Monthly Archives: November 2015

Common Misconceptions about Installing a Home Elevator

home elevator misconceptionsAt Nationwide Lifts, we have installed thousands of elevators in customers’ homes. Many people would love to have the convenience of a home elevator to improve mobility but are unsure if they have enough space. We have found that many homeowners have some common misconceptions, so we decided to take the time to clarify a few points.

One of the biggest sources of confusion is the amount of space required to install a home elevator. When people think of installing a typical elevator that is 36” wide and 48” deep, they often think that is all the space they will need. However, that is not the case. We also need space for rails, gates, and running clearances. The actual amount of space needed to install a 36” x 48” elevator is 52” wide and 54” deep.

There is one other important point to keep in mind. These 52” x 54” dimensions are for clear space in a finished shaft. If you are building new walls for the elevator, you will need to plan on framing and sheetrock. In most cases, these require an additional 5” per wall, which means that building a new elevator shaft will require a space 62” wide and 64” deep.

Many people look at these numbers and rule out the possibility of installing an elevator in their home. What they don’t realize, however, is that many home elevators require only a very small footprint. For example, the Vision 450 can fit in a space that is just 37” in diameter. It can fit nearly anywhere because of the integrated hoistway and compact cab design.

Seattle’s Space Needle May Upgrade Elevators and Other Features

Space Needle elevator upgradesSeattle’s iconic Space Needle may soon be getting a face-lift. The company that owns the site presented a plan on November 13 to Seattle’s Landmark Preservation Board that calls for changes to the elevators and observation deck.

The Space Needle has three elevators that weigh 14,000 pounds each. They have a capacity of 4,500 pounds or 25 people, and the counterweights weigh 40 percent more than the elevators weigh when fully loaded. Each elevator has seven cables, but a single cable is capable of supporting the entire weight of an elevator.

Two of the elevators can travel at speeds of 10 miles per hour, or 800 feet per minute. It takes 43 seconds to travel from ground level to the top-house. Under high wind conditions, the elevators travel at speeds of 5 miles per hour. The third elevator is used mostly for freight but is occasionally used to transport passengers.

The plans would improve wheelchair access and upgrade the elevators. Two double-stacked elevators would be added.

The company also proposes replacing the metal security cables on the observation deck enclosure with a glass barrier to improve 360-degree views of the city and eliminate the feeling of being caged in. It proposes installing floor-to-ceiling windows on the restaurant and observation deck levels with electrochromic glass that could be dimmed electronically to reduce glare and regulate temperatures. The revolving restaurant’s floor mechanism would be replaced, and glass would be placed in some parts of the restaurant’s floor to give patrons a view of Seattle Center beneath them.

The Space Needle needs to submit an application and respond to recommended changes. It will probably have to meet with the architectural review committee several times before it meets with the full board. The board must approve the changes because the Space Needle was designated a landmark in 1999.

The renovations would be paid for with private money. The company’s chief executive did not give an estimated cost but said it would probably exceed $20 million. If the plan is approved, it will be the largest reinvestment in the Space Needle since it was constructed in 1962.

Emergency Communications System Requirements for Elevators

elevator telephone ADAAn elevator phone in a building that was constructed or renovated after July 1994 must comply with all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Elevators may also need to comply with state, ASME, and IBC codes. An elevator communications system that does not meet these codes is not compliant.

Each elevator does not need to have its own dedicated phone line to be code-compliant. Line sharing can be effective and can reduce costs. If set up properly, the phones should party line together so that each elevator cab and the monitoring station can communicate. When each phone is activated, it should send a signal that identifies it so that an operator can locate the caller and call back into the elevator if necessary, as required by the ADA.

In order to test your elevators and make sure they are compliant, activate at least two telephones at or around the same time. Each phone should be able to carry on a two-way conversation with an emergency operator. The phones fail the test if only one or none of the calls goes through, one call connects but is disconnected when the second call is placed, the phones do not dial out, or the calls are completed but the parties are unable to hear each other.

The ADA requires that telephones in elevators be accessible to people with disabilities. People who are speech- or hearing-impaired may not be able to tell an operator their location. Telephones should therefore be equipped with voice location message recording or caller ID. The operator should be able to identify the caller’s location and cab number, as required by the ASME. If the operator cannot do so, the communications system fails the test.

Emergency responders should be able to call directly back to an elevator without an “intentional delay.” Routing through a switchboard or auto-attendant is not an option. Emergency responder phones are usually located at a guard station on the main egress level or in a fire control room. If the emergency responder phone cannot call back the elevator phone directly, the test is failed.

Nationwide Lifts Now Distributes Luxury DomusLifts

DomusLiftNationwide Lifts is pleased to announce a new partnership. We are now an official distributor of DomusLifts luxury elevators from IGV. The company, which is based in Milan, Italy, has done a tremendous amount of business around the world and is now expanding its reach into the United States. As of October, all Nationwide Lifts offices across the United States can sell, install, and maintain DomusLifts.

The DomusLift is unlike any other home elevator. This gearless traction elevator is commercial grade and offers homeowners the smoothest and quietest ride possible. The drive system is as good as it gets.

The DomusLift is the highest end elevator available for homes. The elevators can be customized with an amazing line of finish options. Homeowners have chosen to decorate their elevators with thousands of Swarovski crystals, mosaic design patterns, leather walls, and a variety of metallic finishes. IGV produces its own selection of sliding doors with metallic finishes, wood grains, and glass.

DomusLifts can be installed in both new and existing homes. The starting price for this line of luxury elevators is around $100,000. Choosing optional features can add to the cost. This is a very good value given the quality of the construction and the aesthetics.

IGV was founded by engineer Giovanni Volpe in 1966 and is now run by his son, Matteo. The company has been selling DomusLifts since 1998. Nationwide Lifts is very fortunate and proud to be able to represent IGV as it expands its operations into the United States.

There is simply no other company that can offer you all of this.

If you are looking for a customized quote or just want to ask a question, get in touch with Nationwide Lifts today to start talking to a Home Elevator expert.