Elevators share a common trait with other important but not flashy technology in our lives: We take them as a given. We quickly become annoyed when elevators stop working properly, just like the internet and the hot water in our homes.
Elevators are often overlooked heroes in a building so you won’t get much praise for your elevator design. It’s still important to design the building with care so that all components work together as a cohesive team.
What makes creating an elevator plan so difficult?
Elevator design demands attention to every detail. The size and type building will determine the best elevator design. There are many decisions to make. Separate elevators may be required for staff and patients in a hospital. To keep traffic flowing smoothly, tall buildings require fast and wide elevators. Cruise ship elevators must be capable of coping with the rough weather and the possibility of rolling or pitching. Each building presents its own challenges that the elevator must conquer.
What are the advantages of doing it right?
An elevator plan is essential for a building’s safety and efficiency. Elevators that are well-designed complement the space’s overall appearance and feel also look great. The passengers have a seamless experience moving around the building and using the elevators.
It is possible to have costly delays later on if elevator design is not done correctly. Worst-case scenario: poor design which gets beyond the planning stage and into construction and finally operation. This can make passengers’ lives miserable. It can make it difficult for passengers to use the elevators.
Projects can have some hiccups. But these tips will help you avoid major setbacks.
It is difficult to design an elevator system in a hurry. The elevator design is affected by the building. The New York Marriott Marquis hotel, for example, has a spectacular atrium designed around a circular bank of 16 elevators. The elevator plan is central to the overall design.
Remember that the entire design process, from finalization to installation, can take a while. There’s always the possibility that your client might change their mind about something. You’ll be able to make changes quickly if you start early.
Understand the use of the building
A thorough understanding of the building’s use is key to good elevator design. It involves reviewing the brief and engaging in detailed discussions with your client. You won’t know all the factors that affect elevators or the many decisions that must be made. It is your responsibility to ask the right questions, and avoid unpleasant surprises.
Traffic analysis is the process of modeling passenger movements in order to determine lift performance. This includes handling capacity and waiting times. You should consider these important factors:
- How many people use the lifts each day?
- What are the peak-use times?
- Is there a busy area such as a restaurant or gym?
- Are there large objects that need to be moved around?
- Are you in need of a lift specifically for firefighters?
- Is it necessary for an elevator to be able to access floors that are used for parking?
- Are elevators designed to accommodate persons with limited mobility?
- What are the lift parts you are using?
Don’t forget about the foundations or the roof
The dimensions of the elevator shaft, including its size and headroom, are affected by travel speed. These details must be included in foundation planning. Will there be a machine area above the top floor at the other end? This will affect the roof design and building height.
You will need to have the dimensions of the elevators in order to prepare drawings and obtain accurate cost estimates. It is important to know the exact dimensions of all required elevators before you begin construction. You can limit your options later. You should ask yourself how fast your elevators must travel to properly serve the building. A general rule of thumb is that an elevator should travel between the bottom and the top of a building in 20 to 45 seconds. This does not include stops or travelling at full speed.
Many clients don’t consider elevator interior design at all. This job may be left to you. The elevator interior should be suited to its purpose, passengers, and overall design of the building.
An elevator can be a functional system, but it can also enhance the building’s design. You should choose finishes that are durable enough to withstand the expected amount of traffic. You don’t know where to begin? You have many choices for elevator panels and flooring. These include stainless steel, vinyl, laminate, glass and carpet. There are also custom finishes available. You should also consider whether the floors need to be easy-to-clean and if they need to be slip-resistant for goods and trolleys.
Lighting is an important aspect. If you do it correctly, you can enhance the design and reduce energy consumption. Mirrors can also be a safety and comfort enhancement. To safely reverse a wheelchair from an elevator, for example.
Keep on top of regulations
Both residential and commercial elevators must meet the same standards as the building. There are a multitude of safety codes and regulations that must be followed. They are constantly being revised. They can vary from one country to another, or even between different cities and regions within the same country.
International standards are also available. The UN publishes architectural guidelines for accessible elevators. These guidelines include information on the size limits, minimum number of elevators, power usage and inspection requirements.
You may be familiar with local regulations if you regularly design elevator systems in a specific area. You should seek professional advice if you don’t know the regulations.