Posts Tagged "designing an accessible home"

3Nov

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts – A local company serving the entire province of Alberta

by UppercutAndrew

What makes a company local? It is my belief that to be truly local your company needs to encompass the following principles:

LOCAL OWNERSHIPAlberta-flag

It’s not good enough to have a local manager or even a local owner that has other interests and doesn’t make the time to come into the office every day. Local owners answer the phone, deal with client concerns directly, and treat their staff fairly. After all, the owner sets the standard as to how the business operates. We believe in being accountable, fair and ethical. At Uppercut Elevators and Lifts, ownership is present every day  to make sure this standard is met.

OFFICES IN BOTH CALGARY AND EDMONTON

Believe is or not there are some companies that would mislead you into believing they are local because they have a PO box and a sales person who is willing to travel to your city on occasion. We believe in hiring the best local individuals who are able to participate and give back to the communities where they work and live. We believe it is imperative that local staff  are available to meet with you on your schedule not “when they are in town next”. We are proud to have offices in both Calgary and Edmonton, that are staffed with local employees.

LOCAL PRODUCTS

Our Elevators and Vertical Platform Lifts are manufactured in Alberta by Albertans. In these tough economic times, it only makes sense to support the business and tax base where we live.

PROUD TO BE LOCAL

We are pleased to be able to service the entire province of Alberta with our  superior elevator and lifting product line. We know we can accommodate  the needs of our clients better if we hire local representatives, and ownership is present to steer the ship in the right direction. We are proud to be a truly local company operating in Alberta.

 

For more information on our products click here

To find a local representative click here

You can find our products installed in Cold Lake, Edmonton, Drumheller, Red Deer, Strathmore, Calgary, Okotoks, High River, Lethbridge, Vulcan, Brooks, Olds, Medicine Hat, and all across the great province of  Alberta

 

14Sep

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts – Made in Alberta Solutions

by UppercutAndrew

As a proud Albertan company, Uppercut Elevators and Lifts believe in supporting our local economy, so it makes sense to buy local whenever possible. For this reason, all  the  elevators and vertical platform lifts we purchase  are manufactured here in Alberta (Edmonton).

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts

We also believe in the importance of  local ownership. Owners that are present and active within the business, in my opinion, are able to better understand the unique needs of their clients. My own experience spans 17 years, many of which I have been a managing owner. In this time I have learned the value of getting to know my clients and gained the perspective to provide them with the best possible solution.

If you make the claim that you are local, you need to back it up with infrastructure and staff that actually live in the communities they work. We are not proponents of “parachuting” in staff which is reflected by the fact we have offices in both Calgary and Edmonton. These offices are fully staffed with skilled employees and are prepared to serve you in a timely fashion.

This commitment to being truly local is represented in our mission statement:

Our Mission

To provide a local solution using superior products and services for all your residential elevator and commercial accessibility lift needs. We adhere to the values of accountability, flexibility, and attention to detail to ensure the best possible consumer experience.  

You can find our elevators and lifts installed throughout the province including major centers such as Lethbridge, Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton.

For more information on a local solution to your residential elevator or commercial accessibility lifts needs please click here.

You can also reach us via the phone:

Calgary Office 403.519.3186

Edmonton Office 587.597.9959

11Sep

Free Tickets to the Calgary Home + Design Show

by UppercutAndrew

The Calgary Home and Design Show is just around the corner, and we would love to see you there!

The show runs from September 17th – 20th at the BMO Center. Show hours are:

Thursday – 4pm-9pm20150227_141223

Friday – noon – 9pm

Saturday – 10am – 9pm

Sunday 10am – 6pm

We have 4 sets of tickets to give away to the first 4 people to email Andrew – Simple as that!

Send Andrew an e-mail and the tickets are yours.

We are located in booth #324 so stop by and say hello.

13Aug

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts opens up Edmonton office

by UppercutAndrew

cathie @ uppercut elevators and liftsWe are thrilled to announce the addition of Cathie Dishaw to our Uppercut Elevators and Lifts team. She will be heading up the sales in our newly established Edmonton office. Cathie brings with her an impressive resume that includes the sales and project management of residential elevators and commercial accessibility lifts. She has been in the industry for over 11 years and her experience includes the sales of passenger elevators, material lifts and dumbwaiters, along with the aforementioned residential elevators and commercial accessibility lifts.

Cathie has a reputation for putting her clients first, which fits in well with the Uppercut culture. Her caring nature ensures that the needs of her clients are met, while providing them with a cost-effective solution. This long time Edmontonian has deep roots in the city and is passionate about providing local solutions to meet your accessibility and elevator needs.

We look forward to expanding our business into the Edmonton area and know that Cathie’s experience can lead the way!

Cathie can be contacted at 587.597.9959 or you can find her on LinkedIn

 

 

16Jul

Custom Glass Elevators

by UppercutAndrew

We recently completed a custom glass elevators project that started out with many unique challenges . We were asked to install a glass elevator within a spiral staircase. The device could not utilize a pit as there was in-floor heating, nor did they want to give up space for a machine room. These requirements alone can create  issues due to space and functionality, but when paired with the request of a glass car and hoistway,  the challenge was multiplied.

Door open in glass elevator

Door open in glass elevator

 

 

My first call was to RAM Manufacturing where their engineering team had to determine if we could even fit the device in such a small space. After a bit of deliberation, the design included a pie shaped platform utilizing a traction counterweight drive mechanism. This elevator featured a machine room-less drive and had a low profile car floor so we did not need a pit. In order to preserve space, we incorporated an off-board controller that was located in a room beside the elevator enclosure. These features made it possible for us to maximize the elevator car, and create a functional elevator that can accommodate 2 people with an 800lb capacity.

 

Now that we knew that we could physically fit the device in the stairway core, we need to address the  request of having as much glass in the elevator as possible. We did this at the client’s request in order to maintain an “open view” through the stairway core.

The car was designed to have wood panelling to match  home décor on the controller wall, with curved glass surrounding the rest of the car area. The doors were made entirely of glass  with a stainless steel trim. To these doors, we incorporated our interlocks for safety. The contractor then fabricated  glass panels held together with stainless steel “clips”. These panels served as the elevator hoistway or shaft.

The end result was an unobstructed view where you could look straight through the elevator on the upper floors. We maintained the look of the home without taking up any valuable square footage and avoided a costly addition. All in all, we are very pleased with this project and look forward to many more custom elevators in the future.

 

For more information on custom elevators please contact Uppercut Elevators and Lifts

23Jun

Advantages of (Machine Room-less) MRL Elevators

by UppercutAndrew

This article is not referring to passenger elevators and is intended to discuss the advantages of MRL Elevators in a residential or commercial accessibility lift setting. A machine room-less elevator or an MRL Elevator is a device that typically houses the drive mechanism at the top of the hoistway. By doing this the need for a machine room is eliminated, as the entire device is contained within the elevator footprint.MRL elevator

Units that require a machine room( like most hydraulic drives) will also require the electrical and hydraulic hoses to run through a wall from the machine room to the elevator hoistway. In cases where the machine room is not adjacent to the elevator, a remote machine room will be required.  This can be costly and create logistical problems with the running of hydraulic hose through the floor, ceiling or in the walls. It also poses several maintenance concerns; What if a hose ran through a ceiling for instance and it starts to leak? Will it be possible to do a scheduled hose replacement? What type of ongoing costs should you expect in this application? This is a definite advantage of an MRL, having the entire elevator in one contained space.

The second advantage is quite simple; with an MRL elevator, you do not have to allocate the additional space to house the drive mechanism. Depending on the drive system and whether the installation is residential or commercial (B-355),  a machine room could require anywhere from 12  to 20 square feet.  This is space that could be used for storage, a larger elevator car, or a revenue opportunity (like a couple of extra tables in a restaurant).

Finally look at all the costs associated with constructing that machine room. If you think about it,  its equivalent to the cost of half the elevator hoistway  (2 stop). On top of the basic room construction, you will need to provide lighting, possible drains, sump pumps or oil separators, additional sprinkler/smoke detectors, and an additional door (fire rated in a public application).  These costs can add up quickly, and should be considered when calculating the overall cost of the elevator.

To recap MRL Elevator units will:

  • Save you money when it comes to maintenance
  • Require less space
  • Reduce the initial cost of construction

For more information on Commercial MRL Elevators click here For more information on Residential MRL Elevators click here

19Jun

Comparing Porch Lift Features

by UppercutAndrew

When choosing a porch lift supplier it is important to do a detailed  comparison to ensure that the specifications of each product and company match.

Areas where discrepancies can occur include:

  • Standard platform size – You should note that not all manufactures make a standard platform the will accommodate a larger wheelchair or scooter. This is sometimes a costly upgrade so it needs to be discussed up front.

 

  •  Finish – Some lifts are painted while others come with a durable powder coated finish. Remember to ask about the costs associated with powder coating your lift.

 

  • Capacity – 750lbs seems to be the industry standard but there are still some 550lb capacity lifts on the market

 

  • Cold weather operation – Some porch lifts require the addition of an outdoor package. If your lift is exposed to the elements make sure it has this provision or a feature like a “Zero load start”  to ensure your lift operates in cold temperatures

 

  • Safety features – Ask about the safety record of the lift. Does it have a fall arrest system, platform kick plate, and easy to access manual lowering device?

 

  • Where you buy – This is hard to quantify at the time of purchase, but it must be considered when making your decision. An indication of the type of company you are dealing with may be given by the sales person. Did they return your call promptly? Did they offer to come out and meet with you, or did they just send a quote? Were they prepared with brochures, and was the quote they provided comprehensive? How many people do they employ, and do they have the resources to service your porch lift if needed?

For more information on porch lifts, including funding and site preparation requirements please click here

TrustT Porch Lift Features

5Jun

New Government Funding for Home Accessibility

by UppercutAndrew
Home AccessibilityThe government is proposing a new, non-refundable home accessibility tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities that will provide tax relief of 15 per cent, up to $10,000 of eligible expenditures per calendar year, per individual, to a maximum of $10,000 per dwelling. The credit could be used on costs incurred to renovate or alter a home in order to provide better access to or inside the dwelling. Items could include vertical platform lifts ,wheelchair ramps, stairlifts (or stair chair lifts) as well as exterior porch lifts. The program would also cover home elevators if they are installed due to an accessibility need.
                                                             
residential lifts
The information is listed on page 245 of the budget

 

26May

Choosing a drive mechanism for your elevator

by UppercutAndrew

While many of our clients seem to spend a lot of time selecting elevator car finishes and aesthetic options , very little time appears to be allocated to discussing the drive mechanism. I can’t really blame them; after all talking about what moves that fancy box you just designed can seem  quite boring.  We however, feel it is important for our clients to get as much information as possible, especially when it concerns such an important aspect like the drive of your elevator.

In this blog I will be discussing the strengths and weakness of the following drive mechanisms.

  • Hydraulic
  • Traction Counter Weight

Hydraulic

This system utilizes a pump motor and oil reservoir, to force hydraulic fluid through a hose to a cylinder. The pump motor and reservoir are usually located in a separate machine room. If you areHydraulic Drive unable to provide a  borehole at the bottom of the pit you can use a roped hydraulic system.

Strengths

  1. Price point for the equipment will be in the mid-range when comparing other drives
  2. Machine room is easily accessible for servicing
  3. Manual lowering is inside the machine room
  4. Smooth ride and landing function providing the valve settings are adjusted correctly
  5. Usually, incorporates battery lowering in  the standard product offering
  6. Many manufacturers to choose from

 

Weaknesses

  1. A machine room will be required which equates to extra construction costs
  2. Hydraulic fluid temperature can affect performance
  3. Typically a pit of 8″ – 14″ is required
  4. Some jurisdictions may require a pit drain and an oil separator to ensure leaking fluid can’t enter the water table
  5. Power consumption will be 2-3 times higher than a traction counterweight system – Therefore more ongoing costs
  6. Maintenance costs on hydraulic units will be 2- 4 times  higher (over a 10 year period) due to the potential of leaks and issues with valves , gaskets, and the pump.
  7. Variable usage patterns can accelerate fluid degeneration
  8. If hydraulic fluid leaks there is the potential for the smell to permeate throughout the building
  9. Levelling and re-adjusting (anti-creep) issues

Traction Counter Weight

A traction counterweight drive operates the elevator by having  the mass of a series of  weights counter the elevator car and its occupants. If the user selects a command the elevator motor powers a cable (through a sheave) past the balance point and the device travels at a regulate rate in that direction.

   Strengths  

  1. Lower power consumption than hydraulic or winding drum systemsHome elevator
  2. Minimal  maintenance due to simple design with lower repair costs
  3. No machine room required
  4. Minimal 3″ pit required (or no pit at all with a small threshold ramp)
  5. No worry of hydraulic leaks or smells over the life of the elevator
  6. Variable speed drive for soft stop and start
  7. Low standby power
  8. Minimal issues with levelling even with variable capacities

Weaknesses

  1. Typically the equipment cost will be 10% – 15% higher than Hydraulic units (overall cost may be less when you consider construction and maintenance)
  2. Access to the motor is at the top of the hoistway (for the service technician)
  3. Manual lowering crank is accessed from the top landing
  4. Auto car lowering (similar to battery back-up) can be added for an additional cost
  5. Not a lot of manufacturers to choose from in the Alberta marketplace

A PDF summary of this document can be found here ——> Hydraulic vs Traction

15Apr

What’s the difference between a residential elevator and a residential vertical platform lift

by UppercutAndrew

The short answer is vertical platform lifts are typically installed due to an immediate accessibility requirement, while elevators are usually incorporated for luxury or ageing in place purposes. Of course, there are always exceptions, so it is important to understand the limitations  and features of each device.

Trus-T-Lift™ enclosed – Vertical platform lift

Trus-T-Lift™ enclosed – Vertical platform lift

Code

While residential elevators and lifts are not inspected in Alberta, there are governing codes that exist. Elevators fall under the B-44 code while accessibility lifts are built to meet the B-613 code. Ultimately it is these codes that provide the distinction between the products.

Constant pressure or automatic operation

Elevators utilize automatic operation, while a lift will require that you hold the button for the device to function. Holding the button or constant pressure operation limits your risk for pinching or shearing hazards. I go into more detail below.

Elevator car or lift platform

An elevator will always have an enclosed car usually complete with a ceiling. Your entrances will have either a light curtain, accordion gate or a sliding elevator door. This is due to the above mentioned automatic operation. A lift, on the other hand, will have an “open platform” so the hoistway around you is exposed, thus the requirement for constant pressure operation.

 

 

Speed 

Lifts will have an operating speed of 8ft/min – 18ft/min. An elevator usually functions between 20ft/min – 40ft/min.

Capacity

Crystal – Residential Elevator

Crystal – Residential Elevator

Capacity usually isn’t a factor as platform sizes are limited, but lifts will start at 550lbs (most are 750lbs) and elevators will range from 800lbs – 1400lbs.

Flexibility and features

While I have installed  some pretty fancy lifts in my time, most of the  upgrades people look for are usually only offered with an elevator purchase. These can include, automatic homing, hands-free phone systems, and custom interior finishes. We can usually make an elevator fit into the desired space while a lift is more of a “cookie cutter” design.

Cost

For the purpose of comparison let’s use a 2 stop with 10′ of travel, and entrances on the same side. A lift will cost you approximately $13,000.00 and an elevator will land around the $17,000.00 mark.

This obviously is general information and is based on specific product offerings, but should give you the tools to differentiate between an elevator and a lift.

Drawings and the corresponding site preparation for these devices can be found here

More information on residential elevators can be found here

More information on residential lifts can be found here