and cooling systems are ready to go or when big gaping holes are still in exterior walls where windows and doors should be. This makes elevator installation a headache that rarely goes smoothly or on time. The pain point is real especially considering the annual average temperature for the United States (excluding Hawaii and Alaska) is 52.7°F.

However, to understand the full impact, according to NOAA and the National Centers for Environmental Information, Milwaukee, Wisconsin only has five months of the year when the average temperature is over 55°F.  The average annual temperature is only 47.7° and the average low is only above 55°F in June, July and August. Good luck getting a job done on time. This means that in many locations the building has to be heated and sealed before the elevator folks can even look in the hoistway.

But, temperature is only the tip of the iceberg as far as job conditions are concerned. There is a laundry list of conditions that would rival a pop star’s dressing room demands. Not that elevator installers wouldn’t appreciate only green M&Ms and bottled water distilled from glacier ice, but the list has more to do with the outmoded way elevators are constructed and installed. The elevator technicians themselves are not usually prima donnas, but there are several requirements that need to be met for them to get the job done due to the very nature of installing an old-fashioned, stick-built elevator. To ready the building for the elevator, in most circumstances you must provide:

  • An unloading area within 25 feet of the hoistway, always available during the entirety of the installation process (weeks and usually months).
  • A dry, enclosed and secure storage area. If you don’t have this, warranties can be null and void.
  • Power must be available before installation begins.
  • Get out your brooms, because you have to make sure that all work areas, the pit and the machine room floor are cleaned up for the installer.
  • Lighting for all the work areas is required.
  • Barricades to prevent a falling hazard must be made available and put in place.
  • Garbage cans must be constantly and readily available.
  • The hoistway has to be finished before the installer shows up with its own laundry list of bells and whistles to be attended to.

The list goes on and on and can create delay upon delay. But, what if there was a high-quality commercial elevator at a competitive price that did away with the above list, including restrictions on temperature?

A modular elevator arrives on a flatbed truck or multiple trucks depending on travel distance with the hoistway, elevator car, rails, wiring, and some roping completely done and your responsibilities are restricted to a pit and a flat slab for a modular machine room, if needed. Picture an elevator that can be put into place in a new or retrofit construction project before, during or after the building were being built, on either the inside or exterior of the structure. Then consider this elevator has a track record that includes it being placed and in use in weather extreme locales such as northern Manitoba, Canada or earthquake and hurricane zones in all sorts of buildings from elementary schools to hotels. A high-quality, commercial, modular elevator is available and can meet all the needs of every building. Eight week lead time. One week installation.

With Phoenix Modular Elevators temperatures don’t matter. They are built to exact specifications in a (temperature controlled) factory.  There is no need for hoistway barricades as the elevator arrives with the hoistway as part of the unit. Also the elevator is put into place in less than a day and the doors are already installed and locked until the unit is up and running. The bulk of the equipment comes installed, including rails and the elevator car. In most cases, everything else is packed in the hoistway, near where the final touches are to be installed, or in the modular machine room, if you need one. Lastly, modular is not restricted by design or distance of travel. Modular solves nearly every problem usually encountered by the old way of cobbling together an elevator.

If you are tired of all of the job conditions in your purchase agreement and long drawn out projects due to the elevator installation, contact us for a quick quote. We strive everyday to make elevators easy.

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All Aboard – Modular Elevators

Train in DurangoThere was a time when black, steam powered locomotives would huff and puff into the station, take on water and coal, load up with cargo and passengers and the conductor would yell, “All aboard!” It signified the train was leaving the station and if you weren’t on the train and ready to go, you would be left behind in a cloud of steam, smoke, and coal dust.  The analogy has been used countless times when writing about new innovation and being a part of a movement forward or advances in technology.  You don’t want to miss the train and be left behind.

The elevator industry is on the cusp of just such a transitional move forward and leading the way with the innovation is Phoenix Modular Elevator. We have seen exponential growth over the past few years as people become more acquainted with the company and what makes us unique to the building and elevator industries. That uniqueness, to state it plainly and simply, is due to the fact that we offer a manufactured, commercial, quality elevator that is safer and faster to install than any traditional elevator available at a comparable price. Faster? Think days (in less than a week) not months for the hoistway and elevator to be fully installed and functional. Safer? No heavy rails to to lug around, no cab to install, and, most importantly, no open hoistway hatches to fall through.

Elevator technicians have confided with us, stating that Phoenix Modular Elevator has eliminated the most dangerous and time consuming aspects of the elevator install. Manufacturing a completed hoistway, with the elevator car and rails already installed, that is pre-roped and pre-wired makes all the difference.  But not all are ready for a new age.  There was a time when innovation, especially in regards to safety, was a paramount concern, but, inexplicably, today many are still holding on to old technology that puts installers at risk.

Fortunately for the workers, many are now starting to see the benefits of less potentially harmful physical labor.  It’s no wonder we are currently partnering with a major elevator manufacturer and elevator installers across North America.  They have come to the same conclusion we have: modular elevators are just much better than old fashioned elevators for the people that have to do the installing and the speed of the installation is better for the customer.

Modular elevators are a win/win all the way around.

Yes, you can ignore the trends, safety of elevator technicians, and the benefits of fast installation, but just remember that the train is leaving the station and you can either choose to get on board or ride the old steam locomotive to the dusty museum filled with artifacts from the past. The choice is yours, but keep in mind that as we continue to expand, opportunity abounds for those willing to partake. It is time to let go of the outmoded past.

If you would like to be considered to be an installer for Phoenix Modular Elevator just fill out the simple form here and someone will be in contact with you shortly. If you don’t engage with the future of elevators, someone else will just take advantage of the opportunity.

Timeline: Actual Modular Elevator Project

Revolution MillsWhen it comes to elevators in multi-story construction projects, there is often significant and well earned moaning and groaning from general contractors as their past experiences have been fraught with problems. The elevator becomes a stumbling block due to delays for several reasons; weather, hoistway construction, availability of elevator parts, and lack of qualified elevator personnel have all contributed to a lengthy timeline for the entire project. At Phoenix Modular Elevator we shorten the process significantly, but there are still a lot of questions about the timeline and how we can make elevators easy. So, to demonstrate exactly how the process works, we are taking a typical project and following the timeline from start to finish.

The project we will be following is a typical 2 -stop elevator going into a private business and apartment complex. It is a machine roomless, holeless hydraulic elevator with fifteen feet of travel. The building owner wanted three walls with one-hour fire rating and one glass wall so the passengers could see outside to an ornate courtyard, with all stainless steel doors and entrances.

Quick Quote – February 24, 2016

The project timeline begins with the quick quote. At the time of the quick quote, we learn the particulars for the specific project and then provide a very close estimate for the actual investment. The free quick quote can be requested online through a simple form, an email with job details, or a phone call. We can provide this estimate within a couple of minutes, in most circumstances.

In this specific case, the quick quote was requested through our website and a quote was provided the same day. To clarify some aspects of the job, we placed a phone call to discuss the specifics and ensure the estimate was as close to accurate as possible. Once we forwarded the quick quote to the requesting party, we followed up to make sure they got it and see if there are any changes.

An alternative is a verbal quick quote from a phone call. If you want a quick quote immediately, we can give you a verbal figure based on a few questions. Keep in mind you do not need to know every aspect of the job to get this thumbnail of the cost. The online form is very simple. 

Formal Quote – March 10, 2016

Once the quick quote has been reviewed and found to be satisfactory, a formal quote is the next step. When a formal quote is requested, we verify important details such as the exact travel distance between floors, hoistway requirements, cab details and fixtures, controls, and machine-room information. We also provide a freight estimate and our terms and conditions.

We let you know the total price, what that includes, and the payment terms. Once we get to this step we realize we are very likely to be entering into a partnership to provide a high-quality commercial elevator.

In this case the quick quote was reviewed and a formal quote was requested on March 10. Usually, and in this case, the formal quote is ready in 24 hours. However, if there is a special need or item, it can take a day or two to get the numbers to the client. There will always be an open line of communication though, so you will not be in the dark if there is a delay.

Purchase Order – April 18, 2016

We then wait for the purchase order. Sometimes we receive the purchase order immediately, but believe it or not, sometimes we have had to wait a long time for this step and, in some circumstances, have even had to update the formal quote as they are only guaranteed for 60 days. Once the purchase order is received, the real hive of activity begins. However, we do need a couple of items with the P.O. to really get things going.

We need some cash to get started in the form of a 10% deposit. This is 10% of the total price, not including the freight estimate. If you need an invoice to pay from, let us know and we’ll send you one. Please remember the freight is not included. This can cause some headaches if you forget that down the road. The reason the freight is not included is because it fluctuates from factors well beyond our control.

Also, we will be needing, as soon as possible, a completed Project Data Sheet. We will provide this form and will help you walk through it if there’s any confusion. The Project Data Sheet gives us critical information to produce drawings for your elevator project. It also gives us the right contact info so we can set you up in our system and know who to talk to for each aspect of the project. By the way, guessing is not good enough for this step. You have heard it said to “measure twice and cut once,” that goes double for ordering an elevator. We need floor travel as accurate as possible as well as your final choice of cab style, orientation, hall call location, and door types.

Approval of Drawings – April 29, 2016

The purpose of the Project Data Sheet is to complete drawings for your elevator project. Believe it or not, if the Project Data Sheet is completed, we can have drawings done for your standard project within 24 hours. You will receive a PDF of the drawings with a marked area for your signature or your representative’s signature. The drawings need to be reviewed thoroughly as it is the last time to make sure everything is where it should be and the dimensions and floor travels are accurate to a quarter of an inch.

In our example, the drawings were completed on time and sent to the customer on April 29. They reviewed them carefully, signed and dated them, and returned them to us on May 05, 2017.  At this point we will be contacting you for a date and time for delivery because when we say eight weeks, we mean eight weeks and we do not want to produce your elevator, only for it to sit at the end of our assembly line for months on end.

If you are in a hurry (many people are), the clock starts ticking for us at this point. Delivery will be in eight weeks. This is so far out of the traditional elevator timeline that oftentimes customers will give us a false deadline because they are worried about delays. There are no delays and we do not miss delivery dates. If you have a pressing need for an even faster delivery, we can work with you and expedite if need be. Also, at this time 20% of the payment is due and you will receive an invoice. The funds should accompany the approved, signed drawings when they are returned to us so we can get started as soon as possible.

Ordering Components – June 1, 2016

We enter the information from the drawings into our system as well as information about elevator doors and other components to complete the project and we begin to place orders for steel to be delivered on time as well as any elevator parts that are needed. We do stock many components on the assembly line. Keep in mind that there are only a handful of elevator component companies that almost everyone uses for elevator parts and pieces. We only use non-proprietary components to keep maintenance costs lower and ensure that any elevator technician can service our elevators.

The process of ordering components will continue as the date for the delivery is often in flux. We know the delivery time of the items we need so we can be very efficient in our ordering process. We will consistently stay in touch with you during this time period because we know the date of delivery can be moved up or back and we can accommodate most changes.

Due to the shipping date, in this example ordering components began in June and continued through August.

Manufacturing Begins – August 31, 2016

We begin typically about 2-3 weeks after we receive drawings, but this can vary depending on the date you need the elevator. If you would like progress photos of your elevator being built, let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you. Or feel free to come out during production and see it in person! We think our process is pretty cool, and love to share it with anyone who is interested.

While we are building your elevator, you will need to be doing the elevator-related site work: having the pit poured, cutting door penetrations, and scheduling electrical, fire alarms, and phone line install. The GC may need some direction and can check our website for information.

We’ll also provide a guide with details on everything you need to do so the site is ready for the elevator when it arrives. Typically 4-5 weeks after starting, your elevator will be complete and ready to ship.  Prior to shipment, we will invoice you for 30% if we included installation in our price, or 40% if we did not include it.  This payment must be received prior to our shipping the elevator.

Shipped to Site – September 29, 2016

Our elevators are shrink wrapped in the factory and loaded directly on to a flatbed truck for delivery. We will provide you with all the information you need with links to our website to help out the elevator contractor. As usual, we will be able to answer any questions and often will send a technician to the site to answer questions in real time as the installation occurs. Here is the actual installation of this project.

You especially need to make sure the crane is ordered and everyone that needs to be is familiar with the information on our website. It contains everything you need to know to put the elevator in place. For a good overview of the installation, here is a video that you can watch.

Passed Inspection –  July 3, 2017

Believe it or not, the waiting game begins now. Our elevators can be put in place at anytime in the building process. We can be the first item placed, the last, or the middle. This means that often times our elevator will sit on site for months on end. They can handle the time with no problem. One of our elevators was set in Western Canada at the beginning of winter and sat there until the rest of the building was constructed around it; when the birds started chirping and leaves turned green, they unwrapped it and started it right up nine months later.

In the case of our 2-stop project example, the elevator was placed on time, but there was no electric available in the building. So it sat. And sat. Finally, the electric was completed and the elevator was plugged in, filled up with fluid, prepped, and fired up. It passed inspection and we finally closed the book on the project.

Conclusion

Success! The elevator was completed and shipped on time, as promised. This project is not an unusual one because each and every job is different. We provide any mode of conveyance and can engineer elevators for any distance of travel. That means each elevator is unique. Click here to see the elevator installation. 

Just like in this case, we understand that every project we do has times of rushing and times of waiting.  Rest assured we will do our absolute best to work with your schedule and help out every step of the way. After all…We make elevators easy!

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Solving Problems with Prefab Hoistways

Urban Life 2Recently, we have been producing prefab hoistways for a major elevator manufacturer in the United States. These contain no installed elevator, just the hoistway. The company we are working with sees the benefits of faster installation, the safety of the installation, flexibility in design, and higher quality that we offer as opposed to waiting around for a stick-built shaft.

It is easy to see why: having a completed hoistway craned into place means saving time and that means saving money. But having a prefab hoistway means more than just fast installation. Here is a list of reasons why every hoistway should be a prefab:

→ Perfectly plumb – Say goodbye to crooked hoistways. We build our hoistways horizontally and so we can easily and often verify that all the walls are plumb and square.

→ Custom dimensions – We can produce any size hoistway you want up to about twelve feet on one side (so it can fit under bridges) and depending on state shipping requirements. Don’t worry, we can help you figure out dimensions and the logistics.

→ Three week production – That is not a typo. The entire production time from drawing approval is three weeks. There will be no more waiting around for the old-fashioned construction methods and there are no delays due to weather! Our hoistways are factory built so rain, snow, or cold weather never stops production.

→ Installs in hours – Also not a typo. The unit or units are craned into place, simple as that. Depending on the number of towers and overall height, the total install can take place in a morning. There is no other method that puts the elevator hoistway up in less than a day.

→ Fire rated – Our towers come with a one or two hour fire rating. They can also come with no sheeting at all for glass elevators or special orders.

→ Interior or exterior – It doesn’t matter where you put it or even when you set it in the process. We can be the first structure in place at the job-site or the last and can be in the middle of the building or along an outside wall.

→ As tall as you need. We can stack towers to achieve your required travel. No matter the height, they are still perfectly plumb.

Fast and Flexible Solutions

Based on the above, there is absolutely no reason for you not to contact Phoenix Modular Elevator for your next multi-story building project. But, just in case you are still not sure, here are a few more reasons to contact us:

→ The engineering can be flexible in that it can be designed as a free-standing structure depending on overall height. These are very stable structures that have been placed in hurricane-prone and seismic zones. On the other extreme, they not only can be tied into the build structure, but can be designed to be load-bearing.

→ The elevator rails can come pre-installed. This is a matter of safety. One of the most hazardous actions completed by elevator technicians is the placement of the rails. Rails are extremely heavy, coming in at fifteen pounds per foot or more. They then have to be manhandled in a vertical shaft and then clipped to the hoistway walls that are often out of plumb. The solution is ordering a Phoenix Modular hoistway with these unruly behemoths already installed.

→ Lastly, we know elevators and elevator hoistways. We produce high-quality, commercial modular elevators and hoistways. The elevators (if you want the whole package) are comprised of a steel hoistway with the elevator car and components already installed, roped, and wired. This makes Phoenix Modular elevators the easiest and fastest installing elevators.

Our units are found all across the United States and Canada and they are used in schools, universities, hotels, stadiums, amusement parks, office buildings, government buildings, and churches. We have been building elevators since 1995.

As we continue to listen to our customers, though, we know that not everyone wants the whole elevator system, which is why we’re solving more problems with prefabricated hoistways.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us at anytime or come see us at booth #1524 at NAEC in Orlando. Kelly or Allison will look forward to answering any questions.

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When Faster isn’t Really Faster

1_thumbRecently, it was announced that the CTF Finance Center in Guangzhou, China broke records as the fastest elevator in the world to date. Believe it or not, it travels at an astounding 46.9 miles per hour straight up! Wow! An elevator in Shanghai, China (Shanghai Tower) finishes in second place with a speed of 42.8 mph and the fastest North American elevator clocks in at a paltry 22.7 mph in comparison. It is located at the Freedom Tower at 1 World Trade Center in New York. It is a bit slower but the show you get going up and down is worth it.

As it turns out, the elevator in your building is not breaking any world records, but, unless you are in the Willis Tower in Chicago or the Empire State Building in New York, you probably don’t need a three million dollar monstrosity that can hit highway speeds. Keep in mind that the world record holding building has a total of 95 elevators and only two elevators are the super fast ones and they only go from the first floor to the 95th where the world’s highest hotel resides. As a matter of fact, the CTF Finance Center has 52 medium and low speed elevators, as well as the two speed-demons.

Find out why speed is overrated. Click here. 

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A Blank Canvas – The Architect’s Dream

nypl.digitalcollections.b3afd5e1-27a1-4acf-e040-e00a180661f0.001.wArchitects often see setbacks worthy of quitting when trying to integrate the restrictions and requirements of GC’s into their artistic design.

One of history’s most important artists could have also let setbacks and failures crush him as a young painter. Giving up would have been more than understandable, as Paul Cézanne’s father saw no future in the world of art for his son and, ultimately, was instrumental in pushing his young son to study law and work in the bank he had founded instead of following his heart.

Further disappointment followed when Cézanne finally applied to enroll in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (one of the most prestigious schools) and he was rejected almost immediately. Likewise, in the various salons in Paris, time and again his work was refused. A lesser man’s dreams would have been extinguished and one could only imagine the pressure and anxiety that accompanied every stroke of the brush.  It’s no wonder he was quoted as saying, “It’s so fine and yet so terrible to stand in front of a blank canvas.”

The blank canvas to Cézanne was equally torture and pleasure, but none can dispute the energy he drew from it. It led to him being one of the most influential artists of his time. He was drawn to the blank canvas, simultaneously pushed and pursued by it.

In the “mother art” (architecture – according to Frank Lloyd Wright), architects too are drawn to the blank canvas. Read the rest of the article here!

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Innovation the Key – Jefferson the Example

Monticello 1At the recent Elevator U conference, on the last day  we had the pleasure of leaving the final session, boarding buses and, as a group, visiting the historic home of Thomas Jefferson in Monticello. The Elevator U conference is an annual gathering of elevator and facility managers from colleges and universities across the country where participants learn more about vertical transportation, innovation in the industry, and make important contacts. We cannot give a higher recommendation for attendance to this annual event.

The visit to Monticello demonstrated the forward thinking of Thomas Jefferson, but also represented the forward thinking of Elevator U. Find out how vision applies to Elevator U and the elevator industry. Click Here.

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Welcome Kelly Schloss as Sales Manager

Kelly HeadshotPhoenix Modular Elevator is pleased to announce that Kelly Schloss has joined our team as the Inside Sales Manager.  She will be managing quick quotes, formal quotes, and sales. She is ready and willing to deliver information to and assist architects, general contractors, elevator contractors, and modular builders looking for an easy, quality, vertical transportation solution. Her addition will ensure PME’s commitment to responsiveness and great customer service.

Kelly has undergone extensive training  in the world of modular elevators and is ready to field your calls, answer your questions, and deliver same-day quick quotes for any project you have in mind.  Her professional goal is to eliminate the pain points that installing an elevator can cause by delivering great customer service and a high quality product every time!

Feel to contact Kelly to welcome her to the Phoenix Modular Elevator team or to request information about placing a high-quality Phoenix Modular Elevator in your next project.

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Where Does it Hurt?

medical-563427_1920We have all been there. Sitting on a paper covered, padded vinyl table with nothing more on than a flimsy, backless gown that doesn’t fit quite right. As we awkwardly fidget back and forth, trying to get comfortable and avoid the cold spots on the table, we know there is something wrong and something that needs special attention from the doctor. We need to get rid of the pain we have been facing, but because we are stubborn, we tend to ignore the misery at first, just hoping it will go away. As the constant discomfort begins to needle us more and more, we finally have to breakdown and try to do something about it. So we arrive at the exam room and in what seems like an eternity of feeling a cold breeze blowing where it otherwise shouldn’t, the doctor finally strolls in and the first thing out of his mouth is, “Where does it hurt?”

Click here to find out about pain points.

 

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Piecing it all together

Puzzle FinalBy Russ Ward

My mother loved doing jigsaw puzzles. The more difficult the better, as far as she was concerned. These puzzles became family projects that we all worked on, especially in the winter while we were cooped up in the house on snowy days.

My mom was no novice of puzzle completion and had a strictly adhered to plan in putting them together that made a lot of sense: start with turning all of the pieces to the picture side and then find all of the corners. From there, the rest of the edge pieces were found and put into to place, making an outline of the picture. The rest of the puzzle, one piece at a time, would then follow.

Construction, especially with modular components, is its own kind of puzzle…Find out how modular can help with the puzzle of construction projects.

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