Before You Buy An Elevator – These Are The Things To Consider

An elevator is an essential part of your structure and a long-term investment. To reduce the costs associated with the elevator as the building moves through its life cycle, a number of factors can be adjusted at the time of purchase.

1. Steer clear of exclusive control systems. New elevators frequently contain several proprietary parts or are entirely proprietary. If you install a proprietary control system, the installing contractor will likely be your sole choice of service provider. You more accurately estimate your true lift part suppliers life cycle costs, make sure to follow item 4 below. Obtaining affordable maintenance estimates is challenging or impossible when using proprietary elevator components. Other elevator contractors may have access to 3rd party tools and/or parts to maintain proprietary controls in certain situations 5 to 10 years after a new control system is deployed. Obtaining competitive maintenance quotes at this time might be achievable.

2. Steer clear of exclusive elevator designs. Many modern elevators are owned and operated exclusively. Many of the more recent “Machineroomless” elevators (MRLs) include so many exclusive parts that the entire elevator is practically exclusive. It is occasionally conceivable for a maintenance rival to buy the components, but this frequently comes at costs that are more than ten times higher than what a comparable component would be for a traditional elevator design. All the issues raised in Point 1 above still stand, in addition to the fact that more products will become outdated sooner and that aftermarket replacement components are typically not created because of the low demand. Some essential MRL parts recently went out of date before the elevator had even been in service for a year!

3. Obtain a pricing estimate for long-term maintenance in advance. In the elevator business, it’s typical practice to first sell a proprietary elevator to the general contractor for a low price and then to the building owner for a high maintenance fee. It is typically difficult or impossible for the building owner to find another maintenance provider who can adequately maintain the elevator when the equipment is proprietary. The building owner will subsequently be forced to sign a costly maintenance agreement. Examine and compare the installation and maintenance proposals before purchasing the elevator to prevent this issue. The decision regarding the elevator life-cycle cost will typically be improved by this method.

4. Evaluate the installing contractor’s service capabilities. Some installation contractors don’t offer 24-hour emergency assistance and don’t cover all of the country. These issues are especially difficult in Ontario when purchasing LULA (Limited Use Limited Application) elevators and handicap elevating equipment (accessibility lifts). Consult various maintenance references in the city where you plan to acquire an elevator before deciding whether to buy it. Ask about the service and response time if they have been utilizing the installing contractor’s maintenance services for five to ten years. Alternatively, to further understand any potential long-term servicing issues with any specific equipment, seek the guidance of a reputable local elevator service business. The more respectable elevator servicing businesses won’t mind sharing their experience with you because they typically have experience with a variety of equipment. Make sure you are satisfied with the standing and level of service of the maintenance company for the duration of the elevator controls (anywhere from 10 to 25 years depending on the equipment that you choose). In the elevator business, it is customary to sell the initial installation for or below cost and then make up the difference by selling pricey maintenance contracts.

5. Look into the reputation of extra fees and project delays. Extra fees in the range of 50% of the initial contract amount or more are not unusual with some installing firms. The majority of the installation contracts for other elevator contractors are typically completed on schedule and without additional fees. It is wise to inquire about which elevator contractors other building owners and general contractors prefer to engage with both for the installation and maintenance work. Because many of the delicate elements in the approval and installation procedure are not carefully and precisely followed by the elevator purchaser, projects frequently fall behind in the elevator sector. It then might be essential to pay for additional overtime work to make sure that the elevator is finished on schedule due to the lengthy manufacture and installation times for elevator equipment.

6. Look into the elevator’s anticipated moment of obsolescence. In their sales brochure, some manufacturers of elevator equipment make it very obvious that owners should prepare to spend a sizeable sum of money upgrading their elevators as soon as 10 to 15 years after installation. For some products towards the end of their life cycles, the timetables to obsolescence have historically been significantly shorter. Examine the assistance provided to their products in the past by various elevator manufacturers or elevator component manufacturers to get a sense of what to anticipate in the future. Some manufacturers have 25+ year obsolescence time frames that are expected and historically accurate. A maintenance service provider with no close affiliations to or shared ownership with any manufacturing firms can provide you with an independent assessment of the various manufacturers’ current support for legacy goods. Choosing an elevator with a longer life cycle may be the best choice you can make since the cost of a normal modernisation frequently ranges between 50% and 80% of the cost of a new elevator.

7. Provide sufficient elevators. Make sure to include enough elevators in your building’s design to accommodate all elevator users. If you anticipate heavy foot traffic entering and leaving each floor of your building, or if the majority of your residents will be elderly or have mobility concerns, you could require an additional elevator. In most circumstances, adding an additional elevator will ensure that you have at least one elevator available in the event of a malfunction and will enable service to upper floors to continue.

8. Examine how the elevator will be used. Any purchase decision involves weighing price versus performance, but once a building is made to accommodate a specific kind of elevating device, changing it may be next to impossible. The following are the most typical types of elevator use mistakes that building owners try to fix with their elevator repair providers (often no fix is achievable without outrageous costs):

• Choosing a LULA elevator over a traditional hydraulic passenger elevator will result in significant equipment and construction cost savings, but the LULA is limited by code to a relatively sluggish top speed.

• Opting to purchase a Vertical C Handicapped Lift rather than a LULA or an elevator – Vertical C lifts are not allowed to operate automatically (the button must be pressed continuously while in motion), and the necessary keys to use them must be controlled by building staff.

• Buying a Material Lift rather than a Freight Elevator: Material Lifts cannot run automatically (the button must be kept down while moving), and they typically move much more slowly than elevators.

• Opting for a stair chair lift or stair platform lift rather than a covered vertical elevating device. Stair lifts are open and have a lot of exposed equipment. Due to small vandalism by interested people having access to the equipment, this frequently leads to expensive service expenses. Due to the shame associated with utilizing them, these stairlifts are not frequently used. Many persons who have mobility issues would rather climb the stairs than ride the chair lift in public.

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