Posts Tagged "elevator design"

22Oct

LULA Elevators (Limited use limited application) for Commercial Applications

by UppercutAndrew

LULA elevators are a great solution when an accessibility lift isn’t enough, but a passenger elevator is more than you need. As the title indicates LULA stands for Limited Use / Limited Application. By the very nature of the name it is obvious that this product does have  its limitations. While LULA elevators function in a similar manner to passenger elevators (automatic operation and sliding elevator doors) the following restrictions apply:

Car SizeLULA elevators

A LULA elevator can have maximum car size of 18 square feet. This restriction makes it impossible to accommodate a stretcher,  and therefore if this is a code requirement, a LULA is not a suitable option.

Speed

Your LULA elevator will operate at 30 feet/minute

Travel

In Alberta a LULA’s can travel up to 7.6 meters if there  is stretcher access already in the building. If not we are limited to 7 meters of travel. This typically limits a LULA elevator to 3 floors in a low rise building. If the device travels more than 7 meters it will be required to have fire service, just like a passenger elevator

Capacity

LULA’s typically have a maximum  capacity of 1400lbs

Benefits of a LULA include:

  • Less construction cost for the hoist-way (smaller pit, less load on the supporting wall etc.)
  • Smaller footprint (even less space required if you choose a MRL unit)
  • Lower cost for the equipment compared to a passenger elevator
  • Lower cost for maintenance compared to passenger elevators
  • Automatic operation and sliding elevator doors (functions and looks like a passenger elevator)

We often refer to a LULA   as a  hybrid between a commercial accessibility lift and a passenger elevator; therefore it  is a perfect solution for wheelchair access in low rise public  buildings where the use is limited.

For more information on LULA elevators, contact us or download our LULA Brochure

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts is proud to offer Made in Alberta solutions

 

 

 

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.

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

1Jun

LEED, LULA’s and Living Walls

by UppercutAndrew

RAM Recently completed the installation and commissioning of a Limited Use Limited Application (LULA) elevator for the  cutting edge   Mosaic Center, in Edmonton, AB.

What is a Limited Use Application Elevator? LULA Elevators are probably the best solution for low-rise buildings. They have many benefits over other full-size commercial elevators during build and installation & through the life of the elevator.

This marks the first time that RAM has been involved in a project where their commercial elevator  was used in a Commercial Net-Zero building. This is now one of the most Northern  LEED platinum-certified buildings in the world, which RAM is proud to be part of.

Along with the Platinum LEED designation, this Elevator features a living hoistway wall.

This project was recently   featured on the CBC. The interview can be found at the following link. CBC interview

More information on LULA Elevators can be found here

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

 

 

31Mar

Residential Elevators – What do they cost?

by UppercutAndrew
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.

 

 

 

 

16Mar

Commercial Accessibility Lifts – Understanding the Code and Approval Procedure

by UppercutAndrew
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

 

 

 

 

 

9Mar

Planning for a Residential Elevator

by UppercutAndrew
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

residential lifts

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.