Construction costs regarding steel and lumber are on the rise nationally. So, many are searching for solutions to the problem and modular is considered a fix to help keep construction costs low despite increases. There are other options to consider of course, but one of the solutions is a modular fix. Read below for a larger list of ways builders can save on resources when the price of materials goes up.
According to the Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data they report a 73% price rise (January 2020 to January 2021) for softwood lumber. The increase was 3.2% in the same period for fabricated structural metal and a 15.6 increase in iron and steel. Each source for the data you can find differs but, no one can doubt prices are trending up especially for lumber.
The reasons for the increases are varied, but most of the blame resides with, unsurprisingly, Covid. The virus has had a ripple effect on the entire domestics and global economy with tendrils reaching deep into nearly every market. Covid forced furnaces to go cold in the steel industry and the lumber market to misread demand. Not to mention these industries require a hands on production processes. Human contact in facilities was inevitable. This strained and continues to strain the supply chain. Hence prices trend up.
With increased costs a reality, it the falls on the shoulders of the builders to find alternatives to keep costs low. In seminars, conference calls, articles and meetings leaders in the building industry are in search of ways to absorb or cut costs so the rise in materials will not impact bottom line. Here are just a few the thoughts and ideas getting kicked around:
Literal stick-built projects may need to use another material. There are options that are wide-ranging including the use of metal products. Although there is a rise in metal costs it is no where near the rise in cost of lumber overall. Where steel or metal are traditionally used, alternatives can be found. For instance some in the industry are considering using more TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofing where metal panels were the material of choice just months ago.
Materials are a huge cost no doubt, but there are other methods to cut the cost of a project overall. Going completely modular or purchasing some modular components can shrink the manpower and total time needed onsite. As an example because the modular elevator comes installed in a fabricated hoistway, you can take the shaft out build costs completely. A modular elevator comes with a shaft or hoistway. Talk about savings.
General construction costs are lower as well. Regarding the elevator, the total construction time onsite is reduced. Traditional elevators most commonly install at the end of the building project. It can tack on weeks to months of general construction costs! With modular the set of fully installed elevator is usually first step. It takes less than ONE DAY and start up is completed in less than 1 week. So, you tell me…what are the general construction costs for weeks to months? Modular makes sense to save money.
This one is a bit repetitive but, if the project is finished faster, it is more quickly ready for occupancy. When one hotelier commented to me that going modular put a million dollars in his pocket, he wasn’t exaggerating. Can new building practices get you to reaping ROI rewards quicker?
Many builders are rethinking the time period they allow for a quote to remain valid. It is not unusual, depending on the structure, for a quote or bid to have an expiration of 6 months or more. And when deadlines approach they are often waived. When prices for materials are not stable and bounce (especially in an upward direction), it can leave builders holding the bag. Shortening the shelf life of a quote could allow the builder to be more accurate with estimates, thus saving money.
Now is the time to look at the bids and quotes out there on the table. If you have a quote that has matured, but still valid book it before they change their mind. That means with us at MEM! So, lock in lower prices before the prices are changed in the future. It only makes sense. If you have a project that requires an elevator why put it off for prices to possibly increase? That not only applies to elevators. With broad increases expected, now may be the time to set some plans in stone.
The one thing that is absolutely true about the construction industry is that it is resilient. Builders will always find ways to provide an exceptional product at a fair price. Whether a hotel, housing unit, educational facility or commercial property there are solutions!
The invisible hand of economics demands that even the unseen forces like a deadly virus will not stop the building industry or the economy as a whole. Through individual companies big and small, freedom of production and freedom of consumption, the best interest of the market will be fulfilled. The question is, are you willing to embrace some of the new solutions or opportunities getting bandied about?
If you have a project that needs a faster timeline or you have received a quote from us in the past, now is the time to get the package locked in or get new numbers to consider before prices spike. We all know a conventional elevator slows projects down and creates headaches. They also add unforeseen additional costs that are even more damaging to your projects bottom line. Now with MEM elevators you can lock in certainty and do something about material increases. We are modular elevators taking you to a higher level.
The year 2020 has been a well-deserved punching bag. With the Covid pandemic, governmental mismanagement, the US election, forest fires from California to Australia, riots in American cities, airline crashes, earthquakes, tornados, volcanos, floods and even locust, it will go down as one of the worst years ever in many people’s minds. With bad things occurring in almost biblical proportions how can I blog 2020 Good News?
First, let me say I am purely looking at this from an economic perspective because without a doubt it has been a horrible year for many that have suffered with Covid or have lost loved ones.
And even sticking with just the economics let me acknowledge that for many 2020 has been a devastating mess. Especially in any small to medium sized business that thrives on in-person contact. Masks just don’t work when you are trying to eat out. Then you have all the rule changes about who can go where and do what. I am horrified to think about what the owners and employees of those businesses have been through. Beyond that, what happens if this drags on much longer? We will become a nation of chain restaurants and superstores with jobs permanently lost. The current shuttered stores will just disappear and mom and pop will simply have their hopes and dreams dashed.
However, in the macro 2020 becomes good when you look at humanities collective ability to thrive despite challenging times. Applications for business licenses are up surprising. We are a resilient bunch.
It is also good news if you are in very specific markets. Some have shown surprising growth despite all the bad news of the past twelve months. Who amongst us would not like to turn back the hands of time and buy stock in Netflix, Zoom, Dominoes Pizza or any number of pharmaceutical companies. They are unapologetic winners. This past year has not been bad for many with often the opposite being true.
Modular Elevator Manufacturing thankfully falls into the category of 2020 winners despite the challenges. It begins with the fact that most building and manufacturing was considered essential when others were forced to shutdown. And then generally the entire modular industry is on a continued, decades long upswing. As stated in the recent 2020 Smart Market Report for Prefabrication and Modular Construction by Dodge Data and Analytics:
Prefabrication and modular construction are both experiencing a significant expansion of interest and use as the construction industry seeks to improve safety, productivity, quality, cost, schedule and sustainability performances while continuing to face workforce shortages, cost uncertainties and other challenges.Stephen A. Jones – Senior Director Industry Insights Research/Dodge Date and Analytics
We at MEM can anecdotally confirm the data put forth by the experts. There was a “significant expansion of interest and use”. In the year 2020 Modular Elevator Manufacturing doubled (yes doubled) sales and production. Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Hugo Beltran is proud of the accomplishment. He said, “The 2020 results are astounding and as a result we’ve had to double the factory space and output capacity. And amazingly we are projecting another doubling for 2021 based on projects already in our pipeline.” 2020 good news!
Although, Beltran would like to take credit for all the growth, he recognizes there is more at play. His team was crucial to success, but there was more. He said, “The construction industry is looking for real solutions to real problems.” And “There are economic and market fundamentals assisting us as the modular industry addresses those problems. So hard work by the MEM employees and the needs of the construction sector are pushing us forward in hitting all-time highs.”
Those needs as echoed in the Dodge report are: cost predictability, improved quality, improved safety, increased schedule certainty, and reduced waste. MEM is simply taking advantage of the opportunity by providing real solutions to longstanding problems in construction. But meeting needs must be more than marketing gimmicks or props in a storefront window or the growth will not accompany the construction market move to modular solutions.
That is why in the modular elevator segment, some flourish and prosper like MEM, while others struggle. While some have to explain away shoddy work and poor engineering. MEM demonstrates what decades of experience can provide with superior service, workmanship and engineering. It is why some struggle with growth despite a market that is booming. While at the same time MEM discusses a Midwestern facility to meet national sales demand. MEM can say 2020 good news (at least in some respects), others are just glad to see it go.
Hopefully for all 2021 will mean a return to more prosperous times and not just some segments. But one thing for certain, if predictions are anywhere close to correct and the market continues to embrace modular solutions in construction, MEM will be a leader in the elevator industry with more growth yet to come.
If you want to be a part of the solutions provided by the modular industry we are willing to help. We will answer any of your questions and provide a Fast Track quote. If you have a low or mid-rise project just contact us. Click the button below and fill out the information. A quote will be prepared and sent to you within 24 hours.
MEM News. Modular Elevator Manufacturing is in the news again. Mark Madler from the San Fernando Business Journal conducted an in depth interview with our vice president of sales, Hugo Beltran and they discussed the significant growth in nationwide sales since the company made the move to increase distribution earlier this year.
Here is a link to the story here. Or download it below.
Modular elevators are the future for any low and mid-rise applications and the modular industry provides significant benefits to any project. It is a faster, greener and smarter way to build. However, without quality the benefits of modular dissipate quickly. That is why MEM is the leader in the modular elevator industry. MEM understands that quality is the biggest contributor to market growth and why they are so much different than others.
If you have a project that requires a quality elevator completed faster, greener and smarter, click the button below. With just general information we can provide a quote in less than a day. MEM is quality elevators taking you higher.
SEPT 23, 2020/Westlake, CA – Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) has added new staff to increase capacity and meet growing demand. As the modular elevator manufacturer continues to increase its market share nationwide, a new IT manager, national territory manager, two new elevator technician trainees and elevator technician helper have been added. In addition, a marketing firm with national experience was added to the team.
Duncan McEwan, IT Manager will work to centralize the IT support and system management, providing a more consistent user experience for customers and staff though the improved integration of the IT systems. He previously worked as an IT Administrator for the Television Academy providing support for all of their activities, most notably, the Creative Arts and Primetime Emmy Awards.
This involved supporting the online voting process and hosting IT and audio/visual needs for the various panels that convene each year to vote for categories of Emmy Awards. He also provided the network access, both WiFi and hard wired for the press core at the Emmys Awards, including the WiFi for the Red Carpet. At MEM his experience will improve the customer experience and information flow.
Ken Grider, National Territory Manager brings his commercial and residential construction experience and modular elevator knowledge as well as a proven ability to drive business growth and increase market awareness. More than that, Ken is creative and a strategic thinker with strong communication skills and a strong desire to help customers find the best solution to MEM.
Jesse Ochoa and Jose Perez have been added to increase the ranks of licensed elevator technicians as they complete their training and Jose Galvin has been added as an elevator technician helper. This will ensure that as the demand for modular elevators continues to increase, MEM will maintain the largest and most qualified staff in the modular industry.
Additionally, to assist with the new national effort a St. Louis, Missouri area marketing firm has been engaged. Speiro Communications will help direct the effort to increase an already growing market share. Providing true quality and the most experience in the industry will be the cornerstones going forward.
California based MEM produces elevators from simple ADA compliant models to freight elevators. They are routinely sold in several types of buildings including educational, hospitality, healthcare, multi-family, commercial, storage and parking structures. The elevators are used in retrofit projects as well as new construction. For more information on MEM go to at modualrelevator.com.
If you would like to put the MEM team to work, click the link below to receive a Fast Track quote.
Elevator with a faster ROI. It started out as a simple conversation with a major investor (name withheld intentionally) with a hotel company at a construction job site. I was walking around with a camera around my neck and taking some video. As the crane roared in the background, he leaned over in my general direction and shouted, “Who are you here with?”
I pointed to the modular elevator being suspended by the crane and I said with equal energy back to him, “The elevator company.”
A broad smile crossed his face and he said a curious thing that I was not in the least prepared for, “Thank you.” he shouted.
With an inquisitive look I stammered back, “Your welcome?” He nodded still sporting that wide grin.
It then occurred to me that I had a very rare chance to speak directly to a major investor in the project. We talk constantly to architects, general contractors, elevator contractors, project managers and a whole host of others with various responsibilities, but it was rare to actually be at the job site and speak one on one with an investor. Our paths just don’t cross.
It is not rare that they check up on progress with on site visits, but as the elevator hoistway with all the components pre-installed takes only a couple hours to set it is rare our paths cross. And if he had the time, I would love to ask a few questions about his impressions and what stood out about the modular elevator. So I picked out his SUV…not difficult to do in the construction crew parking lot and camped out near there as I shot more video.
Eventually he appeared from the construction trailer and I asked him for a moment. He said he had a second or two he could spare, so I wasted no time. I introduced myself and asked what he thought.
Now, usually when you see a huge 15 ton object being swung into place at a job site on the end of a crane hook, people take a moment to look up and see what is going on and gaze in amazement. At a recent job in San Diego, faces dotted the windows in an adjacent building so onlookers could to get a peek of the elevator being lifted into place.
I have seen the curious have to be held behind yellow caution tape or with one project, a row of lawn chairs popped up across from a church getting its first elevator. So I imagined the gentleman I was speaking with would talk about how impressive the elevator looked being lifted and placed. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Its all about the ROI.” he said. “The return on investment is what excites me most about your product.”
He could tell by my stunned look I needed a further explanation. So he went on to say that with the modular elevator unit in his estimation, nearly 6 month could be trimmed off the total time usually allotted for the build. This significantly reduces the general construction costs. Because he made more money, faster from his perspective, he loved the MEM modular elevator.
He quickly laid out that with modular, while the ground is prepped and the concrete poured, the elevator and hoistway are being produced in a factory. So there is never a delay in hoistway construction. Bad weather doesn’t matter. The elevator can be set any time of year and problems with labor to build the hoistway are non-existent. Everything is done off site.
But beyond that, when the power is available they can use the elevator as a construction elevator. That saves even more money on the project. Finally, he indicated that there is no delay in getting it up and running. There is no need for extra space, extra parking, or having more people onsite stepping over each other. The elevator crew shows up for about a week and voila the elevator functions as intended, not months like usual. The elevator is totally off the critical path and the hotel can be occupied faster.
He summed it all up by saying, “That is why we love your product. An elevator is an elevator to me. Push the button and it goes up. But yours gives a faster return on my investment than any other. And no other elevator can change the timeline on an entire project for the positive.”
With that, as quickly as our impromptu meeting began it ended. He jumped into his SUV and sped off to the next project three states away. However, he gave me a lot to think about. Although an elevator with a faster ROI seemed important before the chance encounter, it now means even more to me.
My hope is investors and building owners that would like to shave time off of a project would click to find out more. They will ultimately realize a faster ROI on a building project if they do. We would love to talk to you about your project and how we can be a part of your solution. Modular Elevator Manufacturing – quality elevators taking you to a higher level.
Elevator installers and technicians need to know more than how to turn a wrench. As you all know, Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) is now nationwide, so we are looking for the right kind of knowledgeable people with the desire for growth. We are lining up work across the United States and in Canada and it is opening up opportunities for businesses and individuals in the elevator industry.
There are two ways you can be a part of the ever-growing field of modular elevators:
It starts with filling out this simple questionnaire. We just need to know you are a licensed elevator technician, the jurisdictions you work in and your contact information. From there we will speak to you about any future opportunities.
As an overview, we will provide you with information you need to setup and startup an MEM product. We will also help you with knowing your time commitment to any project you bid and give you in person support as needed. Note we do not say install the elevator, but setup and start up. This is due to the traditional elevator installation takes place in the factory. The hoistway is completely wired, with doors, rails and even the cab installed when it arrives. That means there is significantly less time invested in each project. For a quick look at how fast a set can go, click the button below. Generally a fully installed elevator can be set in a couple hours.
Most importantly know that we are looking for a long-term relationship that we can build on together. We have a solid, high-quality product, unlike other modular elevator companies. The result is we are looking for solid, high-quality people to join with us.
As you understand, there can be a significant lag time between the quote and getting the job. But you will won’t have the future opportunity if you don’t get start today.
Go to this page for more information and for general expectations. If you already know of a project that might be a good fit, let us know by clicking the Fast Track Button below. We will supply you with pricing in 24 hours so you can provide it to your potential customer. Otherwise click below and fill out the simple application today.
There is an old adage especially used in politics to not punch down, especially when it comes to an adversary. You end up making yourself look as small as the competition. I generally stick to that piece of advice. But, then you run into a problem. If the purpose of this blog is to truly educate the public then comparing modular elevators, one company to the others must be done.
Especially when there is such a disparity between the various manufacturers conclusions must be drawn. So I am going to stick with facts as best I can as they are and let you, the consumer draw the conclusions. By the end we will answer the question, who has the best solution for low and mid-rise vertical transportation.
When comparing modular elevators we should have a reasonable and largely unbiased way to make the examination. As stated in a previous post, it really can’t be about the elevator components themselves as they are generally the same in all elevators. We however can compare items manufactured by the companies, the experience that each brings to the table and overall quality.
Let’s begin with items that are not bought from another source but manufactured by the modular elevator companies themselves. Those are in general terms the hoistway and the elevator cab. Often the platform and sling are also manufactured and a few ancillary parts such as hydraulic tanks can be produced as well, but for this article’s purposes let’s stick with the two most crucial and identifiable items the hoistway and cab.
At first blush one would think there is little to compare after all modular hoistways are very similar. In most cases tough 4X4 steel tubing is used for the structure and it is wrapped in drywall. Either one layer is used inside and out or to increase the overall fire rating a second layer can be added. But, when you dig deeper a different picture emerges. First, the sheetrock or drywall used is much different company to company. As modular elevators are by design intended to be put in at anytime during the construction process, it is not unusual for the hoistway produced to sit while other construction is going on around the shaft.
That means that in some locations and with no power for climate control, mold and mildew can pop up inside the shaft especially in more humid areas of North America. One company, Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) provides mold resistant drywall inside and out standard. That mitigates this issue. There is no up charge or hidden cost. The pricing and what is provided is clear and part of any cost estimate. Other companies do not provide mold resistant drywall standard inside and out and that can lead to ecological problems you don’t want to face.
Secondarily, the layout of the hoistway steel is dramatically different one company to the next. Experience has taught the engineers that work with MEM, elevator technicians and high-skilled production workers the value of making improvements to the design. They have been making them methodically over a longer period of time than the competitors as a company. There is no jerry-rigging job to job, but consistent, studied, planned and approved improvements. With MEM your project will never be an experiment in problem solving, but a finished product that has been consistently improved over time.
Due to MEM experience, improvement to the stability and longevity have been built in.
If you thought there is a difference in the hoistway, the real difference shows up in the elevator cab construction. That is because MEM is the only modular elevator company that produces their own Galvaneal cab. Galvaneal is the preferred material for professional construction and commercial quality elevator cabs in most cases. It is tough, durable, sustainable and the industry standard.
However, if cheap and potentially flimsy are your goals you can find companies that make their cabs out of particle board; but watch out! If you have ever owned cheap particle board furniture you know what happens when it gets wet. It tends to mold, swell or crumble (or sometimes all three). You will never have that problem with an MEM cab. Also, if the specs call for a metal cab, MEM is the solution that can meet your needs best. A word of warning, sometimes a bid from a company can contain a wooden cab despite a metal one being called out in the specs. This can be a common deception. Always be clear about what you are getting before you buy.
If the company does not make Galvaneal cabs, they often have to buy a cab from another company and then shoehorn it into the hoistway. This obviously drives up the cost. A secondary issue is that if they are buying a cab from an outside company the cab in question may have trouble fitting properly on the rails creating a poorly moving or loud elevator ride.
See, modular is by design produced in a factory setting with specific jigs and templates. Buying a major component like a cab can be problematic if produced outside of the factory. This is due to the outside cab company not use the same jigs and templates as the modular company. This can create a sometimes sloppy and unacceptable fit.
The need for experience can never be overstated and having neophytes making or selling you an elevator is potentially an enormous mistake. Elevators, need I remind people, are serious. They are costly, have thousands of parts and if they are improperly built they can be dangerous to the riding public. They are the largest and most complex moving object in a building. Knowing next to nothing about elevators, but then selling them anyway is not cute or adorable. It can be a hazard that can cost time, money and potentially cause injuries. But, that is exactly what you can get if you choose to call the wrong modular elevator company for a bid or project.
Feel free to check out MEM. It is more that encouraged because MEM has decades of actual experience from top to bottom in the organization. There are many experienced and licensed professionals that will help you through the buying process to setting and installing.
If you are doing your homework you know that some modular companies have limited experience in the area of sales and manufacturing elevators. Factually, one modular company routinely touts 20 years of experience, even on their website. Just a little research shows this to not be completely true. The company in question is reported to have produced its first elevator in 2011. That is a far cry from decades of experience, but is representative of the candor you may find when looking for quality you can trust.
But, besides possibly telling tales out of school, what difference does it all that make anyway? In truth a big difference. Over the years, experience has taught MEM to make an easy to use template and supply anchor bolts as part of the package. This makes installing the elevator much easier, faster and within the engineering requirements. Experience:
Quality is sometimes hard to define and long-term in nature regarding elevators, but again experience is the guide. An elevator is a long-term investment in any building project so it only makes sense to use a company and product that has the longest track record of success. As MEM has been around longer and with a real commitment to quality. As a result, it makes sense to consider them first when comparing modular elevators.
One company has such low production values that elevators have shipped with significant quality issues even before they are installed. Hydraulic tank failure, poor attention to detail, wiring issues have all been reported numerous times from independent elevator technicians. And that is the tip of the iceberg, it is completely true that an elevator jack weighing several hundred pounds literally fell out of one of their hoistways when suspended above a building. Crazy, dangerous, true.
Some companies just don’t have the commitment to quality that MEM has. This can been seen regarding missing parts, poorly assembled components, damaged items in production and promises made but not kept.
We fight that kind of inconsistency and complacency in production and delivery so the whole modular industry won’t get a black eye. MEM has developed a check list to track issues before they show up on the job site not after. This way we know we are providing a great product to you before it ships. Truth, not punching down.
First, we all know that modular elevators are the future because they are the best choice for any low or mid-rise project new or retrofit. They have many advantages over conventional elevators and if you would like a fast review of those you can read more here. But you must be careful and smart when researching which modular company you should deal with. So keep in mind the following and look for a company that:
In other words look for Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) the overwhelming choice for any low or mid-rise building project. If you want a no obligation assessment and quote just click the link below. It will ask a few questions so we can get started and you can start your path to a true quality commercial elevator.
I usually spend hours, if not days, uncovering research about elevators and looking for interesting and useful facts and figures to post in my blog. I research, work and write several times a month hoping to enlighten the reader and maybe make you think or at least smile. I really like doing that because I know elevators are a very interesting subject; so simple yet complex and full of fun details that fascinate.
Also, those in the elevator industry love to gather information and pass it on so I have a great, knowledgeable audience. This combination of smart people and facts can lead to new perspectives or different ways of thinking about the largest moving object in a building.
I also love uncovering the history of elevators, the modular business, construction and manufacturing as subject matter or as a springboard into the elevator industry. But, every once in a while someone does it a little bit better than I do. So rather than trying to copy what was done, it would be better to just post it as is. Below is one such example of a short, concise history that is better than I could have cobbled together.
You can quibble with some of the details if you are in an argumentative mood or choose to believe the romanticized version of the Otis legend, but on the whole this video, although abbreviated, is well researched and correct. The History Guy does a great job in all the videos he produces and I would recommend you poke around a bit on his YouTube page after you watch the video about your favorite mode of vertical transportation. You will find something that interests you for sure.
The video is informative and the format is designed for a broad audience so it is kept short, and as a result the History Guy did not have the time to get in depth about the future of vertical transportation. And as we all know for any low or mid-rise building modular elevators are the future.
If you want more information on that or would like to see one placed you can watch our YouTube video too. Really a fully installed elevator in a couple of hours???? Absolutely true and astounding to see.
Of course for more info you can click the button below and get a Fast Track quote on how much a modular unit would be for your next project. You can also contact us any time for information about MEM or modular elevators.
We have a pretty interesting history too…”A history that deserves to be remembered!”
Apples and Oranges Comparing Elevator Solutions – Modular Versus Traditional. In the construction industry there is a great desire to save time and money while simultaneously providing a high-quality, finished product for the client. This task is complicated immensely when multi-story projects are slated and an elevator is involved. It seems that no one in the elevator business wants to make it easy for general contractors, architects, project managers or building owners to make a clear decision about what elevator company or vertical transportation option would be the best solution.
To combat this problem specs have been developed over time for various elevator footprints, capacities and travel, based on the needs or use of the building. But this does not work! Being in the elevator business, I can tell you most of the time specs are routinely ignored by large elevator companies. At least until after the pricing has been submitted and the decision has been made.
The usual process involves the salesperson picking the closest standard product and then filling the proposal with “if, ands and wherefores” that will be addressed at a later date once a choice is made. Only then the specs are examined and leverage is brought to bear to force time sensitive decisions about the product selected.
This all too familiar dance is the reason the elevator industry is so despised in many quarters. One might draw the conclusion that the elevator industry does not want an apples to apples comparison to be made. Preferring, instead, to keep customers in the dark.
At MEM, we do not shy away from an accurate comparison and we will even help with your assessment, whether we are right for your project or not. Another option is to find a reputable elevator consultant that can help with the decision making process.
However, keep reading if you need a broad overview to help you in your assessment and decision making process.
Generally speaking when it comes to quality commercial elevators there are two very broad categories of solutions. Traditional elevators where the hoistway is built on-site and then the various components are pieced together inside once power is on or available. And modular elevators where the whole elevator is produced in a factory setting.
The first thing to know about either category of elevator is that the components are all very similar. After all, if comparing the types of elevators is the goal, there has to be a clear understanding of the quality of the components that make up the elevator.
Believe it or not most elevators contain, relatively, the same components. There are only a handful of companies that actually manufacture all the stuff inside a hoistway. Secondly, elevator components are highly regulated. The bottom line is that elevator to elevator most of the parts (regardless of name plate) are either the exact same or they meet the exact same standards.
Keep that in mind when a sales rep from a traditional elevator company starts talking about components. There is nothing magical or special about them.
The bigger question regarding parts and components is if they are proprietary or not. Avoid elevators with proprietary parts at all costs. Proprietary means that the elevator manufacturer has control over the functioning of the elevator through access to parts and tools. Service is restricted to just that company. This may mean a lower priced elevator up front, but over time you will be at their mercy. Never get an elevator with proprietary parts or for that matter, buy a building with an elevator with proprietary parts inside. You will regret it.
So if parts are not really different, what is the difference between conventional and modular? It is all about the packaging. The traditional elevator comes in crates or on skids and is assembled on-site once the power is turned on. So when you choose a conventional elevator, you really aren’t buying an elevator at all. You are buying boxes of elevator parts that are hammered, screwed and bolted together on-site in a cramped hoistway.
Think of the last car you purchased. Imagine if the dealership dropped off crates filled with parts, boxes full of hardware and most of the necessary tools to assemble your car in your driveway. Then the dealership sent over a couple of technicians to assemble the whole mess. You would see this as you look out of your window on to the now worksite and would think, “surely this would be easier in the factory!”
Thank goodness, that is not how the automotive industry works. They deliver a fully functioning, turnkey product that was assembled efficiently and safely in their quality (and climate) controlled facility.
Elevator companies for years have told the little white lie that they are manufacturing elevators. Not true! What they really do is manufacture some elevator parts and buy the rest of the components from different companies. They then ship them all in boxes to hopefully be assembled properly on-site. Good luck.
The major difference between conventional and modular is with modular you are buying an elevator…not boxes of stuff. Modular is manufactured as a finished product in a quality (and climate) controlled environment, not bolted together in a dark shaft at a technicians leisure. It is difficult to quantify, but if you ever rode in an elevator that rattled as it went up…it was more than likely haphazardly assembled in a cramped elevator hoistway and not in a factory.
Also, because modular elevators are engineered to be free standing, you get to decide when it arrives and when it is set in place. There are no elevator contractors taking over your site, no storage problems, no additional trades tripping over each other and the timeline becomes your’s not an elevator installer’s.
So when comparing traditional and modular remember the following:
By looking at the short list above it is an easy call to make. The overall better choice for any low or mid-rise building project is the unconventional modular elevator manufactured by MEM. This is especially true when the pricing is generally in the same ballpark, but even when the initial investment is higher for modular the scale is still tipped in favor of the modular solution. The plumb and straight hoistway is always in the price of modular so there is that difference when comparing, but beyond that think of the shortened timeline that a modular elevator creates.
As an anecdotal example of the reasoning, while working with a building owner that decided to go modular for the first time in a hotel project, he thanked me for the extra million dollars he was going to make on the project due to the faster elevator placement. He felt the whole timeline was trimmed by six months by using a modular unit meaning faster occupancy. He went on and said that the million did not take into account the reduced general building costs of maintaining a job site over a longer period of time.
Even if initial cost of the modular elevator were higher, the overall cost for the whole project would always be more than made up for. This is especially true in colder climates.
But thinking bigger, there is a huge value to the comfort level with knowing it is a high-quality product due to the tight manufacturing standards and easily inspected process. For instance:
To be clear, there are sometimes when modular is not the solution. As and example they are shipped on the back of a truck. So even though we have produced freight elevators and elevators for medical facilities big enough for hospital beds, there are some special circumstances where we can’t get under a bridge.
Another example is overall tower height. When you get over ten to twelve stories, cost wise conventional is usually the better option, but on balance for most building projects the best solution is always modular and MEM is the place to start.
We are knowledgeable, experienced, helpful and ready to discuss elevators…not sell them. Honestly, they sell themselves our goal is just to educate the construction industry that there is a better alternative when comparing apples to apples or modular versus traditional.
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Covid Update – The corona-virus is changing the way we are looking at things in the United States and many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open and producing. Local restaurants, and small businesses are especially hard hit.
Thankful at Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM) we have not had any issues related to the virus and we are still shipping nationwide, but we feel we should let you know exactly what is going on at this time.
Hopefully this covid update virus will be over soon and things will get back to normal. Keep in mind we truly appreciate all of our friends in the construction business, suppliers and future customers and we are committed to help you in anyway we can. By keeping an open line of communication we can address any issues quickly and without much inconvenience or pain. Remember we are here to help. Stay safe and germ free!
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