Posts Tagged "home accessibility"

14Sep

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts – Made in Alberta Solutions

by Andrew @ Uppercut

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

13Aug

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts opens up Edmonton office

by Andrew @ Uppercut

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

 

 

23Jun

Advantages of (Machine Room-less) MRL Elevators

by Andrew @ Uppercut

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 Andrew @ Uppercut

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

26May

Choosing a drive mechanism for your elevator

by Andrew @ Uppercut

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 Andrew @ Uppercut

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

 

 

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!