Tag Archives: Plan

Construction Puzzle Elevator Modular

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 with an organized order to increase the productivity and speed of the project. Especially in today’s competitive real estate market, companies are searching for ways to increase their rate of return by shortening the construction schedule or to simply complete the puzzle faster. To help with this effort, many builders are now utilizing more offsite manufacturers than ever before in the hopes of increasing turnaround time on their projects. In other words, the quicker the building is occupant ready, the faster the owner or developer can start recouping their investment.

Modular elevators, as a piece of this construction puzzle, can help to get the process completed faster because they are so easy to install. Also, unlike several other elements of a building process that are reliant on each other, Phoenix Modular elevators can have flexibility in timing of placement. The alternative to modular elevators, a traditional stick-built, can cause the remainder of the building project to grind to a halt, leaving builders waiting for one, singular piece of the puzzle to be put into place before anything else can get done.  Then, the well rehearsed and thought out plan starts to fall apart. My mom would not be happy.

The common installation timeline for stick-built elevators is approximately one month for a simple, two-stop model. However, when figuring in the hoistway construction, lost or back ordered parts, and bad weather, that timeline is often increased to several months largely due to factors beyond the control of the general contractor. Ultimately, even the easiest elevator project for a stick-built has a usual timeline of six to eight months, if not more. According to Allison Allgaier, President of Phoenix Modular Elevator, it is not unusual for weeks to turn into months when a stick-built option is selected, especially for modular building projects: “We receive dozens of calls from general contractors or design build companies that wished they had called us for a job. It is especially true when the entire project is being held up for six months plus because of the elevator.”

The only solution is a quality, commercial modular elevator.

A prefabricated or modular elevator is a completed hoistway with the elevator car inserted, wired, and ready to be installed. It arrives at the job-site on a flatbed truck, gets craned into place, and, in less than a week, it is fully functional. With a modular elevator not slowing the process, a development can be completed and filled faster. In traditional construction, weather conditions, material availability, and coordinating with other trades on-site can negatively affect the elevator installation timeline. A modular elevator, however, is built inside a factory and is not affected by rain or snow. Also, cold temperatures often stop block-wall hoistways from completion, but this does not slow down the manufacturing process or installation of a modular elevator.

This would make my mom proud, as a well-organized project and use of a prefabricated elevator can trim up to six months off the overall timeline of a multi-story project. There’s no doubt that eliminating six months of fixed costs and overhead from a project’s budget could translate into hefty savings and produce a faster return on investment.

Finding this corner piece and putting it in place is the best way to start.

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Lightening the Architectural Load

california-architectBeing an architect is one of the most demanding occupations in existence.  Years of study, combined with formal training and on the job experience, is required. Added to the mix is the pressure of perfection coupled with a demand for creativity. Sometimes it seems like there are very few ways for architects to escape the woes, stresses and strains of the occupation they have chosen when working on a project.

One solution to lighten this load is to consider modular construction for some project building components. Oftentimes, modular solutions are easily incorporated into drawings and plans with drag and drop capabilities. Modular elevators fall into this category, as they provide a fast, simple solution for vertical transportation, as well as a flexible hoistway  and car design.

claifornia-architect-2In this picture of a medical center in California, the focus is on the elevator hoistway’s exterior design. It is clad with architectural metal wall panels that give it a professional, cutting edge look that matches the rest of the building perfectly. The hoistway was able to easily fit within the architect’s vision, one which allows the elevator to enhance, rather than disrupt, the building design.

In addition, there is flexibility in placement. Modular elevators can be placed on the exterior or interior of a building or even be free-standing in an atrium. The possibilities are truly endless.

To make placement of the elevator as painless as possible, most modular component companies provide drawings that can easily be placed into project drawings. This was true in the example project. Not only was the architect able to drag and drop the hoistway details into the project plans, but the machine room drawings were also available.

While the job of an architect is filled with angst, tests, demands and pains not associated with many other occupations, there are some technologies that help lighten that burden just a little bit.

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