Elevators are a long-term investment and a necessary component of every construction. There are a number of factors that can be controlled at the time of purchase to reduce the cost of the elevator as the building’s life cycle develops.
1. Prevent the use of proprietary control systems. Many new elevators are either proprietary or have a large number of private components. If you install a proprietary control system, the only service provider you’ll have is the contractor who installed it. Follow item 4 below to get a more accurate assessment of your genuine elevator life cycle expenses. Obtaining competitive maintenance quotes for proprietary elevator components is difficult, if not impossible. In some circumstances, 5 to 10 years after the introduction of a new control system, other elevator contractors can use 3rd party tools and/or parts to maintain proprietary controls. It may be able to obtain competitive maintenance quotes at this time.
2. Stay away from elevator designs that are exclusive to a single company. Many of the new elevators are self-contained. Many contemporary “Machineroomless” elevators (MRLs) feature so many proprietary components that the elevator as a whole is effectively proprietary. It is occasionally possible for a maintenance competitor to purchase the components, however this is frequently at costs that are more than ten times the cost of a comparable component in a traditional elevator design. All of the difficulties raised in point 1 apply; additionally, more things are likely to become obsolete sooner, and aftermarket replacement parts are frequently unavailable due to low demand. Some essential MRL components have recently become obsolete before the elevator has even been in service for a year!
3. Get a fixed pricing for long-term maintenance up front. In the lift spare parts industry, it’s standard practice to sell a proprietary elevator to a general contractor for a low price and then offer an overpriced maintenance contract to the building owner. When it comes to proprietary equipment, finding another maintenance firm who can effectively service the elevator is frequently difficult, if not impossible. The building owner is therefore left with no alternative except to accept a high-cost maintenance contract. Examine and analyze both the installation and maintenance proposals before purchasing the elevator to avoid this issue. This method almost always results in a better elevator life-cycle cost decision.
4. Examine the installing contractor’s service capabilities. Some installation companies do not provide emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and do not service certain areas. These issues are especially difficult in Ontario when it comes to purchasing LULA (Limited Use Limited Application) elevators and elevating equipment for the disabled (accessibility lifts). Talk to some maintenance references in the same city where you’re buying an elevator before making a decision. If they’ve been utilizing the installing contractor’s maintenance services for 5 to 10 years, inquire about their service and response time. Alternatively, seek the guidance of a reputable local elevator service business to help you comprehend any potential long-term service issues with any specific equipment. Elevator servicing businesses typically have a wide range of equipment experience, and the more trustworthy ones would gladly share their knowledge with you. Make sure you are satisfied with the maintenance provider’s reputation and service for the life of the elevator controls (anywhere from 10 to 25 years depending on the equipment that you choose). In the elevator industry, it is typical practice to sell the initial installation at or below cost, then make up the difference by selling expensive maintenance agreements.
5. Look into the company’s reputation for extra expenses and project delays. Extra costs in the range of 50% of the initial contract amount or higher are not uncommon with some installing contractors! Other elevator companies consistently finish the bulk of their installation contracts on time and without additional fees. It’s a good idea to speak with other building owners and general contractors to find out which elevator companies they prefer to work with for both installation and maintenance. Many projects in the elevator industry fall behind schedule because the elevator purchaser does not follow many of the delicate elements in the approval and installation process attentively and precisely. Because elevator equipment has such extensive manufacture and installation schedules, it may be required to pay for additional overtime work to ensure that the elevator is completed on time.
6. Research the elevator’s projected term of obsolescence. In their sales brochures, some elevator equipment manufacturers indicate unequivocally that owners should expect to pay significant money to upgrade their elevators in as little as 10 to 15 years after they are built. Some goods nearing the end of their life cycles have had even shorter paths to obsolescence in the past. Examine the history of various elevator manufacturers and elevator component manufacturers to discover how they have supported their products in the past to get a sense of what to expect in the future. There are some manufacturers with obsolescence time lines in the 25+ year range, both historically and forecasted. Consulting with a maintenance service firm that has no strong affiliations or cross ownership with any manufacturing companies would provide you with an unbiased view of the various manufacturers’ current support for older goods. Because the cost of a normal modernization is often 50 percent to 80 percent of the cost of a new elevator, selecting an elevator with a longer life cycle may be the best option.
7. Make sure there are enough elevators. Make sure your building has enough elevators to accommodate the number of people who will use them. If you anticipate a high volume of traffic in and out of each floor, or if your building will primarily accommodate the elderly or individuals with mobility challenges, you may require an additional elevator. In most circumstances, adding second elevator will ensure that you have at least one elevator in the event of a malfunction, allowing service to continue to higher floors.
8. Examine the elevator’s intended use. In any purchase decision, there are always price versus performance trade-offs, but once a facility is built to accommodate a specific type of elevating device, changing it may be nearly hard. The following are the most typical types of elevator use errors that building owners seek assistance with from their elevator repair companies (usually no solution is achievable without expensive costs):
• Buying a LULA elevator instead of a traditional hydraulic passenger elevator — The LULA saves money on equipment and construction, but the code limits its maximum speed to a crawl.
Why Purchasing a Vertical C Handicapped Lift rather than a LULA or an elevator – Vertical C lifts are not permitted to run automatically (the button must be held consistently while in motion) and must be controlled by building personnel.
• Buying a Material Lift rather than a Freight Elevator – Material Lifts are not allowed to run automatically (the button must be held down at all times while in motion), and they are often significantly slower than elevators.
Why Buying a stair chair lift or a stair platform lift instead of a vertical elevating device that is enclosed – Stair lifts are out in the open, and much of their machinery is visible. Due to small vandalism caused by curious people having access to the equipment, this frequently results in expensive service expenses. Because of the shame associated with utilizing these stair gadgets, they are rarely used. Many persons who have mobility issues would rather struggle up the stairs than ride in a chair lift.