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Russ Ward

Free Elevator – Does it Exist?

A free elevator is a dream for many. Let’s face it, elevators are generally expensive if you want a good one. However, if you sharpen your pencil and your perspective you can find vertical transportation that provides enough savings to make even the highest quality elevator significantly less expensive.

But, to start the hunt for a free elevator you have to begin with a question. What in real terms makes up a commercial quality elevator that you find in any building project?

Well, in most basic terms it has to have an elevator car, rails for the car to ride up and down on and a hoistway the rails are attached to. That skeleton then has to have a heart. The heart is the conveyance system that makes the car raise and lower as well as open and close the doors at each floor. After that, to carry the analogy further, it needs skin. A great looking interior to the car with lights, buttons, hall calls and handrails. The hoistway can also be part of the skin in the form of a glass elevator and decorative finish or just a painted surface. That is what an elevator is in its essence.

Red Pill or Blue Pill

There are two processes to accomplish the above:

  1. Traditional elevators – They come with several items listed, but are missing a very key element. They do not have a hoistway provided. Someone else (you) has to provide that for them. It has to meet their specifications in specific tolerances. Also, often the concrete or block hoistway makes applying the “skin” costly and difficult. Also, heaven help you if you are in northern climates where heaving due to cold can make your shaft shift.
  2. Modular elevators – On the other hand, have all of the items listed and the benefits that comes with building the elevator in a factory instead of onsite in a hoistway in less than perfect conditions. The overall quality is higher due to superior engineering, quality control practices and consistent inspections of the process. The elevator is being produced on a factory floor.

The differences in the finished product of the two elevators are negligible (other than quality) as most of the component come from the very same supplier companies regardless of the process. Whether you are buying a modular elevator or have an elevator installed onsite each has the same pieces or the components have been through the same rigorous approval process. These two systems produce generally the same elevator.

Same Product Smarter

So if the products are largely the same and roughly the same cost, how do you get one for free with modular, but not traditional?

The answer is found in the savings that you can obtain because of the modular nature of the MEM elevator. The chart below explains the process for both. The traditional elevator is significantly different by the nature of how they are installed. They take much longer to cobble together on your jobsite when they want. There is design and engineering, followed by permits and approvals, site prep and the foundation and inevitable changes. Finally when the pit is poured and construction begins, the traditional elevator company lurches into motion.

They order parts and make sure logistically all the pieces and tools are dumped on your site with you contractually responsible. Then they start the installation process most usually after power is turned on.

Free Elevators can exist if you look at overall cost savings.

MEM (the gold row) on the other hand arrives when you want. It takes the design and engineering that we have partnered together on and begins manufacturing. By the time the pit is poured the fully installed elevator is ready to be set in place. That takes about four hours (no kidding). As unbelievable as it may seem, you have a fully installed elevator sitting onsite waiting for power. Then when you are ready to have a fully functioning elevator turned on, we make sure it is started up properly. It is really that simple.

The traditional or old-fashioned way of putting in an elevator is at the end of the construction process. This throttles the completion and this is not idle speculation.

A Real Study

A thesis and study put forward by the Penn State College of Engineering supports this contention. In an actual parking garage construction sequence of a five-story project it was found that the elevators took a crazy 58 days to complete. Also, they were the last trade to get started other than landscaping and parking lot striping. They were also the last trade to finish. Now imagine changing that number of 58 days to ten, putting the elevators in first and using it as a construction lift like we did at San Jose State.

The date the parking garage opens comes sooner as the job closes faster. This reduces overall costs in addition to other benefits. No more making space for storage of all of the parts and pieces. Big sections of projects are cordoned off for this purpose. That slows the project. Not to mention all the coming and going with a big carbon footprint. Also they are burning your electricity to install the elevator. MEM’s elevator comes pre-installed.

Lastly, with a modular elevator once power is on and adjustments are made, you can use it as a construction elevator.

Sharpen Your Pencil

So now sharpen your pencil and put a dollar sign beside each item listed below. How much is it worth that:

  • A modular that can be used as a construction elevator.
  • The modular elevator is completely in and operational before construction ends.
  • Our modular elevators reducing general conditions costs because the job is closed out faster.
  • Modular produces faster occupancy as there is no waiting for the elevator to open the building.
  • With modular no storage issues occur plugging up the jobsite.
  • A modular means fewer people are on your jobsite. The total time the elevator crew is on your site is about a week.
  • Our modular elevators produce less liability for items needed to install a traditional elevator.
  • With modular there is no chance of the hoistway being out of plumb or there being last minute lost or broken pieces. Broken and lost parts can add weeks.
  • MEM elevators never prevents installation due to bad weather.

As you can see with the above list and a sharp pencil you can save ten of thousands of dollars or more by using MEM elevators on every low and mid-rise project. The general conditions alone can run tens of thousands per month. So when you balance the costs and savings, you can have a higher-quality elevator installed when you want for less.

Is It Really Free?

Is the elevator really free? Nope, but the savings you will gain using an MEM elevator will often be more than your investment. Not to mention the faster occupancy rate that has as an additional benefit. I was once thanked for trimming months off a project putting more money in the investor’s pocket on a hotel project.

So summing it all up isn’t it time to at least consider a modular elevator for your next project? To get the ball rolling all you have to do is click the Fast Track button below. The form asks a few easy questions and then we will contact you with an obligation-free budget number. If you want to do a little more research join a Live Virtual Tour of our facility to see how we produce the highest quality commercial elevator that installs in hours. Just click that button to get on the schedule.

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