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.