Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Elevator

We've been working on getting an elevator on the plans for some time now - about a month or more.  The idea is that we want to be able to stay put in our old age, making full use of the house.  Moreover, we may be housing our aging parents in the near future, so there is need for connection from floor to floor for them.  The main floor especially is sort-of barrier free for this reason.  We looked at wheelchair sizes, and didn't follow barrier free requirements in the building code (it is not mandatory on this project), but worked to make as much of the building as barrier-free as possible.  We also may have visitors who are in wheelchairs, or have bad knees, etc.  They can enter through the at-grade side entrance, then use the elevator to access the ground floor at 3' above grade, or any other floor. 

We used hoistway specs for residential elevators from the web - there are many.  We intend to rough-in the shaft, and install the elevator when money allows or necessity dictates.  Bob Nowak from Cambridge elevator in Cambridge, Ontario was very helpful.  From him we learned that the costs of residential elevators is from $25,000 to $35,000 installed, depending on the door style.  Sliding doors are more costly.  The installation must be done by the manufacturer or licensed installers due to liability and warranty issues.  The track comes in sections, so they are not too long to get into the house.  The cab is built-up so it too is easy to install.  The hydraulic cylinder is the largest item, at 1/2 the length of the required travel.  In our case, the cylinder would be 15' long, 3.5" outside diameter in the body and 9" OD at the ends (for about 10") and would weigh about 400 lbs.  A crane is not normally used during installation, if needed, it would cost extra.  I reviewed our Revit model and figured this item can be brought in from our side entrance to the main floor, and then there is actually space to maneouver it into the shaft at the first floor area.  Cambridge feels the hydraulic elevator is the safest type (there are VFD AC motor/gear styles as well - no Hyd Cyl).

The hoistway can be made with 2x4 framing or with 2x6.  It needs drywall inside to achieve the fire ratings.  Noise is very low due to the submersed motor (like a dishwasher, on the up cycle only - no pumping is needed on the down).  I also asked what happens if the hoistway is built a little too large - Bob said Cambridge builds all the cabs custom anyway, so they grow the cab to fit the hoistway.

We also need a 90 degree type of elevator which has two doors - front and side.  One can buy elevators with doors on front and back, on the front only, or front and side.  We needed one of the hoistway doors to be a sliding barn door style.  While the two cheaper models use swinging doors on the hoistway (and accordian or slider on the cab), Bob said the hoistway door can be made to be a slider rather than a swinging - There are interlocks on these doors so they can't be opened unless the elevator cab is there.  This slider possibility allows us to access a narrow landing with the elevator where there is no space for a swinging door.  This means the cheaper elevator models without automatic doors are still OK in our plan.

We will be roughing in the shaft, so each floor will have a large closet-like space.  We will remove the floors in these closets when it is time to install the elevator.
LT

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