March

31Mar

Residential Elevators – What do they cost?

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Home Elevators

This is by far the number one question we get asked at Uppercut Elevators and Lifts. How much for an elevator? There is no straight forward answer, as many variables come into play. In this blog post however,  I will attempt to give you the tools to determine a reasonable estimate for your elevator  including the installation . Please note that these prices are product specific, and are based on our current pricing structure. This article is only attempting to give you a reasonable “ballpark” figure for your home elevator. Obviously, prices will vary depending on your supplier.

Elevator in home

Elevator in home

Cost Variables

For the purpose of simplicity we will base the elevator specification on the following:

2 stops ( we will use basement and main floors as an example)

Automatic operation (otherwise it is an accessibility lift)

Entrances on the same side

Standard finishes

11 feet of travel (from top of basement floor to top of the main floor)

Light screen protecting the entrance side

Machine-room-less application

Small ramp or 2″ pit requirement

20 feet/ minute speed

800lb Capacity

40″ X 54″ car size

Installation of your elevator in Calgary

 

I thought it necessary to mention the pit depth and the lack of a machine room as these are contractual requirements  that affect the overall cost. We will address these variables later on.

More detailed information on this product offering can be found here

Elevator Cost

It would be reasonable to expect the cost of the above-mentioned device to sell for around $17,500.00. Adding a third stop, say to a mid landing garage at grade would involve the additions of a second light screen, another interlock and call station. You could expect this to add about  $1,000.00 to your overall cost. A smaller car will save you money while a larger one can add $400.00 – $500.00. If you reduce the  travel of your elevator (less than 9 feet) the device could cost up to a $1000.00 less ,while the opposite may occur if your home elevator needs to travel up to 14 feet. Devices travelling more than 14 feet usually utilize a different drive mechanism, which involves a per foot charge and a different product offering such as the RAM Crystal.

Contractual Costs or Site Preparation

Stratus – Residential Elevator

Stratus – Residential Elevator

Knowing the cost of your elevator only gives you half the information. The work required prior to a factory trained technician installing your device is the other cost you will have to account for. The following is a brief summary of contractual work that may have to be done.

  • Pit or ramp – we typically  ask for a 2-3 inch pit but some models (usually hydraulic) require up to a 14″ recess in the floor. In some jurisdictions, you may need a pit drain and/or a sump pump, as well as a hydraulic oil separator. If a pit is not possible you will need a small ramp granting access up to the elevator car floor.
  • Electrical – this varies but most devices require both 120 VAC and 220 VAC brought to the appropriate disconnect.
  • Machine room – Hydraulic units and some cable drives typically  require a machine room. This is not only a cost you will have to absorb, it’s also space you will have to part with. I personally prefer machine room-less elevators for this reason.
  • Hoist-way Structure – These are the walls around your elevator which include the rail wall blocking. They are usually built using wood construction (2×4 or 2×6). Standard household doors (solid core) will also need to be provided.

For a complete list of the contractual requirements please click below.

Drawings and contractual requirements for this device can be found here

 

If you require any additional information on home elevators or  lifts please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

 

 

19Mar

Stair Lifts – an affordable solution for residential accessibility

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Stair Lifts - for straight stairways

Stair Lifts – for straight stairways

 

 

Stair lifts or chair lifts have been around for some time now. Over the years they have become more reliable, compact and quieter.  They can be a great accessibility solution for individuals who have trouble with the stairs, due to balance, mobility or fatigue.    The following is a list of questions we are commonly asked.

What is the weight capacity ?

Capacities vary, but most products can accommodate a 300lb individual. Bruno makes a stair lift that is capable of transporting a 400lb user.

Can my stair lift go around bends and accommodate a curved stair way ?

Yes it can. It’s important to have a professional come out and measure your stairs. Most lift providers will do this for no cost or obligation. Getting a quote on-line, or over the phone can often end up causing you grief in the long run. You should also be aware that not all manufactures utilize rails that are built specifically for your stairs not all curved stair lifts are custom-built!

 

What powers my stair lift ?gallery-SRE-3000-07_small

Most units are battery operated and utilize a rack and pinion drive.  This ensures a smooth ride even if there is a power failure. All we require is a standard outlet where we can plug in our power supply. This  supplies power to an on-board charger that automatically re-charges your batteries when the device is not in use. Manufacturers such as Bruno incorporate a charging strip into the track. This ensures that you are never out of a charge position, even when travelling on the device.  Stair lifts typically draw about 3 amps through a “trickle charge” so the power usage is minimal.

What is the warranty ?

Like all products warranties vary – you will find everything from 1 – 5 years. If a manufacture offers a lifetime warranty on a component you can assume it’s for a part that will never break. For instance I used to deal with a manufacturer the would give a life time warranty on the track. In 17 years, I have never seen a track that required a warranty replacement.

What is the cost of a stair lift ?

Around Calgary a straight run stair lift sells for approximately $3000.00 – $4000.00. Factors that determine price are:

  • length of rail
  • location
  • capacity needed
  • required options

Curved units sell for more money as the are custom-built to fit your stairs exactly. I am always leery of “one size fits all” solutions and suggest you ask for an engineered drawing before your lift goes into production.

Who services my lift after it is installed ?

My personal belief is that I would never buy anything from someone if I couldn’t go back o that individual with questions or concerns. Being re-directed to a web site or  1-800 number for service in my opinion is unacceptable.  Sales people should be held accountable to clients after the sale has takes place. I prefer to deal with companies that  service  what they sell. Ideally they do this locally with factory trained professionals.

gallery-SRE-3000-05_smallHow much space will the lift take up on my stairs ?

Again this varies depending on the make and model of the unit. Our most common selling unit for a straight run stairway is the Bruno Elan.  The Elan  rail installs within 5 inches of the wall, or nearest obstruction. When it is in a folded position it takes up approximately 12 inches.

How is the stair lift secured, and do I need extra blocking ?

It should be noted that stair lifts mount directly to the stair tread not the wall. No additional blocking will be required.

How long does the installation and do you have units in stock ?

Straight run units take about 2 – 3 hours to install and are always in stock (we order them in 10 at a time) Our commitment is to have a standard unit installed within 3 days maximum of a client confirming an order. Custom curved units can take about 4-6 weeks to manufacture and we usually allow for a 6 hour installation time.

If you require more information on home accessibility lifts please click here

You may qualify for the Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP) . Click here to download the application

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16Mar

Commercial Accessibility Lifts – Understanding the Code and Approval Procedure

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Lift

Enclosed Lift in a glass hoist-way

 

 

Commercial accessibility lifts are governed by the B-355 code. If a lift is being installed in a public application make sure that your lift provider specifies that the product is B-355 code compliant. All public lifts are required to be registered with the Alberta Elevating Devices Amusement Rides Safety Association (AEDARSA). After a lift is registered, and the engineered stamped drawings are reviewed, AEDARSA then issues a Certificate of Construction. Now your lift provider may proceed with the installation of your elevating device. After the installation is complete AEDARSA will need to be booked  for the initial inspection.

 

 

 

 

To recap the procedure is:

Trus-T-Lift™ with platform gate

Unenclosed Lift with platform gate

  1. Generate engineered drawings (lift provider)
  2. Registration of the lift with AEDARSA (lift provider)
  3. Review of the drawings  (AEDARSA)
  4. Issue certificate of construction (AEDARSA)
  5. Installation (lift provider)
  6. Inspection (AEDARSA)

Now that we understand the procedure it is important to know some of the code restrictions as they pertain to vertical platform lifts.

Travel

Enclosed B355 devices  are limited to a total travel of 7000mm or about 23 feet, while unenclosed lifts may  travel up to 2500mm or 98.25 inches. It`s important to note that unenclosed platforms may not penetrate a floor. Travel is defined as the floor to floor measurement. This typically limits accessibility lifts to 3 story buildings.

Platform size

The platform or lift car is limited to 21 square feet. If the platform is configured in a straight through application a 34x 54 inch (12.75 square foot) car size is often acceptable. If the site dictates adjacent access or a 90 degree turn, we recommend a larger platform to make the turn easier for the wheelchair user.

Constant Pressure

This is one of the major restrictions of the code. Public accessibility lifts are required to operate using constant pressure. This means you must hold the button in order for the lift to operate.

Commercial accessibility lifts

Enclosed lift with full height car

Capacity

Depending on the manufacturer, your vertical platform lift may have a 550, 750, 800, or 1000lb capacity. Some manufacturers make lifts than can accommodate up to  1400lb, but it should be questioned as to why you want this higher capacity, as there are limitations on platform size.  They may be  designed to accommodate an individual user in a wheelchair, or allow for an attendant as well. Your lift provider should make sure the platform size and capacity meet your specific needs while still satisfying code.

Hoist-way Construction

This work would typically be completed by a third party (not the lift supplier). Each lift will have specific criteria regarding the contractual requirements but it can be broken down into Enclosed and Unenclosed applications. The following documents explain the contractual requirements for each elevating device.

VPL Enclosed requirements for public applications

VPL Unenclosed requirements for public applications

For more information on commercial accessibility lifts click here

 

 

 

 

 

12Mar

Kinsmen Sno-Pitch supports Alberta Easter Seals and KidSport

by Andrew @ Uppercut

It’s that time of year again, longer days, warmer weather and the Okotoks Kinsmen  Sno-Pitch Kinsmen%20Snow%20Pitchtournament. This years event is scheduled for March 28th at Okotoks on Deck. Participants will enjoy a day full of ball, followed by a dinner and dance at the Okotoks Elks Hall .  The dance will feature the live band “Black Light” , so bring your dancing shoes. There will be lots of fun,  shenanigans, and a chance to spin “the Kin wheel of wonder” . If you have ever attended a Sno- Pitch you will know its all about having a good time. This is obvious when you read the tournament rules . Rules Sno Pitch Tournatment

The event is now in its 15th year and has raised well over $120,000.00 for local charities. This years’ benefactors with be KidSport and Alberta Easter Seals.

There is still room for a few teams, so if you or your company is interested please click below for more information

Snow Pitch.Kinsmen Info.2015

                                                                                        About the Kinsmen and Kin Canada

Mike-Brad%20Okotoks%20Kinsmen%20Feb%202015Kin Canada is an all-Canadian service organization. Through service projects and fundraisers, volunteers work together “serving the community’s greatest need.” As a proud member of the Kinsmen Club of Okotoks I have seen first hand what can be accomplished when a group of people pull together. If you would like more information on the Kinsmen or Kinettes  please click here

11Mar

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

by Andrew @ Uppercut

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

My career into the world of elevators and lifts started out as a technician, primarily installing and repairing residential lifts such as porch lifts. In my 17 years I have I have sold, repaired and maintained a multitude of different devices. I have leaned what products stand the test of time, and which ones fall short. The following is a list of things you should consider before you purchase a porch lift.

                                                                      Drive Mechanism

reslifts_5

 

There are really only two choices in Alberta , ACME  Screw drive or hydraulic. Both mechanisms are safe and incorporate the required safety redundancies, but there is a big difference when it comes to how they function in the cold weather. When hydraulic fluid gets cold it thickens, which can cause the porch lift to operate slower, or not function at all . For this reason (along with an increased costs) I would typically never offer a hydraulic unit in an outdoor application.

Features like a Zero Load Start will lessen the strain on your porch lift during the  initial start up. This offering allows the motor to cycle prior to picking up the load and lessens the chance of blowing  the house breaker. Having a device with a direct drive (no gearbox) will also aid in your lifts functionality during the cold weather.

 

 

Platform Size

Most manufacturers make several platform sizes so it is important that your quote specifies the

Trus-T-Lift™ unenclosed – Porch Lift

Trus-T-Lift™ unenclosed – Porch Lift

size that will meet your needs. While a 48″ long platform may meet a portion of the populations requirements, I recommend a platform the is 54″ long. This longer platform will be able to accommodate most wheelchair users and an attendant if necessary. Widths are pretty much standardized in the industry with a typical size being between 34″-36″. If your porch lift needs to be configured to have adjacent access or a 90 degree turn, it is important to have a platform size of 40″ wide x 54″ long. This will ensure that the individual using the device can make the turn with ease.

Solid or Steel Mesh Platforms

If you choose a porch lift with a solid (non-see though) platform you will be required to purchase a device with an under-pan sensor. This sensor is necessary to ensure that you will not crush objects that you can not see under the platform when moving in a downward direction. The good news about under-pan sensors is that they work. The bad news is they can be temperamental  and cause the lift not to run. I remember one of my first service calls; I was dispatched to a lift that had gone up but would not come back down. Upon examination I had discovered that the under-pan had dropped down as it is intended to do, but the plunger switches that monitor the pan were frozen in the engaged position. The lift “thought” there was an obstruction, and therefore would not operate in the downward direction. For this reason I prefer lifts that have steel mesh platforms where the user can see any obstructions below the lift. I find it to be a simpler solution to this safety concern. The mesh also allows the rain and snow to fall through the platform, lessening the chance for ice build up and platform warping.

                                                                                                   Controls

Upper landing gate

Upper landing gate

Due to code restrictions, residential lifts such as porch lifts or vertical platform lifts are required to operate under constant pressure. This means you have to hold the button for the lift to run. For this reason it is recommended that the buttons on the device are both large enough and easy to access. You want a control that does not protrude into the platform area like a joystick, as these are easily bent or broken if a  wheelchair user drives into it. You also need  a controller that is weather resistant will not become stuck. I prefer a “paddle style”  control with soft touch operation.

Site Preparation

This is the work required so that  your residential lifts provider can install your device safely. All porch lifts need some form of foundation for the device to be mounted to. This can be accomplished with a variety of methods but the most common would be concrete sidewalk blocks or a poured concrete pad. Next we need to ensure that there is no risk of a pinching hazard, so we ask that a sheer plate is added the deck side of the lift. Finally we need to minimize the risk of someone falling off the deck area if the lift is in the down position. An upper landing gate will need to  be constructed to meet this safety requirement. Another option would be to have your lift provider include a porch lift gate for an additional cost. For applications where the lift is directly in from of a door (like in a garage) we need to monitor the door with an interlock to ensure that the door will not open if the lift is not at that level.

More information on porch lifts and residential lifts can be found here

A complete list of contractual requirements can be found here —–> Porch Lift Contractor Requirements

A summery of this document can be found here ——>Porch lift features

You may qualify for the Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP) . Click here to download the application

 

9Mar

Planning for a Residential Elevator

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Home Elevators

Planning for a Residential Elevator

People install a residential elevator in new home construction for many reasons. Some folks implement an elevator into their design for luxury, others out of necessity, but the vast majority of people I see do it so they may age in place. It is very important to do your research and understand your options.  As the saying goes “if you fail to plan you plan to fail”. This statement certainly applies to your aging in place elevator. There are several factors you must consider to ensure that your home elevator will meet both your needs today, and in the future.

Elevator in home

Elevator in home

 

The first thing to consider is car or platform size. I have heard numerous times ” we don’t need the elevator to fit a wheelchair” , my answer is always “we hope for the best but plan for the worst” If you are going to the expense of adding an elevator to your home, we need to consider wheelchair accessibility. My experience working with home medical companies tells me that we need a minimum platform size of 34″ x 54″. Many standard platforms are 48″ long, please try to resist going with the smallest platform available.

Home elevator with a gate

Home elevator with a gate

Next we must decide on the aforementioned gates, elevator doors or light screens. As you travel in your home elevator we need to ensure that you cannot come into contact with the hoistway that houses the device. While all mechanisms will accomplish this, they vary in ease of use, aesthetics, and cost. An automatic elevator door is probably the most aesthetically pleasing and is very easy to use (it automatically opens and closes) but it is by far the most costly option. Next in the cost category would be an accordion gate. You won’t break the bank by adding gates to your residential elevator car, but they don’t have a great reputation when it comes to looks or ease of use – especially for wheelchair users. The final and most cost effective option would be a light curtain. This “virtual gate” ensures that if any object comes into contact with the residential elevator hoistway the elevator instantly stops. They operate using a series of light beams that shoot across the entrance way, if the beam is “broken” the elevator ceases to operate until the obstruction is removed and a floor is selected. From a wheelchair users perspective or anyone with limited mobility not having to reach back and close a gate eases the use of your home elevator.

Home elevator with a light curtain

Home elevator with a light curtain

Elevator in home Elevator car 1 e1424535547307 Home elevators residential lifts commercial lift

The best way to ensure all these points are considered is to consult a professional. Many elevator companies will offer no cost or obligation consultations. They should be able to address your needs and answer your questions prior to you paying a deposit or making a commitment. Don’t base your elevator design from the back of a brochure, or from a generic drawing. Remember, site specific drawings will ensure that your elevator will meet both your needs today and allow you to age in place.

For more information on a residential elevator call us today.

 

5Mar

Elevator and Residential Lifts Education Day

by Andrew @ Uppercut

Residential Lifts Education Day

Curved stair lift

Curved stair lift

We will be co-hosting an elevator and Residential Lifts education day with Medichair on March 25th. This will be an informative session where we will discuss the features and benefits of Residential Lifts and Residential Elevators. It will be informal and the floor will be open to ask questions.

Uppercut will be speaking about the benefits of Residential Lifts and will be available to discuss all products and services. Uppercut and Medichair offer the largest selection of Lifts and Elevators in Calgary and Edmonton. Be sure to visit our education day session to learn more about the benefits and to check out our great prices.

Our team offers the highest level of customer service in Calgary and Edmonton. We are a call away for any of your questions relating to our products and services. We offer onsite service and demos of our products and our team has decades of experience. Our education day will assist you select the best product for your home.

 

 

Trus-T-Lift™ Unenclosed - Porch Lift

Trus-T-Lift™ Unenclosed – Porch Lift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Residential Lift Topics covered will include:

Lunch will be provided from 12:00 – 12:30

The address and a map can be found here.

Everyone is welcome but space is limited so please register with Bonnie as soon as possible.

Bonnie Flick – bonnief@medi-options.com or 403.252.5366

This event will be hosted by Andrew Smith and Melanie Rorstad and a package dealing with product offerings on Residential Lifts and “ball park” pricing will be provided. Come visit us and learn more about our products and services. Our team is always here to help. Please be sure to call ahead to schedule time to visit as space will limited.

We hope to see you there!

 

3Mar

The Battle for Bailey

by Andrew @ Uppercut

battle pic

I’ve been thinking of writing my first blog entry for some time now, and finally am getting around to it. I have generated a list of topics such as choosing the correct drive mechanism, accessibility lift code requirements and all sorts of technical information chalked full of elevator speak.

 

This last weekend however, my blog priorities changed. My priorities changed.

11043158_10155224899595317_2653581506376285546_n I participated in a fundraiser titled the Battle for Bailey. We were trying to raise $15,000.00 to help out with the costs associated with cancer treatment for a teenage girl named Bailey. She’s a young lady of only 15 years and she is fighting the battle of her life.   I’ve never met her, but feel like I have. When people speak her name their eyes light up and their hearts swell with love. This is something we should all aspire to.

If love could cure cancer she would have a clean bill of health. This girl is loved beyond compare.

 

So the fundraiser was planned. The community rallied,  volunteers mobilized,  businesses donated their products; and we pulled it off.  We raised over $20,000.00, which I’m sure will be a welcome addition to the war chest assembled to fight this horrible disease.

The event was a night full laughter, tears, and love. But mostly love. Love for Bailey, love for each other, love for our little community. As the beer flowed and the music played I got to thinking “why has this cause had such an impact on me.” Then it hit me. While It felt great to be able to give this gift to the family,  I had received something that was much greater than my efforts.11046757_10155224896975317_211667181889292759_n

My faith in humanity was restored. I was seeing first hand the generosity of strangers. I was watching people do good with no personal gain on the horizon. I was witnessing the very best of mankind.

Life had thrown me a few curve balls over the last couple of years and I had become a bit cynical and jaded. This event cleansed my heart, and gave me a renewed purpose. I reconnected with my old service club (The Okotoks Kinsmen) and now feel more passionate than ever about helping others.

20150228_231047

Thank you to all the volunteers, musicians, businesses and service clubs that made this event such a great success, but most of all thank you Bailey. You have reignited a fire in me that I had thought was gone.

 

If anyone would like to donate to Bailey’s cause they can do so via PayPal

While my blog will still have the odd elevator article, I have chosen to use this forum to talk about all the good that’s going on out there. On that note; up next (March 28th) is the is the 16th annual Sno-Pitch tournament hosted by the Okotoks Kinsmen Club. Funds raised from this event will go towards Alberta Easter Seals and Kids Sport.

Be good to each other, and be a positive memory in someone’s life.

“Our legacy is not found in all the ‘stuff’ we’ve accumulated on our life’s journey. It’s written in the memories of those whose lives we’ve touched along the way.” ― Justin Young