“Can I help you sir?” A confident voice asked from behind an impressive marble topped, dark oak wood podium. I had just flown to Los Angeles from the Midwest and couldn’t determine who would win the battle brewing inside of me. Am I more hungry than tired or the other way around? If there were a restaurant less than a block away my stomach would win. But, to crown one or the other impulse champion I had to know the lay of the land. There I stood at the concierge desk looking for the tie-breaker and answers.
I replied her inquiry by laying out my dilemma succinctly.
“All day on flights with just coffee, a stale chicken salad sandwich and airplane pretzels. Where’s the closest place to get a decent meal?”
Dutifully she pulled a map from her drawer and with a bold red pen and firm stroke circled the hotel on the map. All seemed to be going well and I anticipated what board of faire would be tickling my palate in just moments.
A green leafy salad or succulent steak, spicy shrimp tacos or 6 inch tall burger with bacon. It made no difference, all sounded delicious. Her confidence and willingness to help me had swayed the battle inside of me. Now the thought of chowing down on nearly anything she would suggest won the day. I could even feel my mouth water with anticipation.
She spun the map around with boldness and declared, “You are here.” My mind raced and I impulsively licked my lips as my eyes darted around the crude rendering with the bright red circle… But then all my thoughts and dreams of a delicious banquet were dashed in a moment with her saying, “Oh wait that’s not the hotel.”
She was very impressive and so were her surroundings. The hotel was very nice (nice enough for a concierge desk) and likewise her post and smart business attire exuded authority. She spoke with a certain assertiveness that gave me reason to trust her judgement. But, I had been had. She wasn’t even sure of where the hotel was on the map.
In one glance she could tell by my now stunned and bewildered look that I knew something was amiss. All of her assuredness seemed to evaporate before me as she apologized and admitted she just started that week and this was her first night by herself on the desk. She went on to further explain that she was not from the area, got turned around easily and never had even been to any of the area restaurants.
Unfortunately, that happens a lot where we fall pray to people that are trying their best and they have impressive back up, but their real experience allows only for guesses instead of answers.
We see this phenomenon often in the elevator business. A building owner, designer, architect or general contractor hungers for a solution to their elevator woes. And there are plenty of woes. Slow installation, arrogance, plugging up the work site with elevator components, delays and more delays.
Big elevator companies are not into solutions for vertical transportation. They focus on up selling maintenance agreements. Help is seemingly limited.
Modular elevators are a solution as the siren’s song beckons with the lure of an easy fix. But, then you find yourself lodged on the rocks of disappointment when the solution you were hoping for was only backed up by lack of experience, the approach of a neophyte and the smoke and mirrors of slick marketing and canned responses. No answers, only guesses.
What must be kept in mind is that elevators are complex and usually the largest moving object in any building. Then that complexity is compounded by various needs required from engineering to install. The result is that it takes true professionals and experience to make it all come together flawlessly and without disappointment.
The issue is not with the modular elevator concept, only a few in the modular elevator business. See, modular elevators are the solution to so many of the problems with traditional elevators, but only if they are backed up by experience. Modular elevators are the future and the present if done professionally and you get legitimate answers.
After all they are quite impressive and down right amazing and the results can be off the charts (recent project quotes from a GC). But to pull off the complexities and make the project go off without a hitch, it takes real experience. And that is what you will find in the leaders of the modular elevator industry at MEM.
MEM elevators are produced with more experience and higher skilled personnel than any other in the modular elevator industry. We provide quality, consistency and simplicity for every job we do. That means that you will find the experience refreshing and easy. We do all the heavy lifting with competent and professional project managers willing to answer any questions and guide the process from beginning to end.
What went wrong at the hotel was two-fold. I was taken in by the promise of food when I was hungry for answers. And the concierge put forth a façade of experience that encouraged me all the more. I then dreamed of the potential and the promise of a meal. Instead it was Cheetos and beef jerky for the main course and Peanut M&Ms for dessert.
I wanted a great meal, but instead got the vending machine.
When you are hungry for a solution to your elevator issues and you see what seems to be answers, think about the true experience of MEM and the value we bring in providing what you are really desiring. To get the ball rolling on the best solution for any low or mid-rise project, click the link below to receive a professional FAST TRACK quote. Or if you want to see how we produce a quality commercial elevator that installs in four hours schedule a LIVE VIRTUAL TOUR of our facility. Join the elevator revolution with real answers to elevator issues not guesses.
As a person that eats, drinks and sleeps marketing and modular elevators I try to determine the value of every part of our product. I constantly examine the value proposition of what we bring to the table. And I attempt to as closely as possible come up with an actual dollar sign for every element. But, beyond the real costs of steel and labor, value always includes intangibles like the value of experience.
What makes the value of experience so hard to quantify is that everyone thinks they have it. Therefore each believes they have the benefits associated with years in the elevator industry even when they don’t.
In other words, if you were to call any widget maker from Dixville Notch to Carlsbad and asked if they have the intangible of experience, inevitably the answer would be yes. This is regardless if they were a bank teller one week and selling modular elevators the next (true story for another time). The answer when asked would always be the same. We have tons of experience.
It begs the question is experience important at all? Or is knowing an industry intimately overrated? That of course depends on many factors, one being the complexity of the industry or product itself. The higher the complexity the more value there is in years of experience. So when you combine the demands of the elevator industry, modular building, construction, engineering, design and architecture, the higher the experience level the better.
Julius Caesar recognized the value of being long in the tooth and is credited in his work, Bello Civili with the wise words, “Ut est rerum omnium magister usus” or “Experience is the teacher of all things.” He believed the more experience you have, the wiser you will be.
He knew experience affords the ability to avoid the landmines and complete the objective with fewer problems even if it comes with complexity. When you go with less experience and cheaper costs you will be paying others to learn on your dime. Intuitively we all agree with Caesar placing such a high value on experience in that some will stretch it on resumés, bios or on their company website. So how can you tell who has or doesn’t have experience?
The issue becomes quantifying the immeasurable and then associating a dollar sign to that nebulous attribute. The first step of that process is a check list of what you should look for when dealing with an elevator company regarding a purchase. Here’s a good list of things to find out before you commit:
I am sure there are more items to look at than the listed above. But it is a very good starting point.
Now we know some criteria to look at, but how do you go about getting the information? After all it is very easy to purchase a company, change the logo and start spitting out product so beware. Especially in the online world it is very difficult to determine who are the professionals and who are the pretenders. To sort one from another keep the following in mind:
First, don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions. Your first conversation should be more about who they are than the product they are selling. Keep in mind to get you a price they will be asking about capacity, feet of travel and project location keeping the focus on you. Instead run through some of the bullet points above.
Second, probe deeper. As an example, if they say they have been in construction for a decade ask where what their job was. The more stuttering and stammering the deeper you should dive or just mark them off the list. They should be completely transparent about capabilities and experience.
Third, ask others. Trust me online reviews are not always accurate, but personal phone calls to people in the construction industry are much more reliable. Pick up the phone or email others.
Lastly, just remember your first contact should be more like a first date than a way to get pricing. This is because the project or building you are producing or own will be married for a long time to the elevator installed. An elevator’s lifecycle amazingly is about the average lifecycle of marriage 20+ years depending on all sorts of factors. So when you choose one company over another, you are marrying that elevator company to your building. Till death do they part.
For this reason try to know as much as possible before you say, “I do” and it is so much more than price!
The dollars and cents or value of experience is equally crucial and difficult to assess.
Just remember one mistake in our industry can be costly. One bad piece of information or one beam out of place and a project can be delayed for months. See our goal is for the elevator to be for the building owner like buying windows or doors. You call, get your price, tell your architect and GC and the elevator gets placed and turned on when you want it. Voila you have a complete commercial quality elevator installed in four hours (no kidding see some of our videos).
The hard work and details are on our side of the equation so you benefit from the ease of the product. But, what if due to lack of experience the pit is too shallow? The floor measurements are off? you were sent the wrong drawings? The engineering is inaccurate? Or the timeline is unrealistic?
Suddenly, the elevator is not so easy despite the slogans. You end up eating all the delays, additional construction costs and rework. What happens next are discussions, escalating to shouting matches and then potentially lawsuits. No one wins. Delays are costly and a modular elevator can be a great way to cut cost by eliminating delays and taking the elevator off the critical path, but only if you choose to work with an experienced company and experienced team.
To illustrate this, one common and simplistic example thrown around is a project that has a contract value of $50 million with a duration of three years. Doing the math that breaks down to a value per day of $45,662. That number may not be completely accurate to reality, but undeniably it shows what a delay of as little as one day can cost. Have I seen in my experience delays of days to weeks because of poor processes and lack of experience costing thousands? You bet.
I have dealt with a hydraulic jack falling from an elevator while on a crane, delays of deliveries due to inexperienced logistics coordination, elevator cabs dropped during the insertion process, floor measurements off by feet, warping of wooden cab components, drywall mold, poor wiring, overbooking production schedules and the list goes on and on. The primary cause of most of the issues that I have witnessed was a lack of experience.
That lack of experience ended up costing the owner of the project dearly. Experience is worth the additional investment. Because as stated above days means money and mean a lot of it. Paying more for experience upfront could mean saving thousands. A fair evaluation of the real dollars of experience is difficult. But, just ask yourself how many days have you lost due to no experience regarding an elevator? Look at the list above of problems I have seen and the days to weeks of waste they have created. The outcome was thousands wasted. Not to mention the inflated cost of aspirin.
The good news is that none of the above examples happened at Modular Elevator Manufacturing. As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I am at MEM is because of their stellar record regarding experience, quality, honesty, superior engineering and reputation in the construction industry. I got tired of explaining failures due to lack of experience.
So, if you are tired of the added expense that lack of experience can cost, then I encourage you to give MEM elevator a try. They are the best option for any low to mid-rise project. We are true professionals in the elevator and construction industries. Many companies claim the intangibles we all desire, but few deliver. MEM delivers.
If you would like to see first hand the production facility and experience our openness, you can now take a LIVE VIRTUAL TOUR by clicking the button below and signing up. We will answer any and all of your questions. If you would like to get a thumbnail number for an upcoming project just request a Fast Track Quote.
Here is a short time-lapse video of a modular construction project that incorporated two of our modular elevators. The first is on the right side of the screen at :24 and the second on the left side of the screen at :59. The second elevator was also used as the construction elevator on the project. That saves time and money.
This fantastic project is by our friends at Pacific West Builders. They are national pacesetters in the modular construction industry. And MEM is the leader in the modular elevator industry so it was a seamless match.
MEM has more experience and higher skilled personnel than any other. We provide quality – consistency and simplicity for every job we do. If you contact us you will see the difference we make.
Whether you have a modular construction project or any other type, if you want the safer, faster, greener and smarter alternative click the button below. We are perfect for all low or mid-rise projects. Also, you can now schedule a LIVE VIRTUAL TOUR OF OUR FACILITY!
“It takes one to know one.” Most of the time that quip is associated with an adolescent’s insult. However, it can have a broader application as it sometimes takes an expert to spot another. That is especially true in the construction business. Tony Valentine owner of Tony Valentine Construction, has developed the eye for experts in construction including elevator experts.
This project spotlight will focus on a conversation with Tony Valentine regarding the landmark project Aerie in Newport Beach, California. It will demonstrate in his own words the value he sees in Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM), one expert to another.
First, we have to illustrate that Tony is indeed an expert and that is easy enough. He is a third generation builder and leader in the construction industry since 1984. He has a string of accomplishments and awards but, what really sets him a part are the projects he has completed. Just looking at his portfolio puts Tony in a different league.
Aerie is one of those special legacy projects he has been a part of. It is seven luxury condominiums each with a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. It is one-of-a-kind with the combination of a breathtaking bluff-top view, private accessed beach cove and private marina all a walkable distance from world class dining and shopping. He knows what he is doing and Aerie demonstrates that clearly.
With all that said, what does he have to say about the use of a modular elevator in Aerie and the elevator experts at MEM?
“MEM always gets the project to the finish line. The job is always finished on time every time.”
“The value of MEM is that they take the ball and run with it. They handle everything. And they have the expertise that allows you to have confidence that the job will get finished on time with a high level of quality with great customer service.”
“I can’t say enough about their knowledge, abilities and customer service.”
“Seeing a five-story elevator craned into place is wild when you think about it.”
“MEM handled the difficulties of the design and intricacies required with ease. They made the process simple.”
“With MEM elevators my job is easy, because we know MEM takes care of the whole process including design, logistics, aesthetics, and planning.”
“It makes my life better to work with some one that knows what they are doing.”
“You don’t have to be an expert in every aspect of the construction industry to be successful, but you have to be able to recognize the experts. They (MEM) are experts”
“I’d be an idiot if I choose anyone else for an elevator.”
Tony Valentine sees MEM as elevator experts regarding elevators in general and modular elevators. That is high praise from a person of his stature in the construction industry. The result is we will see him again in future projects just as we have over the past 30 years of partnering with him. If you are tired of the headaches associated with elevators, it is time to contact us. We can provide quality you deserve and always finish on time. Also, we make the elevator simple for you by handling all the details with real expertise.
You can partner with us too! Just click the button below to take a live, virtual tour of our facility. We will answer any questions you may have. You can also give us a few details of a potential project and we can supply you with a Fast Track quote in 24 hours. MEM – Quality Elevators taking you to a higher level.
When it comes to the green movement, it seems everyone has an opinion. Seemingly in play are the validity of claims, the science, who is at fault and of course funding. You probably will be grateful to know I am not going to dwell on any of that in this blog post. Instead, I am going to focus on a real solution we provide when it comes to construction projects. Specifically, how we can help to make construction more eco-friendly by providing a greener solution.
This is not going to be a screed. You can get all you want of that in other forums (there are plenty). This will be an honest look at real solutions or our deeds not words. See, there are two distinct camps when it comes to building greener. The true believers that are keenly aware of environmental issues and sincerely seek out greener alternatives. Then there is a more cynical bunch where “green” is more of a buzz word. It is viewed as an inconvenience, extra cost and larger headache that the builder is required to contend with.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, this post will show MEM as a better solution overall. Regardless of your opinion on sustainability, or the environment we at MEM are still and have always been the best the solution for any low or mid-rise building.
You can be of differing philosophies at the polar opposites of the discussion on climate or environment and still reach the conclusion that our ideas and innovation are needed. We are not necessarily concerned with how you arrived at building greener with MEM we just want to welcome you aboard.
Also, I am not going to dwell on sophistry or window dressing that you see so much of. Let’s face it, it is far too easy to wave around marketing pieces and propped up green accreditation. I grow weary of Neville Chamberlin like pronouncements of true change in our time that are worthless in real terms. Especially, when you consider nothing in the old elevator industry has changed for years. That is until the advent of the revolutionary modular elevator by MEM.
So here are a couple of real ways modular is a greener solution and why we are a better solution overall.
This is huge! Largely due to the fact that power usage for a standard 2-stop elevator with moderate use equals only $40 to $50 dollars a month or less. You can trim that consumption number a bit with LEDs and settings, but the real environmental savings comes during the installation. This is where true innovation can have an impact.
See, believe it or not the way elevators have been installed has not changed since the Civil War. Our Civil War in the US, over 160 years ago! In 1859 even prior the advent of passenger elevators a hoistway or shaft was built in the Cooper Union Foundation Building anticipating vertical transportation. In the lumbering brontosaurus that is the elevator industry that model has not changed since. That sounds crazy but its true.
We see it when we drive by a construction site. A concrete block or cement structure is built (usually first) standing there like the obelisk to ignorance it is. This clunky, old-fashioned way of building the hoistway first is an environmental train wreck in many ways.
First, the environment suffers every time a team of bricklayers drives their diesel doolies to the construction site everyday for weeks on end erecting the scaffolding, forms and the hoistway structure. Not to mention the production of the product itself and waste involved in mixing all that cement and producing block.
Despite inroads, concrete, cement and block is the least recyclable material recycled in construction. However, our revolutionary process produces hoistways built out of steel and are therefore greener. This is because steel is the most recycled material in the world, with about 98 percent of all structural steel avoiding the landfill.
Concrete is another matter completely. According to the Cement Sustainability Initiative “Recycling concrete reduces natural resource exploitation and associated transportation costs, and reduces waste landfill. However, it has little impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as most emissions occur when cement is made, and cement alone cannot be recycled.” (emphasis added). In other words if recycling and reducing greenhouse gasses is the measure or your desire. Concrete gets a failing grade.
Using steel overall or recycled steel on the other hand impacts greenhouse gasses significantly. It takes 75 percent less energy to make recycled steel than steel produced from its raw material, iron ore. The green solution is a steel hoistway. If you truly want to make a difference in deeds not words, dump as much concrete and block you can out of your plans and go with steel.
But even more impressive is the possible reuse of the structure itself. A modular elevator can literally be picked up and moved.
Although this does not happen often as the lifecycle of a modular elevator is the same or even longer than a conventional elevator. Repurposing the steel shaft is possible. Even the EPA recognizes reuse as an important component of sustainability. If you cannot use the entire structure it can be cut to length for any number or reuse projects or it can be more easily recycled.
Concrete is severely limited in reuse possibilities, recycling it has no effect on reducing greenhouse gasses and cement cannot even be recycled. To fabricate a steel hoistway it takes less energy overall and less time. It only makes sense to use a modular elevator for any low or mid-rise building.
Another twist on reuse is…pre-use. A modular elevator installs so quickly that it can be used as the construction elevator. Imagine all the carbon it takes to haul in, set up and operate a temporary elevator. MEM elevators can be used instead and then switched to permanent passenger use when ready. This makes sense whether you are looking for a green alternative or not.
We covered the hoistway regarding steel versus concrete and it is a pretty impressive win for modular, but there is more. The actual old method of installation of the elevator equipment is another black mark on the record of the out of date elevator industry. Remember that building in 1859? The Cooper Foundation? Here’s why it matters.
This may shock some of you but, everything that is in an elevator hoistway has to be installed by taking the item through the elevator doors in the building and into the shaft. Everything! Rails to cab, wiring to doors. I tell this to people outside of the construction industry and they look at me like I have three heads. It is that unbelievable. But, again if your model for efficiency is pre-Civil War what do you expect?
So with a traditional elevator a crew drives to and from the site as needed for weeks to hand carry all the bit and pieces of the elevator into the shaft. Inside they screw, cobble, bolt and coerce together all the pieces. As they come and go others come and go too. Parts, components and tools are delivered. And don’t forget lunch breaks. All this travel burns fuel by the gallons. Spewing exhaust to no end in the air.
On the other hand a modular unit is completely assembled in the factory. The hoistway is manufactured and then all of the components are placed inside.
Efficiency is what we do and as a result we have a better product delivered faster that eats up less fossil fuels and produces less carbon in the process. Win for everyone. Our installation takes place at a factory with careful inspection and care. There is only one trip with a crane to the site to set the elevator in place. A process that takes four hours or less. Again modular is the greener solution.
In this post I only covered the hoistway and the installation but, there is more…much, much more. The reason is that modular elevators are factory built and have tons of opportunities to save energy, reduce waste and increase recycling.
To you cynics out there that are not believers in the green movement, remember that we revolutionize construction by moving the elevator to the front of the building process. That means your building will be completed faster. Greener for the environment whether you want it or not but greener for your pocketbook in time saved, efficiency and quality.
But the “green” doesn’t end with the hoistway and installation. Here’s a list of other benefits to modular elevators:
Why are the old elevator companies lagging so far behind the curve regarding green issues? In a nutshell, because they are not elevator manufacturers. They are elevator maintenance companies. Their goal is not to innovate or find better ways, their goal is to sell maintenance deals.
With MEM we manufacture elevators and are constantly pushing the industry in new ways by making improvements and seeking innovation. It is what we do and you can see that in our vision – MEM’s Vision: We believe in challenging the status quo…in revolutionizing the “elevator process”. We don’t just think outside the box…we think BEYOND the box.
Lastly, you have to ask yourself, “Is going green really important?” If it is then you have no real choice, modular elevators are a must for any project low or mid-rise project. If you consider yourself green, but do not at least look into MEM elevators then how committed are you really? Remember deeds not words.
For the cynics ask yourself, “For the same general investment would you be impressed with a truly green product that installs in four hours and saves you countless headaches, time and resources?” If the answer is yes (which it will be), then modular again is the best alternative.
Modular elevators are a green solution for everyone. For that reason alone is time to join the MEM revolution. Click the button below for a Fast Track quote on a project you have in mind or set up a Live Virtual Tour of our facility.
Seeing is believing. Now you can see our process first hand live. Just request a virtual tour of our production facility. When we discuss commercial quality modular elevators or write about them in blog posts, it can be hard to visualize what we are talking about. To help, you can now schedule a virtual tour of our facility and see how we are revolutionizing the elevator process.
These are one-on-one, live conversations with our national director of sales, national territory director or sales personnel. They will virtually walk you through the factory and answer any questions you may have.
To schedule your tour all you need to do is click the Fast Track button below. Then check the box for a virtual tour and fill in “required” contact information. If there is no specific project name or project city just enter “none”. We will contact you to schedule the tour at your convenience.
By opening up our process we are being transparent in what we do and how we are revolutionizing the elevator industry for the better. In that way we demonstrate how we fulfill our Vision, Mission and Core Values daily.
We believe in challenging the status quo…in revolutionizing the “elevator process”. We don’t just think outside the box…we think BEYOND the box.
To revolutionize and simplify our customer’s experiences with the elevator process. And to build the best engineered, highest quality modular elevator on the market while maintaining our values of consistency, quality and simplicity.
MEM’s Core Values: Innovation, Integrity, Quality, Consistency, Simplicity
So sign up today! Request a virtual tour by clicking the Fast Track button below and fill out the required information. See how we can produce a high-quality commercial elevator that sets in four hours and starts up in just a week. The revolution has begun.
Adaptive reuse is more than a building fad. It is a revolution who’s time has come. But, when you take vintage properties and turn them into a modern useful space (that it wasn’t necessarily built for) there are tons of hurdles. I couldn’t even start to list them all here. There are structural concerns, financing, zoning, architectural issues, city planning, community groups to assuage, materials to buy and the list goes on and on. So why not start with easy items first and draw a line through some of those to lighten the load? Modular elevators can do that as an adaptive reuse solution.
Who doesn’t love to watch buildings implode? Sometimes I will get lost in Youtube. Between seeing cats playing the piano and “incredible” dash cam videos I take in a fair share of buildings being methodically leveled. Those videos are especially cool when paired with the 1812 Overture. You know the tune (doodle-doodle-doodle-doo-dum-dum, boom – boom).
But, all that fun ultimately has a cost. When the dynamite is lit history and heritage can disappear from the face of the planet in an instant. That is truly a shame. Preservation of the past should be of the deepest concern. It helps define who we are.
On another level however, there is much bigger cost. That cost is in lost dollars and cents regarding the energy to produce the building in the first place.
See, when a building goes boom, all of the energy it took to create it goes boom too. The cost has been measured a number of ways. One of the first initiatives to estimate the true cost of bulldozing instead of reusing came in the report Assessing the Energy Conservation Benefits of Historic Preservation by the Advisory Council on Preservation (1979). It pointed out that all materials from bricks and mortar to lumber and glass contains a certain amount energy used to create, mill and mold the materials. At the time it was penned the report noted:
Once energy is embodied in a building, it cannot be recovered and used for another purpose — 8 bricks embody energy equivalent to a gallon of gasoline but cannot fuel a car.Assessing the Energy Conservation Benefits of Historic Preservation (1979) – Page 7
That has always been true and still is true today. So, when the cannons go off in the imploding building video at the crescendo of Tchaikovsky’s grand masterpiece, millions of unrecoverable btu’s goes with it. That expended energy will forever reside in the landfill.
All that energy is not recoverable in the least. And that does not even take into account all of the energy that goes into the demolition, removal and reclamation of the site. So in a nutshell there is the premise. The energy used to create a building in the past cannot be reused, only destroyed. It is in the building itself and nonrecoverable. If the building is razed, the energy use to create the structure will forever be lost. Talk about a waste.
In other words, there is no greener building project than in a building project where the building already exists. When you accept that premise your thinking about what is greener, more sustainable and efficient changes. You begin to wonder if a modern exterior wall is more energy efficient or if it is better to use the old brick and mortar?
If the environment is truly your concern, then adaptive reuse becomes the desire instead of decimating the old and replacing. That can lead to your mind finding creative finds ways to use what has already been erected. However, for the old to be reused it must be updated.
That is where we come in. We are a real simple and green adaptive reuse solution. Most of the buildings primed to be repurposed, fit into our wheelhouse. They are low to mid-rise structures that require ADA compliance. They are perfect for our modular solution.
Additionally, our units can be placed on the interior or exterior of a project. That flexibility is key when dealing with existing structures. They are also most often self-supporting so they will not stress the building loads in any significant way. Lastly, they are ADA compliant and meet all codes regardless of the location. Commercial quality elevators designed to be revolutionary and solve a myriad of problems.
We do this by building an elevator hoistway or shaft out of tough 4X4 steel. Then we install industry standard, non-proprietary elevator components inside the hoistway at the factory. Everything from rails to the car are already inside. Then its loaded on a truck, delivered when you want it and sets in about 4 hours. The whole elevator is ready for start up, hoistway and all.
We also allow you to stretch your legs design-wise allowing for a glass model to show off your work on the rest of the restored building. Or we will work with your design team on something special. Just because it is modular does not mean it comes out of a cookie cutter.
But a MEM elevator is more than just the best solution for any low or mid-rise project. It is a also a greener alterative to traditional elevator companies. Here are some ways:
Adaptive reuse truly is a revolution. So, meeting the demands of that movement takes revolutionary thinking in the various products incorporated in the project.
Modular Elevator Manufacturing has been revolutionary for over 20 years finding better alternatives. So MEM is a great place to start to knock off some of the headaches and lighten your load when if comes to adaptive reuse. Think greener, smarter and faster. MEM is the best adaptive reuse solution for vertical transportation.
Finally if you want to see the doodle-doodle-doodle-doo-dum-dum, boom – boom video I was talking about click the link. If you have a project in mind that needs a low or mid-rise elevator, click the button below!
In the example in this blog post, a 5 – story dormitory project at the University of La Verne, you can see the fully installed elevator hoistway going smack-dab in the middle of the building. Not only that, if you look at the conceptual drawing you won’t see even a hint of a hoistway. The duplexed modular elevators were simply placed on the inside of the building.
I have been writing blogs forever. Not literally of course but, for a long, long time. And I have never gotten such an overwhelming response as I did writing the blog post Dirty Little Elevator Secrets. People that commented were upset with the old elevator industry and had their eyes open to the hidden agenda for the first time. They felt duped and manipulated in some cases. The result was I was asked to expand on the differences between a true manufactured elevator and what big elevator companies pass off as manufacturing.
So, that got me thinking, maybe I should expose more truths about a business that hides as best they can what they do and how they do it. And, if the audience demands it you roll out the sequel. I hope this will not be a Jaws 5 or Titanic 2 kind of effort. The goal is to be more of a Godfather-esque redux. Godfather 2 of course. Godfather 3 was a train wreck.
So, get your popcorn and super-sized drink. Here we go. Let me start by asking a simple question. When is an elevator manufacturer, not an elevator manufacturer? I know it sounds like the start of a children’s riddle, but the question is sincere.
The answer begins with telling you about what we do and who we are at Modular Elevator Manufacturing (MEM). We are a true elevator manufacturing company.
The process starts in our factory by building an elevator hoistway out of rugged steel tubing. It is engineered to be self-supporting and can meet any earthquake or hurricane standards. We then finish the shaft with mold resistant drywall inside and out. This gives it the fire protection required by the building code of the location it is going to. It also ensures the elevator can sit through the building process onsite.
The rails on which the elevator car will ride are then put placed inside. Always plumb and always level. The heavy lifting is relegated to machinery making the task easier and safer for employees. This entire time the hoistway is horizontally, whether for a low or mid-rise project. It remains that way throughout the process to assure perfect alignment and ease of inspection.
While the hoistway is being manufactured, the elevator cab is likewise being constructed. We use tough Galvanneal (stainless) steel and not flimsy wood core products that can easily mold, warp or crumble. It is built on a metal platform, with the sling. The cab is perfect in alignment, fit and finish as jigs and templates are used to assure all the manufacturing is within the strictest allowances.
The roof of the cab is completed with all the wiring and safety devises required by code. Then the interior of the cab is finished to meet the most demanding of specifications. Keep in mind that the cab is constructed on a factory floor with plenty of space to work around with easy access to every nook and cranny. The area is well lit and inspections can take place at anytime with easy access.
At the end of the two separate assembly processes, the hoistway and elevator cab are married together. The cab, platform and sling are simply inserted into the hoistway. The wiring to the hall calls is then completed. Keep in mind through the whole process inspections are done.
This is what a true manufactured elevator looks like. A hoistway with a completely finished commercial quality elevator installed inside. All that is needed is for the elevator to be set in place (a process that takes about four hours). And for it to be started up (a process that takes less than a week). The modular elevator usually goes in first in the building process and then completed when electricity is provided.
Now for what the old-fashioned, supposed elevator manufacturers do. They pull together boxes of components, parts and pieces from any number of companies and ship them to a job site. There they sit taking up space and getting in the way. Not only that, the construction team has to make space for the components as well as the mechanic’s tools and keep everything under lock and key by contract. If anything goes missing, it is not the elevator company’s fault but yours.
Finally, when the technician wants to get to your project they arrive. But don’t make the mistake in thinking they are going to start right in.
If it is a cold morning (under 55 degree in the shaft) they have to wait until it warms up. Because cold temperature can void the warranty they won’t lift a finger. The way they install the elevator requires that it is working in some fashion. Especially, in northern climates it is said that the elevator mechanic doesn’t watch the time clock, he watches the thermometer.
Then one piece at a time the maintenance person wanders back and forth from crate to shaft bringing in all the pieces, panels and paraphernalia. They then screw, cobble, coerce, bend and bolt all the parts together in the tight, cramped and poorly lit shaft. And you wonder why the elevator rattles like a teenagers jalopy when finished.
Elevator companies have little regard for the safety of workers because the technicians are required to do the lifting. Back-breaking labor is needed requiring the lugging around of heavy rails. No wonder that,
“The major causes of lost-time injuries to elevator installers and repairers were being struck by an object, overexertion (especially in lifting), falls, and being caught in/between, in that order.”eLCOSH – Deaths and Injuries Involving Elevators
That being hit by an object is either by a piece being raised with a hoist in the tight confines of the shaft or someone dropping a part or tool.
All this is crazy. If they were truly manufactured in a factory setting it could all be avoided and the finished product would be much better.
Keep in mind that this installation and all of the pitfalls takes place last in the building process. So one misplaced bolt, one fried circuit board, one miscalculation or one injury can potentially delay the building for weeks to months. The rest of the project may be ready for occupancy, but the elevator brings everything to a halt. Also, if you raise any concerns or comments, you are viewed as the problem.
As they already have you over a barrel, more often than not you complain to co-workers or peers, but not to the elevator company. Fear of reprisals or slow-walking work looms in the back of your mind. But voicing your concerns wouldn’t matter anyway. You are stuck.
In the above scenario one company is a manufacturer…the other is not. I could be a little more forgiving if they actually manufactured all their own pieces and parts, but guess what??? Not so. They just bundle parts from a myriad of companies and ship them. They often use the very same companies we do for components. There is no real difference in the components used or the quality.
So if they in real terms are not elevator manufacturers, what exactly is their business model? How do they make money if they don’t really make the product they claim to? As a matter of fact, often times they sell their bundles of elevator components for little or no profit at all. At first blush you would say that’s crazy…until of course you look at what they do sell and how they sell it.
Otis in a recent SEC filing said, “New Equipment and Service, which, for the year ended December 31, 2019, contributed 43 percent and 57 percent of our net sales, and 20 percent and 80 percent of our total segment operating profit, respectively.” Most the money they are making regarding operating profit is in the maintenance agreement.
That is why they will sell new units for practically nothing, with proprietary parts and tools required in the product. That locks the builder, building owner or any future owner into a never ending contract. Often times the deal has clauses that guarantee annual increases and only short windows of opportunities to get out of the deal. When the jig is finally up you are locked in. And get this, even if you get out of one contract with the elevator company, you still have to have a maintenance company affiliated with the same brand. Only they have the proprietary tools for that unit.
You may be switching service providers but you will never leave the grasp of the elevator company once you ink the deal. It reminds me of the quote, “Just when I though I was out, they keep pulling me back in.” Michael Corleone – The Godfather: Part 3.
The character of Michael Corleone was in too deep and his choices were limited by his circumstances and very early choices made by his role. Ultimately, he is a truly tragic cinematic figure. Don’t be him. Don’t get in bed with a manufacturer who is not really a manufacturer and then realize it is too late regarding quality, building delays and unfair maintenance contracts.
They may have an offer you feel you can’t refuse, but look for better alternatives with the best elevator manufacturer in the business. MEM – quality elevators taking you to higher level.
To find out about alternatives click Fast Track button.
Here is just a real quick video on our last installation. In this particular project multiple elevators were requested. We placed 2 fully installed elevators in about 4 hours.
MEM is the leader in the modular elevator industry with more experience and higher skilled personnel than any other. We provide quality – consistency and simplicity to every job we do. If you contact us you will see the difference we make.
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