Construction industry is rife with consultants. There is a consultant for almost everything be it an architect, a designer, a variety of project managers and several other professionals. There wouldn’t be a need for so many consultants if everything worked as it should but the real world is full of missed deadlines, unrealistic expectations and parts that do not fit.
There was a time when builders were content with leaving everything related to an elevator or lift to the elevator company. Most builders assumed that the elevator company knows everything about building an elevator but they soon realized that the elevator companies are extremely good at building elevators but they are not the right choice for developing a vertical transportation system. Also, technological innovations in the field has given rise to a variety of systems and you need expert knowledge to choose the right solution for your project. This has led to the rise of a niche professional known as lift consultant.
What Is a Lift Consultant
In simple terms, an elevator lift consultant may be defined as a professional specializing in the modernization, design, maintenance, testing and inspection of escalators, elevators, moving walkways and other forms of conveyance involved in moving people and products (source). Keep in mind that elevator mechanics are different from elevator consultants. It is not the job of consultants to work on conveyances. In most cases, the consultants are responsible for designing and testing a whole elevator system.
The lift consultant is essential for building projects that need elevators. There are all kinds of elevators available today and a lift consultant will help you make the right decision in terms of choosing an elevator keeping in mind the aesthetics, practicality and functionality. They will design a complete blueprint in order to make sure that elevator is always available and there is no downtime. In addition, a lift consultant is also expected to recommend a professional maintenance service in order to keep the elevator running without any issues once the building is operational.
Reasons for Hiring an Elevator Consultant
There are several benefits of hiring an independent elevator consultant, especially when you’re building a project that involves a lot of elevators and other modes of vertical transportation. Here is a list of some of the major benefits of hiring an experienced and reliable elevator consultant.
One of the most important things you need to keep in mind is that an elevator consultant works for you. They give you an independent assessment of the elevator equipment of your building. On the other hand, an elevator company is working for their own benefit and they may not always be forthcoming with the best options for your building.
A consultant specializes in finding and providing solutions for any existing problems with the elevators. Since they often get work through word of mouth, they try to ensure that every issue is brought to your attention. Also, they have a lot of experience in the industry which means they are likely to do a more thorough job and will provide you unique and personal view of the likely problems with the elevator equipment.
While a construction project usually requires a lot of money, one of the biggest investments in a building project is the elevator system. If you do not have any experience in buying an elevator system, you may end up spending a lot more money than required. After all, an elevator company will try to sell you the costliest system even if you do not have the need for all the extra bells and whistles. On the other hand, a consultant will advise you on the various pros and cons of different systems and why you should prefer one system over others. In addition, they will also make you aware of the overall maintenance costs and the money you will need to spend on keeping that elevator running.
Most elevator consultants like to remain involved with the projects which means they will keep advising you on the maintenance in order to extend the life cycle of the elevator system. Extended life-cycle of an elevator system will help you save a lot of money as installing a completely new system involves huge capital expenditure. In simple terms, a reliable and experienced elevator consultant will save you a lot of money in the long run.
An experienced consultant will not only help you choose the right elevator system but they will also help in improving the performance of the elevator system as well as its reliability. In simple terms, a consultant will help you reduce your legal liabilities by ensuring that the elevator system performs in a reliable manner and conforms to all the local, state and federal building codes.
An experienced elevator consultant will also help you with planning and budgeting. In case you want to plan an upgrade of your existing elevator system, they can help you with the planning and give you a fair estimate of the remaining life-cycle of your elevator equipment. They can also help you with upgrades as well as code compliance.
The Role of an Elevator Consultant
A competent elevator consultant will help you with the following:
They will provide you detailed specification for your project which will ensure that everything is included in the scope of the project. In simple terms, they will ensure that nothing is missed in order to achieve the stated goals for the building project.
Another role of an elevator consultant is to help you compare pricing from different contractors on an apples to apples basis. The detailed specification will help you accurately compare the quotes from various contractors and will help you avoid any unnecessary change orders down the line. In simple terms, you should be able to accurately predict the cost of the elevator system for your building project with the help of the detailed specifications provided by the consultant.
In most cases, the permissions for most elevator projects require that a professional engineer is engaged in order to verify that the installation meets the code. The consultant will offer professional guidance throughout the project in order to avoid any unnecessary surprises and they will also ensure that the elevator project is passed by the relevant authorities.
Services Provided by a Lift Consultant
Here is a list of some of the common services provided by a team of elevator consultants.
One of the most important services provided by an elevator consultant is maintenance of the elevator system. An experienced team will ensure that your elevator is consistently working in order to minimize any service disruptions. They use a variety of tools to ensure that there is minimum downtime.
An elevator is a machine and machines do break down from time to time. However, timely repair is important. A reliable team as recommended by the elevator consultant should be able to quickly repair and restore the elevator in case of a breakdown.
If the building has an old elevator system and needs to be modernized, a team of consultants can help you improve the elevator system in a variety of ways.
Choosing an Elevator Consultant
There are hundreds of elevator consultants but there are several important factors you need to consider in order to choose the right one for your particular needs. A simple search on your favorite search engine will return thousands of results of companies offering elevator design and consulting services. Here is a list of some of the important factors you should consider in order to choose the right elevator consultant for your business.
First and foremost, you need to take a close look at the licensing of the elevator consultant. Keep in mind that licensing is different from certification and a certified consultant does not necessarily mean a licensed consultant. Licensing usually specifies the particular area which a company is best suited to handle. So, make sure you check the licensing before signing a contract.
Certification is another important thing you need to look at before you hire the services of an elevator consultant. Ideally, this information should be available on their website. You should also ask them to provide you the required certificates. The Elevator Escalator Safety Foundation is the leading resource for educational programs teaching and adults how to properly ride elevators, escalators and moving walkways safely.
While degrees and licenses are important, nothing can replace the on-the-job experience of an elevator consultant. The consultant you are considering should have a lot of experience in the kind of elevator system you want. Some consultants have experience only with designing and installing home elevators but they may not have the required experience in designing a whole elevator system for big buildings.
Needless to say, such consultants won’t offer you much value. On the other hand, you should consider consultants who have a number of years of experience in designing a vertical transportation system for big projects in case you have a big project on hand.
In the construction industry, reputation matters a lot as everything cannot be checked at all times. Therefore, the reputation of a consultant becomes very important as you will depend on them to ensure that the elevator company is doing their job as per the required specifications.
So, make sure to check the reputation of the elevator consultant by asking your business associates and by checking online. There are several industry blogs, discussion forums and online review websites where you can find reviews from real users regarding the workmanship as well as overall experience with a consultant.
Needless to say, you would want to work with a consultant who is known for delivering on time and is known for returning the calls of their clients.
Overall, there are a wide variety of elevator systems available in the world today. For instance, there are electric systems, traction systems, vacuum systems, pneumatic systems, hydraulic systems and a variety of other types of systems. Each type of system has its own advantages and is designed to be used in a particular type of environment. For instance, hydraulic elevators are considered a reliable choice in areas prone to earthquakes. However, these take a lot of time to install. Similarly, traction elevators are best for high-rise buildings.
An elevator consultant is the right professional who can help you evaluate different types of elevator systems and provide you with the necessary specifications required to make the right choice. A reliable consultant will save you a lot of money by making sure that you choose the right system and by recommending the right maintenance services to ensure optimum working of the elevator system.
So, if you are looking for elevator installation in a completely new project or modernization of an existing elevator system, you should get in touch with a reliable and experienced elevator consultant. Keep the above mentioned tips in mind in order to choose the right lift consultant for your business.