Installing an elevator is one of the most difficult jobs in contracting.
The reality is that it is not very hard but it is very tedious. There are a lot of steps and very few places where you can get information. The following is a simple how to guide on elevator installation. Some would ask why am I giving this information away. Now, you can go ahead and install your own elevator. Well I could also give you a step by step guide on how to remove a large skull base brain tumor but something tells me you are not going to want to run off and do that either. (FYI, I’m also a Stanford trained Neurosurgeon.)
Ok step one. Go back in time about 2 months and order an elevator. I wish this was a joke. Let me explain. The elevator install consists of the elevator shaft and all the electrical and plumbing and HVAC which may go with that and the car and rails. The car and rails are made by a few big multi billion dollar companies and things tend to happen slow. They all take 3-4 months to build the car for you. They are always delayed. You need to anticipate this and order the car early. These companies only sign a contract will a building owner. They do not sign deals with GC’s since this would be the equivalent of a distributor which they do not have. So, pick a good brand of elevator and order early. Work with your GC on this. IF your GC does not help you with this hire me and I will.
Next, make sure you have building plans with the city and make sure that you have a structural engineer for the elevator as well as a mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineer. You need to have plans reviewed with the fire marshal and you will need an alarm system company to connect the elevator to the alarm system.
Once the plans are approved the pit needs to be dug. You will need frames place and your structural engineer will need to inspect the frame prior to pouring concrete. The structural engineer will provide the concrete company with the required mix of concrete and you will need to order independent testing which will include a slump test.
One you have your pit you can place the sump pump and the oil water separator if you do not go electric. Hint, go electric. Then framing will begin. The frame will need to be inspected prior to any sheet rock. You can do block or wood frame with insulation and double wall type-x sheet rock. Each step must be inspected so you are looking at 3 to 4 inspections if you don’t mess things up.
Electricity needs to be brought to the elevator. There needs to be a separate mechanical cut off room which is also fire rated. You will need 3 phase power. This means if you don’t have 3 phase power you must call the local electrical company and get 3 transformers installed along with new conduit and cable to the building. The service in the building may need to be updated all the way to the elevator.
The elevator company should give you a punch list of things to do before the install. They will com by and look at the shaft and give it a blessing.
Then you wait.
The company gives you a date and they show up and install the elevator in the shaft. Make sure to put safety nets around each floor opening with pearl weave netting. It is 200$ per roll and can only be found at an elevator supply store. The install begins and then you wait and watch.
One it is installed you get another punch list. You must now finish out everything including flooring around the elevator, running man signs, fire extinguishers etc. They should give you a punch list. If they don’t your GC will know this list because he has done it before. Please note, you will probably have to pay the elevator company to move the elevator up an down for a day while you do some finish out. Try to get this negotiated in the initial contract.
Once you are ready the elevator will com out and do a make ready and tune up for inspection. The guys are very good with this and it makes them looks bad too if you don’t pass. As long as you try hard they will usually do with it take to get you ready. In other words if they guys says I need you to run out and get a roll of pink tape with sparkles, don’t ask, just do it.
THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! Make sure that you tell the plumbing, electrical, HVAC, alarm, Framing guys, etc. to be ready to work that day. Make sure they get how important this is. If they have to add a light on the 4th floor landing because the lumens are not high enough you need to have an electrician ready to go. If the plumber did not connect the one way valve in the sump pump pipe you will have an issue. This needs to be fixed because TDLR is coming the next day. All elevator companies will charge you for another inspection and make ready if you fail this test. The floor as to be level with the edge of the car so have the flooring guy ready too!
Usually the next day TDLR will do the inspection. They will ride the elevator. They will ride on top of the elevator. They will do things to an elevator you did not think were possible.
With luck you pass.
For more information give Team Z a call!