Adding on to the Phoenix Modular Elevator Legacy

The calendar has lost its final page and now it is 2019. As is the nature of humanity, we cannot resist the temptation to look back at 2018 and take a peak at the near future for Phoenix Modular Elevator; it was an undeniable success. Demand was way up and production continued to steadily climb. One trend that we identified was the growing market demand for taller modular elevators. As familiarity and acceptance continues to grow among architects, developers and builders, we continue to grow across the continent. The result is that hoistways that were once considered out of reach for us are now the largest requests we receive. We are certainly a far cry from where we were when we started some 20 years ago in an old shoe factory.

In that old factory, when Phoenix Modular Elevator first opened its doors, it was the best two and three stop elevator solution available to bring a building up to code for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The elevators were easily manufactured and swung into place faster than any conventional elevator could be, making the upgrade in accessibility easy and fast. Hence our slogan, “We make elevators easy!” But soon, it was discovered that new traditional construction, modular construction and large retrofit projects were a great fit as well. As a result, ever increasing floor travels became a larger part of the business.

Soon it was four to seven story buildings that were in our wheelhouse. Sure, we still produced lots of commercial-quality two-story models faster and safer than conventional elevators, but the mid-rise elevators we produced kept getting taller and taller. And that was when we knew a new home with more breathing room would be needed. In 2017, planing and construction began and by 2018, the factory was complete. We moved into  the brand new manufacturing center, still centrally located for all of North America in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Turns out, when you ship elevators from the Alaska Ice Road to Prince Edward Island, Florida to California and all points in between, being on two major interstate highways is a good idea.  

The new digs allowed for a less crowded factory floor to easily accommodate those larger hoistways; because in our world, when we say taller and taller, we really mean longer and longer, as our elevators are built horizontally. Any shaft that is over 50+ feet will mean multiple, stackable towers as our process entails building the hoistways with all the elevator components already inside. These stackable hoistways are a point of pride for us because they are always level, square and plumb to perfection due to our process and high-skilled laborers. So, when we have multi-piece elevator hoistways, the pieces are produced all lined up and connected so they are perfect every time. This meant more floor space was needed, especially when you get to four or more towers for one project.

Ultimately, due to the ever-increasing requests for seven to 22 floor elevators, we had to expand again. Fortunately, we planned for the future with a site and factory that was easily increased in size and our success permitted us to double our factory floor with an addition that will be ready by March 1, 2019. We are continuing to build and to grow but not just physically. Our capacity has also increased with additional professional staff in engineering, sales and logistics. This allows for more volume with the same customer service. We can continue to help you choose the best elevator for your application, produce drawings quickly and make sure it is shipped on time as requested.  Phoenix Modular Elevator experienced a fantastic 2018 and we are positioned to expand even more for a prosperous 2019.  


Retro Fit Testimonial

View the testimonial here!

When considering an elevator for a retro fit project the best place to start is at We have heard the stories time and time again about the elevator project slowing construction and running up costs, but they don’t have to. In the video a superintendent of a school receiving a modular solution talks about all the ways that modular helped out in a retro fit project. It also shows how the elevator was installed and why it was so crucial that the school get a much needed upgrade.

The testimonial reveals the value that modular has, the acceptance it received from architects and how easy it was for the school to have an elevator installed. This video is a must see if your building needs an elevator!!!!

There is no such thing as a dumb question.

When you are producing a truly revolutionary product, there are often misunderstandings and communication gaps about how it works and why it is the absolute best product for the market. This is especially true when your invention was produced by thinking completely outside of the box and smashing the old-fashioned way of doing things so profoundly. Let’s face it; a lot of old-timers are more comfortable grasping buggy-whips than a new concept. So, they fight by filling people’s heads with objections and downright falsehoods. Also, there is a component of not wanting to change. Instead of looking for the best solution, copy and paste comes a lot easier and bad mouthing comes quicker than honest research, so myths are built.  

The result is we get a lot of questions from people that are interested in the best elevator available for low and mid-rise applications, but they have questions that are, well, questionable because they have been so mesmerized by big elevator and modular detractors. We do have other forums we use to dispel the myths of the elevator industry. For a sample of how we have torn holes in dated premises, you can check out our two blogs, Elevator Schmelevator and Easy Up.     

But for this blog post, we will cover some of the more common myths, disinformation and honest questions we have heard over the years.   

Does your elevator sway in normal use? 

“No. Are you crazy?” springs to mind. We think this myth comes from the fact that when engineering for earthquake-prone areas, every building (which a hoistway is often classified as) has to allow for some shaking. Our units can be completely self-supporting, so for earthquakes areas, there have to be allowances just like for any other self-supporting structure. But rest assured during normal use, our elevators that are self-supporting do not shake and if they reach a certain height for travel, they are attached to the building. There is a whole lot of engineering that has gone into the hoistways and elevators we produce. They are manufactured with steel, not spaghetti noodles, and safe in every respect.    

Can your elevator be made without a pit?

This myth’s origin is easy to track down. For some, the term “modular” has the connotation to be for home, not commercial, construction, and depending on the brand of vertical conveyance, the pit depth can vary for in-home units. To contribute to the fable, our elevators have gone into some homes, but they are all commercial quality with a standard pit as required by law. So, if you have a little walking around money and want a home elevator just like you find in a commercial setting, give us a call. We will gladly produce you the fastest installing elevator, but you will need a standard four foot pit.   

How can elevator construction be safer with modular? 

You have to have the right tone for this question for it  to make sense; incredulity and disbelief is the right way to read this. You know, like you have been doing something one way your entire life and you know there is no better way. Go ahead try it again. I see you are still struggling. Try stressing and dragging out the word  “safer” and actually use air quotes with your fingers  as you speak. There – now you get the tone. Now let me run the short list of why elevator construction and the work-site is safer with modular. No lifting rails, no building an elevator car one piece at a time inside the hoistway, no open doors to fall through, no scaffolding to erect, no CMU blocks to stack, no rails for counter-weights to install, no jacks to pick up and many, many more. If worker safety were really the concern of some people, all elevators for low and mid-rise would be modular. They are that safe!            

Why is factory-built better? 

Ahh, finally an honest question. We never roll our eyes when we hear this question because it really is the main reason to get a modular elevator instead of the old way of doing things. First, understand that the big elevator companies don’t really have an elevator factory. They have a parts facilities where they gather up what they need from other companies, produce a few things themselves and then box it all up and send them to a work-site. Think of it this way. Imagine buying a car and instead of a new Ford in your driveway, the Ford dealership drops off pallets of parts to make a car and then a mercurial  technician stops by at their whim and puts the car together. You wouldn’t call it a manufactured car at all and quality would be suspect. That’s the old way of doing elevators. The right way is in a factory setting where quality is easier to manage, where consistency can be maintained, inspections take place, where the inspector can literally walk the hoistway and check rails for being level and plumb. Factory built is better.       

Do you use cheaper parts? 

Nope; another myth. It’s time to reveal a dirty little secret of the elevator industry. Ready? There are only a few companies that make each component of an elevator. From door openers to jacks, motors to sheaves, component companies are limited, and some of the big name brand companies make little more than nameplates. So all elevator parts pretty much come from the same manufacturers.  Believe it or not, we have a part or two from a major elevator company in our elevators because in that specific case, they make a good quality part. The bottom line is that when you buy modular, there is no sacrifice in quality when it comes to the parts we use. Also, all parts always meet required codes.     

A big elevator company said we needed a traction elevator for speed even though its less than ten feet of travel. Why are you recommending hydraulic?

Now we are getting to a personal bug-a-boo of mine. I hate it when people deceive to sell up. We all know what “selling up” is since McDonald’s started asking “Would you like fries with that?” The difference between McDonald’s and big elevator companies is that McDonald’s asks; they don’t act like a french fry expert and then tell people they must have golden strips of fried potato goodness due the burger code or you can only swallow your hamburger if you eat a handful of fries first. More than one person has contacted us to check if a two stop elevator with 10 feet of travel had to be traction because of speed. Really? In 10 feet, if the elevator hit its maximum speed, you would be peeling yourself off the floor. So why the up sell? Maintenance contracts. Traction elevators pull in a lot more cash each and every month. It is the same with proprietary parts. Elevators have them so elevator companies can bleed you dry in maintenance costs. Speaking of proprietary parts…   

Why are you against proprietary parts? 

After publishing several articles on this subject in our blogs, we got several questions about proprietary vs. non-proprietary. I got a little misty knowing that 3000+ blog visitors each month are actual humans and not bots just crawling our page. In any case, all proprietary parts do is turn the elevator owner into a hostage. The big elevator companies hold the tools and codes for repairs and will not release them. This ties the hands of the owner for the life of the unit. No matter what you do, you cannot get out of the deal and the elevator company can raise your maintenance costs at will and do maintenance and repair when they want. Unfortunately, not enough architects, GCs and building owners have learned about this game, so they will continue to be an unwilling partner or saddle end users with huge bills they can’t get out of. We never have and never will use proprietary parts. Proprietary parts are evil.        

 Are modular elevators approved by the government? 

Our elevators meet or exceed every jurisdictional requirement for every governmental entity across the United States or Canada. From the Alaska Ice Road to Brooklyn, NY – Los Angeles, CA to Prince Edward Island, we have met codes for both the hoistway and elevators. To accomplish this, we have certified welders on staff to meet that need and we welcome outside inspectors to our factory when required.  To top that off, we are also a big hit with the government itself. When you ride an elevator in many US bases and installations (we can’t say which ones), you will be in a Phoenix Modular Elevator including a fair number of VA Medical Centers. Yes, we are very much approved or can be approved in any jurisdiction.      

Okay, you got me. Why doesn’t everyone insist on modular? 

Ya got me, too. Everyone should. To find out pricing on a current project, just click the button below. 

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Lump of Coal for Elevator Companies! Are All Elevator Companies Equally Bad?

Are all elevator companies equally bad? This is a question posed in a forum on in the Design and Architectural Style section. For too many of the commentators in the blog, the answer is an unfortunate yes. Each respondent complained about the state of the elevator industry when it comes to repairs, but none really had the right explanation. It is true there is a bit of a shortage of elevator techs, but that is not the core issue regarding poor repairs. In other words, a technician properly trained can easily tackle most elevator problems, but what if there was something built into how we buy elevators in the first place that totally did away with any incentive to get the job done right?  Here is the first horror story from the blog that was posted by Harry_Fine. It spells out a huge issue in the elevator industry and the reason for the bad rep. It is completely accurate other than the name of the elevator company in question. I took it out because all big elevators companies are largely one in the same:   

“I live in a new downtown condo, won’t mention the name at the moment so as not to stigmatize it. It’s a small building about a dozen floors. It’s been occupied for about 18 months. The elevators are XXXXXXXXXXXX (a big elevator company that will go unnamed) and are awful in terms of reliability. Perhaps not the elevator per se, but when they break, they are down for days. Parts need to be flown in, perhaps from Germany. Our condo board tells us that only they (the big elevator company) can fix their elevators, that they don’t supply parts to third party elevator companies, they keep it all in-house to create a monopoly.

Last year shortly after the building opened, one car was down for 2 weeks. We only have 2 cars. With our new-building move-ins, life was hell.

Now a year later, since Thursday, none of the buttons on the floors work, you press the button and light goes on, you take your finger off and light goes off. So to get by they put it on automatic service opening on every floor 24/7 until it’s fixed. Usually wait is about 7 minutes. Big elevator company seems either unable to fix it or in no big hurry.

On one of the cars we’ve had the door close button not functioning. They have been in several times. Unable to fix it. It’s been broken for 6 months. 

Wondering if people here have similar experiences and have found a way not to be held hostage by these elevator companies?”

Believe it or not, Mr. Fine identified the biggest problem in the last sentence of the first paragraph. The condo board’s hands are tied. When the building was in the early planning stages, the developer of the property or owner was sold on an elevator from a big company (you know them, I won’t name them).  They got a cheap price and likely didn’t double check; they just took the lowest bid. Buried in the plethora of drawings, specs and forms was a clause stating proprietary parts were allowed, hence the reason for the cheap price. 

Just to explain, proprietary is a monopoly machine and the reason for all the pain because proprietary simply means that only one company can work on the unit because they have the special tools and codes to fix problems if they occur. There is no competition, no other company to call and most importantly, there is no way out. Like the blood oath made to a Mafia Don, once you are in, you are in. Yes, you can sue them, stamp your feet and hold your breath, but one of those strategies will have as much likelihood of helping as the other. Ultimately, if you go that route, the result will be being passed out, with flat arches and a lighter pocketbook, due to legal fees.

That is because big elevator companies have been playing the game much longer than any building owner and so they know the wiggle words and loopholes in elevator contracts better than anyone. After all, they are ones who write them. Once a general contractor, building owner or architect signs off on the proprietary units, their hooks are in for the life of the elevator, or 25+ years. That is why big elevator will forgo the up-front profit for long-term gain for them and misery for everyone else.  This is why there is no rush on providing service, no rush on getting parts flown in from wherever and no worry about keeping a unit running like it should. What are you going to do?   

To keep out of proprietary units, you have to start when the building is on the drawing board. Keep in mind that you do not have to go with units filled with proprietary parts at all! But, if you opt for non-proprietary, watch out! Big elevator companies have been known to sneak them in anyway. They understand that often the projects they are included in are significantly removed from the end user and owner of the property. Just like in the case of the condo in question, the current owners did not make the decision to go with proprietary parts and it would be practically impossible to find out who made that decision or if a decision were made at all. 

Another annoyance is that once the elevator with proprietary parts is chosen, the elevator company gets to call all the shots, especially when it comes to prices of service. Many of the service agreements they slide across the table for signature are lopsided and filled with automatic renewals and annual price increases.

And that leads to the final question of the blog: “Wondering if people here have similar experiences and have found a way not to be held hostage by these elevator companies?” The answer would more than likely be no. In some cases, fighting your way out of a contract will work. However, it literally took a court order from a federal judge to get the tools from a big elevator company in a county in Pennsylvania.  But that win is the exception, not the rule. Your best bet is to not move into a building or buy a condo or other building that contains an elevator with proprietary parts in the first place. Yes, they are that bad. Also, ask to see the repair schedules and how often the elevators are down. The person selling the premises should not hesitate in allowing you to see the records. If they refuse…move on. 

Lastly, and you knew it was coming, the sales pitch. Phoenix Modular Elevator always provides non-proprietary parts. They are always high-quality and, in most cases, the very same parts you find in any elevator. Dirty little secret…all elevator companies mostly use the very same parts. Any certified technician can fix our elevators so you can shop for prices and if a poor job is done, you won’t go begging for relief. You can fire the company and look for a better one. I know that doesn’t help the current complaint very much, but hopefully this will serve as a warning to shopped elevators for ones with non-proprietary parts at the top of the list. 

If you are in the market for a new elevator click the link below for a fast free estimate. Just some key information or approximate guesses and you can find out what a commercial quality elevator would cost.   

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Christmas Comes Earlier for PME

Chocolate Factory

Every year it seems that the Holidays and Christmas season creeps up earlier and earlier on the calendar. What used to push into November is now full bloom in mid-October. Christmas songs start making their way into the muzak mix in stores and there is more red and green decorations than florid fall flowers.  Keep in mind that I have generally been resistant to even picking up wrapping paper and Seasons Greetings cards in October and November. As a matter of fact, until recently the bulk of my Yuletide shopping was done exclusively on Christmas Eve! But this year I am admittedly part of the problem. That is because at Phoenix Modular Elevator we decided to try something different for holiday goodies that make their way to our customers every year.

We decided to give Amazon and mail order cookies a rest and buy local.

Christmas Candy

As a reluctant part of the shop early brigade I, the marketing manager, got to go on a rare excursion to the Chocolate Factory in Golconda, Illinois. Yes it is true that leadership has massive burdens and responsibilities and tasting chocolate, caramel corn and novelty candy for holiday gift boxes is just one of Herculean tasks I face. Woe as me, for the crown of decisions comes with a heavy weight on the brow of the wearer, but someone has to do it. I girded myself up for the arduous assignment. All kidding aside, before setting out on my adventure I feigned protest as it is a bit of a drive, but everyone at PME knew I couldn’t wait to try the samples and choose the gift options first hand because of where I was going. The aforementioned Chocolate Factory is an institution in Southern Illinois that has a wonderful reputation for making the tastiest treats you will find anywhere.

I was not disappointed.

Carmel Corn

As the front door swung open and I strolled in, the sweet aroma of chocolate filled the air with an intoxicating and dizzying effect. I was warmly greeted with smiles from the owner and then the marathon began. Presented before me was an assortment of every kind of confection made to perfection. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, truffles; terrapins, haystacks and butter cups; jelly filed morsels, treats filled with clusters of nuts, salted caramel, almond bark and fudge filled the table as sample upon sample was brought fresh from the kitchen and from sparkling glass cases that adorned the front of the shop. My mind was boggled.

Ultimately, I made my choices with a fair amount of help and so my first Holiday purchase every before Thanksgiving was made. To our faithful modular elevator customers, you can expect your tasty treats sometime in the first week of December with a note of thanks that reads:

“Words cannot express how much we appreciate your business, so it is only fitting that we take this time to offer just a small token of our profound thanks.

This year we have decided to send out candy from a local chocolatier instead of a big mail order company. We hope that it will represent more than just chocolate, but our commitment to a higher standard and personal service rarely found in the elevator industry. 

We wish you the happiest of holidays and look forward to a continued and growing relationship.”

If you want to personally try some samples, visit or order from our good friends at Chocolate Factory in Golconda, Illinois. A better option would be to just order an elevator for your next project. I think we will be sending out candy from the same place again next year.

To get the elevator purchase process started, click the button below and Happy Holidays from Phoenix Modular Elevator.

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Elevator Construction Unsafe


No one wants to see yellow warning tape going up at job site, so here at Phoenix Modular Elevator, we talk a lot about construction site safety, especially regarding elevators. In other words, safety is a big motivator for us, not just when the elevator is up and running, but from the time the elevator hoistway or shaft is being constructed to the final installation of the elevator itself.

Why? Because we know there is a better way. Modular elevators are simply a safer alternative that need to be embraced by everyone in the building industry so injuries and yellow warning tape can be avoided. If we have said it once, we have said it a thousand times; if you care about worker safety, build with modular.

To help punctuate this point, just this month there have been two breaking news stories concerning elevators and construction site safety.  The links are provided so you will know what we are saying is true, but believe me, there is no joy in reporting potentially avoidable accidents.

The first news story is one of the most common accidents that takes place involving elevator hoistways on a job site. The problem is with old-fashioned, out-dated construction methods. The elevator hoistway is built and then just sits there as the building is built around it. The whole time, the shaft has doors that have not been installed and are open; an accident waiting to happen. All the facts are not known as of yet, but it seems an air-conditioning and heating employee fell down the hoistway. There are safety precautions that are required to be taken to avoid the inevitable, but unfortunately, one slip can mean a fall several feet to the bottom of the elevator pit.

With safer modular elevators, the hoistway is installed with the elevator equipment already fully in place in the shaft. That means the elevator doors close off access to the hoistway before the unit is even shipped to the site and the doors remain closed and locked until the final installation by a certified elevator technician. Also, the installation takes less than a week in most cases, meaning that throughout the project, there are fewer elevator personnel around to get in the way of other trades or to leave a tool out to trip on. You can clearly see the benefits of modular construction in this video. As you can see, the doors are in place when the complete elevator arrives. Also, even though this was a retrofit project, a hole was created for the elevator the day it arrived and was covered up the very same day, resulting in significantly less risk.

Modular elevators are just safer.

The second story involved $142,270 in U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties that were dolled out to a major elevator manufacturer after the death of a worker. The worker was installing an elevator in Mount Carmel Grove City, Ohio when tragedy struck. There are two points that should be made.

First, if the news story is true, a company that had 2017 sales revenue of 41.45 billion will have to pay penalties of just over $140,000. Again, we do not know the entirety of the story but, is it just me, or does that seem like less than a slap on the wrist? I will let you draw your own conclusions but, clearly government penalties are not going to force improved safety when it comes to elevators

Second, the article indicates the “mechanic died when the elevator platform fell into the elevator pit where the mechanic was working.” This again indicates that the unsafe old-fashioned way of installing an elevator needs to be re-examined. With a modular elevator, all of the components are already in the shaft and properly and safely secured in a factory environment. There is nothing to come tumbling down on the installer’s head. Also, it means that additional costly injuries can be avoided. There is no more heavy lifting onsite. Normally a crew assembles the dozens of components such as platforms and rails one piece at a time inside a cramped and dangerous shaft and an elevator rail can weight up to 18 pounds per foot or more. Modular does away with this hazard. Back strains are reduced and heaven help you if you drop one.  Modular elevators have manufacturing processes in place that eliminate the danger.

So the question is, why do some people still insist on a process that puts people at risk for injury? We have many theories, but we do know that there is an alternative available today and each individual can determine for themselves the value of safety.

Definition and Benefits of Modular

Pleasant PrairieWhen it comes to blogging, usually you use stories or anecdotes to get your point across. It tends to stick better with the reader if they can identify with the examples given.  People tend to engage and respond more favorably if they can feel a connection. But, sometimes you have to just state the facts and tell people point by point what you are trying to say.  That is the case with this blog post. No fluff, no mother-in-law stories, no tragic tales of elevator builds gone wrong or funny anecdotes;  just the truth about modular building and why it is the fastest-growing and best way to build any project.  
Keep in mind that I am talking about modular in general and not specifically elevators. However, you will see that each point applies to modular elevators as well as all other components that make up a building. With all that said, here we go…a definition and points that clearly show why modular is the future.
First, modular construction is defined by the Modular Building Institute as, “A process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – but in about half the time.  The buildings are produced in ‘modules’ that, when put together on site, reflect the identical design intent and specifications of the most sophisticated site-built facility – without compromise.” Click here for more info. In a nutshell, modular is components that are built off-site exactly as the customer requests.  The various components or units are almost anything from bathroom pods to classrooms, kitchens to offices, and let’s not forget, elevators.
Second, here we go with the advantages of modular in no particular order – simple and straight forward:

1. Faster 

  • Reduce Your Construction Schedule
    When a project starts moving forward with traditional construction, it means when site prep is happening, not much else takes place. With modular construction, the building starts at the same time or even earlier if needed. The result is projects can be completed 30% to 50% faster than the old-fashioned way of building. While the other guys are waiting for concrete to dry, modular is working on the structures.
  • No Weather Delays
    With the bulk of the construction taking place in a factory, the weather doesn’t matter. When traditional companies are bogged down by rain or cold, we are building. This means the project is done faster and buildings are occupied sooner, creating a faster return on investment.
  • No Missing Tools or Materials
    This may seem minor, but in other businesses, it is called shrink-shoplifted or “misplaced” items that cost time and money. In the construction business, these stolen items can be expensive tools or products crucial to project completion. Somehow, with site-built construction, things grow legs and walk off. If you ever wonder why old-fashioned stick-built elevator contracts call for a lockable area, this is why. Too much stuff just disappears, causing costly time delays.

2. Reduced Costs

  • Lower Labor & Operational Costs
    Lower labor and operational costs occur simply because it is a shorter project timeline and less time at the job site.  Less time on the site reduces injuries and time off due to those injuries, liability, administrative costs and some payroll. Shorter construction time also induces lower overhead costs and provides for earlier opening of the new facilities, generating higher rate of return on the investment.
  • Standardization
    Standardization of the building process reduces costs in procurement and materials. Purchasing large lots of materials for multiple projects is possible, giving more buying power. Also, why pay for the same plans over and over again when you can easily duplicate plans for higher capitol efficiency once a design is complete? Component lists are the same in large part, so repetitive functions are reduced.
  • Less Interruption
    Off-site module construction does not interrupt or slow down other trades or site prep work. With elevators, for instance, we know when the elevator tech is on site, things tend to grind to a halt for everyone else. This is not the case with modular building.

 3. Safety Benefits

  • Reduced Risk – Fewer Hours
    Modular is safer due to reduced risks regarding in-plant operations versus site construction. There are fewer onsite OSHA exposure hours and smaller crew sizes.
  • Better Conditions
    The conditions for building are much safer in an enclosed factory rather than a job site. The factory floor is always level, and not compromised by rain or ice. Overhead cranes are used in modular building, whereas manual lifting is a common practice onsite. The factory environment allows for improving the building system to incorporate more safety.
  • Testing & Corrections
    The modular process is more conducive to testing and correction of vital components before shipping. Daily, the manufacturer of modular components is looking for safer ways of building. For instance, we rotate our elevator hoistways so there is no lifting of drywall, resulting in fewer strained backs.

4. Fewer Resource Requirements

  • Reduced Waste
    Modular production systems and factory construction conditions reduce material waste. Waste is reduced as the parts of assembly are simplified and ordered as close to used dimensions as possible. Also, when there is waste, it is easily sorted and recycled. There are no unexplained piles of debris in a factory, but these are always present at a traditional building site.
  • Greener
    There is less on-site pollution, as the bulk of construction is moved to a controlled environment. This results in less noise pollution, air pollution and dust. Building materials are protected from the elements, eliminating ruined materials due to rain or snow.  Smaller field crews also means less travel to and from the job site.
  • Smaller Building Area
    Less on-site space is required because systems are assembled in factories. Even when considering a staging area, it often smaller than a conventional construction site and occupied for a shorter time.

5. Higher Quality

  • Higher Quality Inspections
    The inspections take place indoors in a factory setting where access is easier. They take place in a closed environment where cold, snow or rain does not keep the inspector from looking at the process and building closely. Modular builders are accustomed to inspectors and they can be easily accommodated.
  • Highly trained and experienced technicians
    The workforce in a modular factory is well-trained for the job they are doing. Welders weld, drywallers drywall and carpenters drive nails. They are well-trained in the process and procedure of their unique position. Each job is more specialized than you would find with onsite construction. This leads to consistency of the product.

From the list above, it is easy to see that modular is the future of construction. If you would like to find out more about modular building or have an elevator project you would like a quote for, click the button below.

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Hurricanes Toughest Building Codes


When it comes to devastating storms in the United States, no place is more often the target of hurricanes than the Sunshine State – Florida. According to National Hurricane Center data, from just 1995 to 2017 the number of hurricanes, tropical storms and tropical depressions that have passed through some portion of Florida equals a stunning total of 42. The next closest state on the list is North Carolina with 27 and finishing third is Texas with 22.

The Florida hurricanes since 1995 includes Opal – 1995, Charley – 2004, Ivan – 2004, Jeanne – 2004, Dennis – 2005, Wilma – 2017 and now Michael a category 4 storm beating up the panhandle.

As a result of the constant barrage of traumatic storms, building codes of Florida have continually been fortified since 1998. It was in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and all the damage left behind created by the storm that compelled the state to complete and pass their very first building code in 1998. The code became effective in March of 2002 and has been tweaked many times since.

It has led Florida to being deemed as having the strictest building codes in the United States and for good reason. Due to the plethora of storms and all the damage they do, there is a very big cost to the economy that can be quite hefty. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the expected annual damage cost to the United States due to hurricanes overall is currently about $28 billion. “Florida accounts for the largest share of expected damage at 55 percent in the agency’s calculations.” That is a pretty big chunk of change in just storm damage so Florida is not messing around.

Their serious approach seems to be paying off, too. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, after Hurricane Irma ripped through the state in 2017,  because approximately 80 percent of homes in Irma’s path had been built after the State’s new and improved construction codes; destruction, and therefore costs, were significantly less. Likewise the officials learned from Hurricane Charley in 2004 that houses built after the mid-90s with the improved codes better withstood the winds.

The good news is that when it comes to elevators, Phoenix Modular Elevator understands local codes (even in Florida) and our elevators can be engineered to meet any building codes especially when it comes to wind concerns. Not only does our standard hurricane area model come with a rating that can withstand a 150 mph, but we also can upgrade modular elevators to withstand 180 mph winds. It is even possible to make them more durable if the rules ever go beyond that. The same can be said about earthquakes as well. Our elevators find homes from Florida to California, Alaska to New York.

If you would like more info or have a project in mind in an area prone to hurricanes click below.

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Off-Site Construction Expo – Perfect

OSCE2018In almost any industry,  there are a plethora of trade shows. So when you finally find one that is a great fit, you like to let others know about it. The Off-Site Construction Expo (OSCE) has been one of the best, and this opinion is not from a novice. At Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME), we attend lots of trade shows because we fit into many different categories, including the construction industry, elevator industry, modular building industry, etc. The list goes on and on because we can, and have, attended many shows for specific sub-groups such as hotel owners or building managers to name just a few. All have their pluses and minuses.

With that said, our Sales and Marketing team just got back from the Off-Site Construction Expo that took place in Berkeley, California sponsored by the Modular Building Institute, the American Institute of Architects – San Francisco and several corporate sponsors, including USG, dryvit, Wesco, Skender, Precision, ExaLeap and Mr. Shrinkwrap. The expo was perfect.

You may ask, “How can a trade-show be perfect?” That is an audacious claim, but I can back it up.

First, the location. It was not the typical cavernous, half-filled, concrete hall that echoes like the rim of the Grand Canyon, but a more intimate setting on the campus of University of California – Berkeley. The confines allowed for discussions and opportunities for long conversations outside of the hall without the usual trek to a hotel across the street. Everything was very simple, but very well done. Additionally, the northern California area was tailor-made for our business. Our solution hit the need of the region we were in perfectly. We really opened some eyes. The fast delivery and installation of a high-quality commercial elevator made the day of people so tired of fighting stick-built elevator companies.

Second, the structure. One day – need I say more? There are some trade shows that are so big or so poorly structured that the vendor area is open for days on end. We end up honing our juggling skills with stress balls between rushes or playing “Name that Tune” against other vendors using the piped in muzak (we always win). The constant checking of the wristwatch just makes the whole day pass like it is stuck in molasses on a cold day. The opposite was true at the OSCE. We were busy at every time we were supposed to be. Also, the speakers were not just hawking goods but bringing important information to the table while also taking questions. It wasn’t just preaching but in-depth, thoughtful answers. Even the mealtime was well planned out and timed. We had just enough time to get our meal, meet someone we didn’t know and break bread while talking about the industry.

Third and most important, the attendees. I have no idea what mystic arts were employed, but it seemed like every attender needed and wanted to hear about PME. The booth was busy with a steady flow and we were able to provide several quotes for new jobs and ones on the books. Too many trade shows are filled with swag hunters and fellow exhibitors looking for conversation. OSCE was filled with opportunity, as all of the booths were buzzing with activity. I have never been involved in a trade show that had so many positives. Kudos to all the folks at the Off-Site Construction Expo! They have everything down to science; the location, structure and attendees.

If you missed us at the conference but would like a cost estimate click the link below.

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NAEC Purpose for PME

NAEC FinalThe National Association of Elevator Contractors (NAEC) meets every year, this year for the 69th time in Atlantic City, New Jersey  from September 24 – 27. It is being billed as the “Largest Vertical Transportation Show in North America” and without doubt, it is just that. There will be opportunities for education, building connections in business and seeing what’s new in a huge exhibitor area. Phoenix Modular Elevator will be a very active participant; stop by booth #1846 to say hello!

For instance, on Tuesday, September 25th at 1:00 pm, PME President Allison Allgaier and Marketing Manager Russ Ward will be leading a roundtable discussion on how to become a course provider for the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The course presentations are commonly referred to as “Lunch and Learns” and have been very successful for us. We get a great opportunity to tell architects across North America about the health, safety and welfare aspects built into high-quality modular elevators during these lunchtime presentations. It is something others can do as well and we will be available for questions and answers to help you get started.

Also, in addition to exhibiting,  we get to see what is out there on the trade show floor. At PME, we are forever looking for ways to improve our elevators and how we deliver, install and maintain them. More than one idea from NAEC has turned into an improvement.

But the real purpose of our visit to Atlantic City is not for the parties and one-armed bandits, or even leading a roundtable discussion; it is meeting elevator installers that are looking for a great product to put in their line of business. See, the elevator industry through modularization is on the cusp of 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 and Safer

Faster? Think days, 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 in cramped spaces, and 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, many are still holding on to old technology that puts installers at risk.

Fortunately, many are now starting to see the benefits of less potentially harmful physical labor. 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.

For the elevator installer, the primary benefit is safety. But the speed of the install has an ancillary benefit as well. The number of elevators under lucrative maintenance contracts can be increased by the right company because you no longer have to tie up a team of elevator technicians for installations that take months on end. Instead, the fast install means more elevators can be installed in a shorter amount of time, thereby putting more elevators under maintenance agreements. In the time one team installs a single traditional elevator, you can have a half-dozen modular elevators installed.

You may not be willing to step in this new business model, but your competitors might. So, you can ignore the trends of safety of elevator technicians and the benefits of fast installation, but just remember that others are getting on board and fast. We have doubled the total number of installers selling and installing modular elevators in just a few years. They see the value and profitability.

If you attend NAEC, stop by booth #1846 and talk with us about your future and the future of the elevator industry. We would love to listen. If you are not attending NAEC and would like to be considered as an installer for Phoenix Modular Elevator, just fill out the simple form here and someone will be in contact with you shortly.

If you already have a project in mind just click below.

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