Tag Archives: Elevator Installation

No Elevator Installation Needed

The easiest way to avoid elevator installation in a multi-story building is to not have an elevator. That was the old way of thinking. Now you can have an elevator with no installation at all through modular elevators.

Imagine an elevator with no installation just start up? We can do it at Phoenix Modular Elevator.

This modular way of building is becoming more and more popular because it is faster and safer than traditional elevator installation, largely due to the fact that the installation of the elevator is completed in a factory, under factory controls with significantly more efficiency. But before you pop the champagne corks over no more elevator installations, let’s be clear about what we are talking about.

There are two distinct steps of getting any elevator installed and running in a building; the installation of the components and then starting up the elevator. In the traditional stick- built elevator, the hoistway is constructed and then sits until power is turned on in the building. Then, an elevator technician comes in and, one piece at a time, installs the entire elevator in the enclosed hoistway. This is time consuming and dangerous. Falls through open hoistway openings, lugging around heavy rails and building an elevator car in a cramped hoistway are just the tip of the hazardous iceberg for this outmoded type of construction. Once the elevator car and a set of rails is installed with all the wiring, the elevator contractor gets the elevator running, makes adjustments,, etc.

Why we are different.

With modular elevators, we take a large part of the installation inside a factory. First, we build a fire-rated and building code-compliant elevator hoistway, regardless of seismic or hurricane zone. Then comes the installation of all of the elevator components inside the hoistway in the controlled environment of a factory. This means the high-quality elevator arrives on a truck, ready to be hoisted into place with the rails and cars already installed and perfectly aligned every time. The doors are already hung and all of the hall calls, buttons and wiring are complete. The cab is finished in any style and pre-installed, other than the flooring. In a hydraulic elevator, the jacks are even in place when the travel distance works out for an above-ground option. When travel distance is higher than allowable for above-ground jacks, the in-ground jack arrives at the time of the placement and the elevator is completely ready to receive the jack. In a Phoenix Modular Elevator – traction model, the elevator is partially pre-roped, saving time and effort as well.

So, there is much less installation once the elevator is on site because the components are already in place inside the hoistway. The elevator is already literally pre-installed.

That does not mean there’s nothing to do.

First, when the elevator arrives on site, the building (hoistway with elevator components) has to be leveled and plumbed when put into place. As I am typing this, I can feel your blood pressure starting to rise. Deep breath. Relax. Phoenix Modular Elevator has a placement team that goes out with every job and will be there to make sure everything has arrived as promised and will take charge to make sure the hoistway is placed on the pre-set anchor bolts. We will bolt it down, making it ready for the startup. If an in-ground jack is part of the plan, we will work with the elevator technician of your choice or one we have agreed on to put the jack in the ground. Simple. If it is a traction model, all of the roping is already contained in the hoistway. We will make sure they are put into place with the elevator technician.


The startup is where the elevator technician really gets going because there are some things that have to be done for the elevator to be started up (not installed). The technician or mechanic will make sure that the following is completed:

  • Run the wiring to the controller. They are already run to the rest of the elevator.
  • Make sure the jacks are plumb and grouted in place.
  • Add hydraulic oil.
  • Remove all shipping brackets other than those under the elevator car.
  • Turn the elevator on and move the car up.
  • Check for leaks.
  • Take off the shipping brackets under the elevator car.
  • Lower the car and check for leaks.
  • Replace packing.
  • Adjust the elevator to proper floor levels.

That is the basic procedure for a modular hydraulic elevator, but here is a video to assist you with more details.

For a traction elevator, the process is largely the same other than taking the elevator ropes that are in the hoistway and running those as needed. Once they are run properly, the start up should be like any other elevator.

Lastly, the elevator technician will make sure the inspection is scheduled and fulfill the punch list items.

In the next blog, post we will run through what the general contractor or building owner should expect when the modular elevator arrives on site.

People Get Hurt – Keep Up With Elevator Technology

Disappointingly, Luddites often rule the day. People want to protect their pocketbooks and themselves, so they reject any technology that is a perceived threat, even if not a true threat. This is despite technology being available that can make life better for almost all people in the community and even for themselves. That is exactly where Boston is in the world of elevators, and it is inconveniencing and even possibly hurting some of its citizens. In a recent boston.com article, it detailed the compelling story of Erin Murphy. Recently she had to fight torrential rain and exhaustion in her wheelchair because the elevator on the platform she needed to use for public transportation was closed. Not only that, the elevator in question has been shutdown since April….of 2018! And even more astounding, the new elevator will not be completed until 2020, and that date is a guesstimate!

The alternatives for Murphy seem limited and all of them would cost her more time, money and worry about getting to where she needs to be on time. But, the alternatives for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) are not as limited because with technology, such as modular construction, there is no reason why replacing an old elevator should take longer than a few weeks, not years.

As a matter of fact, a Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) was installed in a Boston school just a few years ago in less than eight weeks from the time of the order. The project literally went from drawings to actually being approved for use that quickly. PME prides itself on faster, safer and higher quality. So when we read about a person being so burdened by lack of access, it kind of makes our blood boil. There is no reason in this day and age for people to be so inconvenienced for so long.

But currently in the Bay State, there is active opposition to a different and better way to vertically move people from one floor to another. Despite the fact that modular would free up more time for elevator mechanics to make sure that current elevators are up and running, they still are vehemently opposed to a better way.

Utilizing modular elevators would allow for faster installation and set up of commercial-quality elevators in retrofit or new construction applications. They can even come with modular machine rooms to make the startup even faster. Their unfounded fear is that better technology will keep people from working as modular elevators go in so much faster and easier than stick-built. But, in actuality, the improved technology would free up more man-hours for service and upkeep, something that is sorely needed in Boston. Just check out this report from CBS Boston about the current state of the elevator industry that sports a backlog of 4,500 elevators operating without a valid license. Apparently, the state can’t keep up and neither can those tasked with fixing what the inspectors find.

Think about that next time you step into an elevator in Boston.

This backlog is a long-standing problem. For years, the state has been having trouble keeping up and it is no wonder with so many mechanics installing new elevators, as this leads to less time maintaining existing ones. It is shocking that only a handful of people opposing a faster installing elevator system can control the mobility and safety of everyone in the state, especially considering they could help correct the problem. Unfortunately, they refuse to even consider different alternatives as an option.

So who are they protecting by their backward views? Really, the answer is no one. Right now and in the foreseeable future, everyone the elevator business is extremely busy and business is booming. Also, the modular alternative such as Phoenix Modular Elevator is safer for the very people that those opposing them intend to help, elevator mechanics.

Modular elevators are built in a factory setting and use machinery to do all of the traditional heavy lifting. No more backbreaking rails to lug, motors to hoist or cabs to build in extremely cramped quarters. That means elevator mechanics are injured less and can then do the tasks beyond the grunt work to keep people safe. But, those opposed to modular elevators don’t seem to care about the working conditions of elevator mechanics that get strained backs, pulled muscles or worse. There are also no open hoistway hatches or doors for mechanics or other construction workers to fall through. Modular makes the entire jobsite safer and just makes sense.

Lastly, Massachusetts is the only state that has outright rejected this technology. Early on, they were accepting and we have several units already installed in the state, but the Luddites prevailed, at least for the time being. They are unlike the rest of the United States and Canada where you can find modular elevators from New York City to Los Angeles, British Columbia to Florida. We have great union and non-union elevator contractors that install our modular elevators everyday and we are looking to add more…even in Boston.

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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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.

See the future of elevators here. 

Snake Bit – Fear and the Elevator Business

curie_lab_photoby Russ Ward

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie

Fear is one of the most powerful emotions, as it can create anxiety, foster poor decision making and even immobilize the victim. I, for instance, suffer from ophidiophobia, or fear of snakes. It really is beyond just being scared of them or a simple dislike. It is a deep hatred, and when it comes to snakes, my judgement is indeed clouded.  For instance, I live in a rural area and so you hear tall tales of the scaly creatures ending up in everything, including toilets and car dashboards. When my mind drifts, it tends to drift towards a myriad of “What if’s?” What if a snake gets in the bathroom? What if a snake is in my car? What if I see one in my yard? This has led me to keep a garden hoe within arms reach of my front door, just in case.  I check my car thoroughly each morning before hopping in, and I tend to hover more than relax, if you know what I mean. Click to find out how fear can lead to bad decisions.

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Phoenix Modular Ground Breaking Announced

New Facility 1

Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) is set to break ground on their new production facility in Mt. Vernon, Illinois on August 24, 2016 at 11:30AM.  Phoenix Modular Elevator and dignitaries representing the city, Jefferson County Development Corporation and Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to officially begin the project. This means that the first tenant of the new industrial park is ready to begin construction.

The new 25,000 square foot manufacturing plant and ground breaking will be located in Mt. Vernon, south of Highway 15 and west of Interstate 64, at the end of a temporary road that has been constructed for the project off of Davidson Avenue to the west.

Phoenix Modular Elevator has outgrown their current location in an old shoe factory. The new manufacturing site will increase productivity and efficiency by being larger and keeping all of the production on one level. In the current location, manufacturing is in several separate areas and on two different floors. The new larger location and design of the plant will allow the assembly and manufacturing area to be more organized and to flow more smoothly.

PME is an elevator manufacturer that produces high-quality, commercial modular elevators. A modular elevator is comprised of a steel hoistway with the elevator car and components completely pre-wired and installed inside. They are manufactured horizontally, trucked to jobsites, craned into place and installed in less than a week. This makes PME elevators the fastest installing elevator available. The units are found across the United States and Canada and used in schools, medical facilities, universities, hotels, stadiums, amusement parks, office buildings, government buildings and churches. Phoenix Modular Elevator has been constructing modular elevators since 1995.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
To get an elevator start here with a quick quote!

Phoenix Modular Elevator Certified as a Woman Business Enterprise

Allison Allgaier
Allison Allgaier – Owner

January 13, 2016/Mount Vernon, IL – Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) has now been certified as a business owned and operated by a woman by the National Women Business Owners Corporation. The purpose of the certification program is to increase the ability of PME to compete for more contracts on a national level.  The certification also means that PME is now an eligible Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) for the WOSB Program through the Small Business Administration.

Due to the approval Phoenix will now get consideration in government building projects and building projects for private enterprises that seek out women owned businesses as contractors and subcontractors.

“This certification will provide PME with additional opportunities regarding potential customers and contracts in both the private sector and the government sector. That is what we find most important about the certification. It will help ensure continued growth for the business.” Says Allison Allgaier, PME President.

Phoenix Modular Elevator produces high quality, commercial elevators that are comprised of a steel hoistway with the elevator car and components installed inside and completely prewired. This makes Phoenix Modular Elevators the fastest installing elevators available.

The units are factory built and shipped across the United States and Canada for use in schools, universities, hotels, stadiums, amusement parks, office buildings, government buildings and churches. Phoenix Modular Elevator is a Mount Vernon, Illinois business and has been constructing modular elevators since 1995, with hundreds installed throughout North America.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
To get an elevator start here with a quick quote!

The Challenge – A Glass Elevator

When Clarence Bergen of Urban Life Pools and Hot Tubs had a vision for a new facility in Steinbach Manitoba, it included a glass elevator that would be in the center of the showroom. To accomplish that dream he began where most people in the market for an elevator would, by calling big elevator companies. Unfortunately his experience, like so many others, consisted of leaving messages, not getting returned phone calls and leaving his questions unanswered.

Bergen said, “I was getting nowhere and wasting time. I could tell by their attitude that they didn’t have time for me or my project.”

He then called Phoenix Modular Elevator (PME) in Illinois and with their help he began to start piecing together the project that he had in mind. First, the elevator would be in the center of the building and needed to be self-supporting. Second, it had to be cost effective. Dreams don’t have a price tag, but the $200,000 number being kicked around by big elevator companies was a bit much even for a dream. Lastly, he wanted a glass elevator to match the design of the rest of the building.

He knew right away that PME was different. They answered the phone every time, and they were friendly, professional and responsive. They were willing to discuss the project Clarence had in mind and how they could work together to make the dream a reality. Freestanding structure? Check. Phoenix Modular Elevators are designed to be self-supporting. Cost effective? Check. The outlandish $200,000 price tag to seem like an amount big elevator companies used to discourage his plans. PME’s numbers worked much better. Glass elevator? Check. It was not only doable but, PME worked with Clarence to meet all of his unique specs for the job.

It may seem odd that an Illinois company would be providing Canadians with elevators, however the unique approach used to build and install them, makes PME elevators a perfect match for any project. Whether they are specialized glass elevators or not, PME elevators begin with heavy 4X4 inch, tube steel columns and beams that make up the frame.

The elevator is constructed horizontally with greater quality controls, faster production and installation time at a lower overall cost.The glass elevator hoistway was left uncovered or “naked” where most elevators PME produces are covered in fire-rated material. Then non-proprietary components, including the car, are installed and wired in the factory. The old way of building an elevator is to build the shaft on a job site vertically, then assemble the numerous components inside the vertical shaft in less than optimal conditions. That process takes months and means a dangerous working environment in the cold, snow and rain, causing construction delays. This dated method is less safe, more confined, and requires more time to build, slowing construction projects and increasing costs.

A Phoenix Modular Elevator is built to exact specifications in a factory setting, then shipped on a truck to the location and hoisted into place at the job site, requiring only a few days of final installation work before it is ready for inspection.

PME president Allison Allgaier is looking forward to more projects in Canada and said, “Phoenix Modular Elevators are approved for the Canadian market and we are sending more and more north. They are safe, high quality, commercial grade and factory built means constant controls and inspections.” She went onto say, you can find PME elevators installed across the United States and Canada in hotels, stadiums, office buildings, theme parks, government buildings and churches as well as schools.

Recently Phoenix had two other elevators approved for use in Manitoba at Manitoba Hydro north of Gillam. The Urban Life project is the third in the past two months and owner Clarence Bergen is pleased with the project, “This elevator was easy to install, rides great and the project was completed in no time. I am proud of the job and how it looks.”

Phoenix Modular Elevator is a Mount Vernon, Illinois business and has been constructing modular elevators since 1995.

The fastest installing elevator begins with a quick quote.
To get an elevator start here with a quick quote!