Category Archives: Contractors

Modular Elevator – General Contractor Info

Like any elevator in a construction job, whether it is modular, traditional, new construction or retrofit, the general contractor (GC) has very specific responsibilities that need to be addressed. But sometimes, the lines can be blurred or confused as to what the GC must do when it comes to modular elevators. We are hoping this will answer many of those questions. After all, the GC is one of the most important people on the job site, so a clear understanding of what is needed before the elevator arrives all the way through to the end is crucial.

One thing that any GC will find is that a modular elevator is a very easy and fast solution, and once they have one under their belt, they often ask why they haven’t done one before. Yes, they are that easy! To assist, this video of an installation may be helpful. Also all of this and more can be found on our website. We not only want this to be a great experience, but one GC’s will refer to others!

So what are the challenges and differences faced when adding a modular elevator? Here is a great list:

  • The pit is more than a concrete box that is usually poured for an elevator. It must be the proper dimensions you will find in the supplied drawings. Check and double check the elevation and the depth. No one wants to pour a new pit once the elevator arrives. Here is a great link with all you need to know.
  • The location of the anchor bolts in the bottom of the pit is crucial and probably the most common mistake. The anchor bolts may vary in size, but as an example, the most common anchor bolts used are 1-1/4″ and they go into a 1-1/2″ hole in the base plate. There is not a lot of room for error, so accuracy is a must. To help, we have a template available. If you are not sure they are exactly right after they are cast in place, take measurements and contact us, as we may be able to make adjustments to the base plates in the factory.
  • When dealing with electrical to the machine room, always consult the submittals. Generally we need four stub-ups; one for 3-phase 208-480 with a dedicated circuit, and three others with 120 volts on their own circuit as well.
  • Door penetrations are the holes where the elevator is going to stop inside the building. Make sure they are opened up before the elevator arrives. Your project may skip this step if the elevator is not a retrofit or if it is set first at the job site.
  • How much leeway do you need if the modular unit is going into an interior space? The rule of thumb is 3″ all the way around. There are door frames that have to make it through any opening and those jut out approximately 1 1/2″ from the hoistway. Just as important, remember to make sure nothing is over-hanging in the pit area before the elevator arrives.
  • Scheduling the crane is also in the GC’s scope. Here is the info they will need to schedule the right one.
  • Finishing the exterior of the hoistway. The standard Phoenix Modular Elevator hoistway is covered in a fiberglass/gypsum wallboard, which can be covered in any material and butted up to the building. You can also request, at the time of the order, standard non-fiberglass wallboard. This can be helpful for jobs where the hoistway will be interior.
  • Interior finishing is done by filling the gaps with drywall and taping and mudding like normal. They can then be painted, wall papered, or have any other covering attached.
  • Bridging the gap between the hoistway and the building is also important. In most applications, the gap will be small and can be bridged easily with carpet or tile, or we offer aluminum treadplate for the thresholds. Here is a web page that can help you understand what you will be dealing with.

Believe it or not, there are a few things we do not provide and are not in our scope. Know that the GC will need to coordinate with subs to get these things done. Here is a good list, but if you have any questions at all please contact us:

  • The floor of the elevator car: We do not provide carpet, tile or other covering and do not install it in the factory. 
  • Fire/Life/Safety – Sprinklers if required or desired are totally up to you.
  • Coordination of various trades: It is up to the GC to schedule electricians, carpentry, construction, concrete work, fire/life/safety, building inspectors or plumbers (sump pump). The elevator technician and GC will coordinate once the elevator is onsite, especially when it comes time for inspection.
  • Structural Connections – We can give advice and assistance, but we do not make the tie-ins.
  • Emergency Egress Phones – These are the phones located at landings (not in the elevator cars) in some cases and are not allowed to be in the elevator hoistway.
  • Sump Pumps – If requested we can provide a receptacle and wiring, but the pump is not in our scope.

While the list above might seem long, in reality, it is much easier than traditional elevators because the elevator is already installed and the hoistway comes wrapped in drywall. The elevator technician should have his end of the job wrapped up in a week if the elevator is hydraulic, so they won’t be in the way or making additional demands. These are many of the same actions, other than the crane, for any elevator.

Built in One Piece for Quality

One of the most common questions we get at Phoenix Modular Elevator is, “How high can you go?” The assumption is that modular elevators have limits; maybe two or three stops at the most. The answer, however, may surprise you. Currently, we have a project that has a total 15 floors and there are more mid-rise projects in the production pipeline.

But there are some limits to be considered, and that would be the total length of our production floor in our factory. Currently, that equates to a lot of elevator; we can produce a pre-installed elevator in a hoistway over 450 feet long or tall, depending on your perspective. This is because due to ever-increasing demand for mid-rise elevators, our factory floor was recently doubled in length.

It depends on your perspective because we build our hoistways horizontally and then pre-install all of the elevator equipment while it remains horizontal. When finished, it is even trucked horizontally in 50-55 foot sections to the job site and is finally vertical when craned into place and ready for a technician to set it up.

So I am sure you are wondering, if it is delivered in sections or towers, why does the total length of the factory floor make a difference?

The answer is, we pride ourselves on our quality. The hoistway and rails are always perfectly plumb, perfectly square and perfectly level in every job we complete, even when the job calls for four towers or more, and that helps ensure quality is strictly adhered to.

The only way to ensure perfection is to build the hoistway together in one long piece with the sections pinned and bolted together until the elevator is ready to be shipped. Once the elevator car, wiring and assembly is complete, we simply unbolt the sections, shrink wrap them individually and load them one at a time on the trucks. They are then shipped as you need them or all at one time, depending on your construction schedule.

When they arrive at the site, the first section goes into the pit and is properly set. Then, the subsequent towers are lowered into place and bolted together. They fit hand in glove because they were built that way, all connected.

So why does this matter? Because ultimately, a smooth-riding elevator needs to have perfection. The rails need to be in alignment, with no rough joints or bumps. I am sure you have been in an elevator that rattles, shakes or shimmies. Instead of a nice quiet cab ride, it sounds more like a freight train hitting a bump on the tracks. That is usually because the rails were not placed properly or they have slipped in the clips that hold them in place. You will never have a problem like that with our modular elevators because they are carefully put into place and welded in the factory. Perfect every time can mean a better ride over the life of the elevator.

So how high can we go? Almost any height with unsurpassed quality.

Labor Crunch – Modular Solution

The labor market is getting tighter and tighter, especially with a 3.9% unemployment rate, and actual jobs are now more plentiful than those seeking them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau is an arm of the United States Department of Labor and they track and report all things labor in the US. According to the official statistics, simply put, we have more job openings than people to fill them. This labor crunch is clearly evidenced by the most recent numbers of people filing for unemployment. It is the lowest rate since 1969 and many say it is due to employers holding on to employees because they fear not being able to find replacements. This trend is also demonstrated in a recent phone call we received at Phoenix Modular Elevator.

The phone call was from a manager of a regional elevator company that has new installations as a large part of their book of business. For the first time ever, he called us to get details on our modular solution that he had seen at a recent trade show. But strangely, it was not due to our fast installations (less than a week with standard hydraulic models), nor was it due to the price, which is usually very competitive. It was due to the fact that he was having significant difficulties in filling elevator technician positions with qualified employees in his company. That was leading to the unusual problem of people wanting elevators, the company wanting to provide them, but having no way to get them installed in any reasonable time.

As the manager started looking for solutions, he remembered us and modular quickly became the best way to provide elevators to a customer base that needed them.

But his questions were not all about installing more elevators faster. He dug deep during our conversation about quality and safety. He was not going to install anything that was substandard or less safe than what he could provide through traditional, old-fashioned elevator installation. To his surprise, he found that our high-quality commercial elevators have parts that are from solid, tried and true elevator supply companies and are always non-proprietary. This means that his crews could trust our product and get them up and running with little problem because everything from door openers (that come pre-installed) to controllers were from companies they were familiar with and liked to work with.

He also loved the fact that a modular machine room was available that comes largely finished with a tank, pump and motor already installed and ready to go once power is available. It seemed too good to be true, so he began to question safety.

Over the years, he had seen plenty of good elevator technicians forced to leave the business due to injuries usually associated with lugging around heavy rails and being forced into tight working conditions in very cramped elevator hoistways. Anyone in the elevator business can tell you it is not very kind to the back, and Tylenol is often gobbled up more often than M&M’s. He was extremely relieved to find a company that cares enough about elevator technicians to do most of the heavy lifting for them. No more rails to be installed in a vertical shaft and the car is assembled separately from the hoistway and inserted with all the wiring before it is shipped.

With all of these huge benefits, not only was he instantly sold, but he wanted to start selling them himself. We were able to provide the perfect solution to the problem of lack of qualified labor, and he found a quality solution that was not only faster to install, but safer for his employees.

If you want to become a qualified installer of Phoenix Modular Elevators, just go to this website and answer a few questions. We want to help you make elevators easy! If you have a project in mind, click the button below.

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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. Find out how modular makes elevator construction safer. 

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. Get the straight story on modular here!! 
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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Tough Love – Time for Elevator Biz to Grow Up

Button PushWe all have that moment when we need to hear the truth: to ignore it means growth will cease and improvements halt.  When it comes to elevators, that time for truth is now and so we need to dish out some tough love. Often times we associate “tough love” with teen angst and pimply, overwrought middle-school students, but as it applies to our industry as well as the elevator business, it is at a crossroad. As an industry, vertical transportation sits astride two differing paths and it is time for a sober conversation, not hyperbole and not blind to truth.

That crossroad is between the old fashioned stick-built method of elevators or the more modern modular elevators and whether modular ultimately makes sense for all low to mid-rise elevator applications. Should modular elevators be the first choice? Get the answer here!

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Hoistway Only Packages

FIrst Shipping outTime is always the nemesis of the construction industry.  Everything done at the job site is measured in minutes, not hours, and squeezing even a small amount of time out of a project can make a big difference.

The problem is that, often, cutting time off the completion of the project can only be accomplished at the cost of quality. As the old saying goes, “I can do things good, fast, or cheap. Pick two.”  Click here to find out how Phoenix Modular Elevator hoistways can accomplish all three.  Or get a quick quote below.

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Weather Halts Construction – But Not Modular

20160105_143405We rarely re-post stuff from our other blog  Elevator Schmelevator however it seems like great info for this blog as well. Enjoy!

We have all seen the headlines: The winter weather this year, and nearly every year, puts a damper on the construction industry and new elevator installation. Work vehicles get stuck in the snow, batteries are drained dead in equipment, and materials often have a negative reaction to sub-zero temperatures. If you are having a new stick built elevator installed, it is important to know about these delays.

Modular elevators are the solution to the weather problems. Click here for the article! 

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New Year, New Growth for PME

Move to Finish 4In this past year, Phoenix Modular Elevator has made tremendous strides forward in its effort to provide an alternative to stick built elevators that is also faster and easier to install. We have moved to a brand new facility that has improved our quality and speed, with elevators flying through our production process.

We have also added more team members that do everything from welding and drywall to improving the manufacturing process. As a result, we remain the fastest installing commercial, quality elevator available, with the shortest lead time (eight weeks if it’s standard). Due to our unique design of the hoistway and elevator components all in one, there is no better way to have a quality elevator installed in any construction project.

Find out about our growth and future! 

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Pour the Perfect Modular Pit Easily

Anchor Bolts Level NutsOne of the biggest concerns that customers have is regarding the pit. Every elevator needs one, including your new modular elevator. You want to make sure you do everything right for when the elevator arrives, and this article will give you some tips to make it easy. By taking some time now, you can avoid issues and problems down the road.

On the surface, it seems easy enough.  Dig and pour a concrete pit for the hoistway, with cast-in-place anchor bolts in the corners. But, when you mix in the need to engineer the pit foundation and add reinforcements based on the elevator’s pit reactions, all the while accounting for the job site’s soil conditions and your local code requirements, it can seem more daunting. Keep in mind though, we supply the necessary information, plans, and even a template (if requested) to help out. Click here for a step-by-step guide and the rest of the article. 

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