Posts Tagged "Wheelchair lift"

13Jan

Calgary Renovation Show

by Andrew @ Uppercut

We are pleased to announce that we will be attending the Calgary  Renovation Show this weekend. We will be right by the front entrance in booth number 149, so come on by and find out how you can make your home accessible. We have a wide variety of accessibility solutions that include everything from stair lifts to home  elevators.

residential lifts residential elevator Wessex going through floor home elevator 1 glass elevator commercial lift Stratus Elevator TrustT Platform Lift gallery SRE 3000 07 small glass elevator car floor

The show dates are:

Friday January 13th – noon – 9pm

Saturday January 14th 10am-9pm

Sunday January 15th 10am -6pm

The show is down at the BMO Center and we have a few pairs of tickets to give away. If you would like free tickets please email Andrew to get the details

 

 

 

29Apr

Uppercut partners with Hearts & Hammers to create an accessible home

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Community Home Accessibility

Accessible Home Solutions

Some days are problematic and quite frankly can be  difficult,  but not yesterday – yesterday was a joy. We were fortunate to be able to team up with the good folks at Hearts & Hammers to make a home wheelchair accessible for a Calgary family. Our scope of work was relatively simple, as we were asked to  provide a porch lift to gain access to the home. This basic porch lift installation was completed in about an hour, but this in no way depicts the effort and time put in by the Hearts & Hammers construction crew. Weeks before, this dedicated group of contractors did some pretty extraordinary modifications to the home.  They  completed a bathroom renovation  to make the space wheelchair accessible, replaced the carpet with laminate flooring, and widened several doorways. They also did all the site preparation to accommodate  the new RAM  Trus-T-Lift™ we installed

Heart9 Heart7 Accessibility Lifts Heart4 Heart3 Heart1 Heart6 TrustT Lift Features

If you would like more information on Hearts & Hammers or would like to make a donation please visit their website

10Mar

Evacuation and battery back up options for your residential elevator

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Home Elevators

I think humans by nature have a fear of being trapped in an elevator and therefore I usually don’t get through a sales meeting without one of the two following questions being asked:

  1. What do I do if the elevator gets stuck?
  2. What happens if the power goes out?

Both questions are valid and fortunately, we have a variety of solutions that can ease these fears.

I would start by saying that one thing you can do to guarantee piece of mind is having your elevator properly maintained by a factory trained technician. The second thing would be to ensure there is a phone in your elevator so you can call for help if necessary.

Ok, now back to the easing your fears about getting stuck in that elevator. The following are standard and optional features that can allow for a safe evacuation from your elevator.

Manual lowering (or raising)  

All devices that I am aware of have some form of manual lowering. Hydraulic units typically will have a button in the machine room that will open up a hydraulic valve and lower you at a regulated rate. Fluid is released from the cylinder, back into the reservoir. Of course, this means you can only be lowered and never raised, even if you need to get out at the upper level which is merely inches away.  Traction counter weight and ACME Screw drives utilize a gear reduced crank that allows you to be moved in both an upward and downward direction. The obvious benefit here is, in the event of a flood or fire you may not necessary want to be evacuated to the lowest level as the exit to your home may be on levels 2, 3 or 4.

Emergency Battery lowering

Battery lowering is useful in the event of a power failure where your major concern is simply being able to exit the elevator. As the name indicates the elevator will only continue to operate in the downward position. The intention is to have you safely evacuate the device at the lowest level.

Battery Backup (or DC operation)

IMG_2230

This term is sometimes confused with Emergency battery lowering. A vendor may tell you “all our units have battery back-up” but they may be referring to the ability to lower only via an emergency battery system (see above). Battery backup or DC operation means that there is a battery system in place that  allows the elevator to function when the power is out. A true battery operated system will allow the user to have  uninterrupted use in the event of a power failure. The device will travel both up and down, and be able to complete 30-40 cycles while the mains power is out. This system can function using a variety of methods, but a unit like the RAM Crystal or Stratus switches between AC and DC power depending on the remaining charge in the batteries. This option gives you true piece of mind if you are reliant on your elevator due to an  accessibility need.

The interlocks on residential elevators and lifts will have a tool that allows you to open the door(from the outside) regardless if the lock is energized or where the car is located. I would, however, caution you to never crawl out of a device that is between floors unless it is absolutely necessary (life or death situation) . Your first  line of defence is to always call your elevator provider as soon as you experience an issue.

 

I would like to close by saying that getting trapped in your home elevator or lift is extremely rare. In my 18 years of experience and hundreds of elevator installations,  I can count only a handful of entrapments that required a technician to rescue an individual.

 

For more information on residential or commercial devices contact us anytime and we will be happy to answer your questions

 

 

9Nov

Commercial accessibility lifts, and their limitations under the B-355 code

by Andrew @ Uppercut

Commercial accessibility lifts are a cost  effective solution when it comes to making public buildings accessible. Vertical platform lifts or VPL’s can eliminate barriers for wheelchair users or those faced with mobility issues. Their relatively small footprint and minimal contractual requirement make them ideal for existing public buildings where accessibility is a concern. They do however have their limitations under the B-355 code, which they are inspected.

IMG_9377

Enclosed lift

The first consideration is platform size. Public accessibility lifts are mandated to have a platform that is no greater the 21 square feet. A typical “large” wheelchair lift would have a 48″x 60″platform. This size of platform is big enough to accommodate a wheelchair user doing a 90-degree turn. A more common size would be in the range of 34″ x 54″ where the user enters and exits on the same side, or travels through the platform and exits on the opposite side.

Next, we must look at the  travel restrictions that are imposed within the code. Enclosed  B-355 accessibility lifts can travel no more than 7000mm or 23.1 feet. Unenclosed wheelchair lifts can travel up to 2500mm or 98.25″. Enclosed units will require a hoistway constructed around the device with a door at the lower landings and the minimum of  a gate at the uppermost landing. Unenclosed units travelling more than 500mm (19.65″) will require a gate or a door at the upper landing. It should be noted that any lift penetrating a floor will be required to be an enclosed vertical platform lift needing a hoist-way constructed.

The weight capacity  of wheelchair accessibility lifts varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most unenclosed vertical platform lifts have a capacity of either 550lbs or 750lbs. Enclosed units usually have a capacity  somewhere between 750lbs – 1400lbs.

 

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Unenclosed lift

 

 

Perhaps the biggest drawback of public accessibility lifts is the requirement for them to operate using constant pressure. This simply means you must hold the button for the device to operate. This is partially due to the fact the lift platform has no gate or sliding elevator door.

As universal accessibility for all members of society  is now considered the norm , the popularity of these barrier free lifts has increased. You can find barrier-free accessibility lifts  in most schools, community centres and places of worship.

 

For more information on commercial accessibility lifts please contact us for a free consultation

 

 

 

 

 

22Oct

LULA Elevators (Limited use limited application) for Commercial Applications

by Andrew @ Uppercut

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

 

 

 

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

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