Russ Ward

Elevator Placement

Elevator Placement. You have a low or mid-rise project ready for the design phase. One of the first considerations is elevator placement and location of the stairwells. Because this happens so early it is crucial to get right. As we all know making a changes later in the game can be extremely difficult and pricy. Often times the knee-jerk reaction is to plunk the elevator down in the design nearest the main entrance or center of the building. But, deeper thought is needed.

Especially with the surge in modular buildings, the hoistway and staircases are being used less often for structural support in many circumstances. That is not saying structural support by the shaft and stairwell is no longer needed. At the very least all hoistways should be able to handle some gravity loads associate with floor tie-ins.

Elevator placement is crucial. Elevator pre installed is the best way to purchase an elevator. High quality and easy.

There’s Gravity In the Situation

Shear loads are something completely different and have to be accounted for in the structural design. But, mankind was designing successful buildings without using hoistways for support for hundreds of years before the advent of the elevator. So using the hoistway for that purpose is not always necessary, but the best option depending on design. Just keep in mind, especially in low and mid-rise applications the need for structural support (gravity or shear) may have to be examined before changes of elevator placement is made.

In addition to the structural aspects of the project, you should also consider where people are wanting to go inside the building. After all, if elevators are a matter of convenience and mobility, it makes sense to put the elevator where use is most convenient for the most people. Blending the two considerations of structure and traffic flow can be an art form! But where can you get started to determine placement?

Here’s a Starting Point

So with all that said here is a list of considerations as to elevator placement:

  • How big is the lobby area? Will adding an elevator to the lobby impede traffic through the main part of the building?
  • Must it be used for supporting the rest of the structure? If so what flexibility is there in changing the location.
  • Would an additional elevator or an elevator bank away from the center of the structure improve the flow?
  • What is the building type or purpose of the building?
  • What available space do you have, not just for elevator placement but for foot traffic? Realize at busy times the elevator area can clog with people.
  • Is the traffic predicable? For instance an office building will be busy around shifts and breaks. Or is most travel anticipated to and from specific areas of the building?
  • Is there an aesthetic consideration such as a glass elevator or decorative car or hoistway?
  • Are there applicable elevator codes that require where an elevator must go?
  • How visible is the elevator to potential traffic? Tucking an elevator in a far corner or around hidden corridor maybe problematic.
  • Is this a retrofit project to comply with regulations with limited use anticipated?

The above is not a complete list of considerations. It is just a starting point to get you thinking more about the need and purpose of the elevator itself. Far too often in this copy and paste world, the largest and most expensive moving object in the building becomes a second thought. For more insights here is my cheat sheet for number of elevators per building that may help.

Call the Experts

Remember the project architect and engineer are great resources to answer your questions. Even if placement is copied from previous jobs, there are reasons for where they put the elevator where they did. So ask early “why?” and if you have additional concerns express them. Nothing is worse than getting months into a project and then wanting a change. I have never met an architect or engineer that didn’t like explaining the reason they made a choice.

Lastly, an independent elevator consultant is a good idea if you have questions. They will examine all the aspects of the building from the perspective of an elevator expert. If you need help finding a consultant we will help you do so. We work with many of the best.

Also, our team can go through your concerns as well. Everyday we answer questions as the only elevator experts in the modular industry. To get the process started just click the button below. The Fast Track quote form will ask some simple questions to get us started, just fill out the info as best you can. You can also sign up for a live virtual tour of our facility. We will answer your questions about how we produce high-quality commercial elevators right in our factory, that gets shipped and placed in a few hours and started up in a week.

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