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Russ Ward

Top 5 Elevator Complaints 2019

When the calendar flips to a new year and after the smell of gunpowder laced with sulfur has dissipated into the heavens, almost everyone takes time for a little introspection. The question, “How can I improve?” crosses the lips of all as the past year must be assessed before it evaporates from our memory. If we neglect analysis we will be relegated to the role of fulfilling the time tested ode, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana-1905).

So despite the frenzy of streamers, poppers and champagne glasses clinking we must begin this exercise so easily left till later in the year. We must not fall into the trap of forgetting the past and becoming the fulfillment of the cliche. So let’s begin anew today and dive a bit deeper into the top five complaints general contractors and building owners have when it comes to elevators for their building projects.

Wash – Rinse – Repeat

What lessons were learned from 2019 or are we doomed to wash – rinse – repeat? Here are few common observations from the people that know best:


1. Elevators are always over budget. I am getting change-ordered to death.

2. The elevator industry forces me to surrender my job site when they want, work when they want and leave when they want.

3. I am held captive by proprietary parts, nebulous contractual clauses and auto-increases in fees.

4. Elevators are a part of the critical path so I have no leverage and no alternative.

5. My general building costs are through the roof because of elevator delays.

Do the above concerns sound familiar? They should. When polling our friends in the construction industry from general contractors to design build teams, these ranked at the top of the list for 2019 when it comes to elevator issues and always do. Somethings rarely change and this list of complaints is one of them.

So we have identified the problems; now what do we do about it? We can’t continue to walk in the same circle, over the same issues and the same concerns…or can we?

A Solution is Needed


Fortunately, there is a solution that gets us off the merry-go-round, but it involves a little intestinal fortitude. It takes honest out of the box thinking and acting. That step is considering a modular elevator instead of the same old-same old? Modular elevators are commercial quality, use the same components as conventional elevators, are safe and come with benefits that you as an owner, developer or GC can only fantasize about.

First, you are buying a product in a complete form. It is an elevator hoistway made of tough steel, with all of the components already installed. This greatly reduces the possibility of change orders because when the elevator arrives it is a complete unit. The doors, the wiring, the hall calls, the rails and the car are already installed.


Second, the elevator literally is craned into place in a couple hours. No one is gumming up your job site for days at a time. Also we work with you to schedule the setting of the unit so you are not inconvenienced. Once it is place the actual start up only takes a handful of days.


Third, we never use proprietary parts and because of that you can use any elevator company you want for future maintenance. The power is placed back in your hands regarding legacy costs. Because we don’t use proprietary components the legacy costs are lower.


Fourth, the MEM process takes the elevator out of the critical path. Now the whole project is free to be managed to your needs, not the other way around. You don’t have to wait around for the elevator.

Fifth, with proper management the timeline for delivery, set up and start up can significantly reduce the normal general construction costs. The site is closed quicker leading to less cost.

Overall – Problems Solved


The key to success is recognizing problems of the past and addressing them quickly, leaving them behind you instead as an obstacle that needs to be dodged or moved. With every multi-story project you are a part of in 2020 the elevator pain can be removed. Modular elevators can help you overcome the ingrained exercise of frustration and futility normally associated with elevators in construction.

So in 2020 when the smoke from the fireworks clears, the ball drops and the fog of the New Years celebration has lifted, assess the past and remove elevators from the list of irritation you face. Now it is time to try a better way. Give us a call, get some pricing on a future project and get information about how we can make your projects go smoother in the new year.

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