Pre-Planning A Elevator Shaft Way Into Your Build

Pre-Planning an Elevator Shaft way With the aging population and increase of clients looking to build their forever home, residential elevators have continued to grow in popularity as an added feature into a new build. While some homeowners have found out that the added cost of having to renovate to accommodate an elevator shaft way into a pre-existing home can be quite high at times, there is a way to avoid this dilemma. Builders and clients alike have been starting to think ahead, and pre-planning a hoist way into their build without going as far as having the elevator physically installed, and incorporating the unused area as closet space until an elevator is needed. With this new trend comes many questions as to what is required when planning on putting an elevator into your home down the road. When planning the construction of the shaft way, many people find it is best to pick a manufacturer and model and then base your build off that. Although this can be a good starting point, we would always recommend to build the hoist way to more of a generic template to make sure you cover a wider variety of elevators down the road rather than just one specific make or model. Follow the guide lines below to ensure when the time comes to install an elevator into your build there are no hidden costs or surprises. Pit: Let’s start at the bottom with the “Pit”, all residential elevators with exception to a small fraction require some sort of depression below the basement subfloor referred to as the “Pit”. Depth of the pit can range from as little as 3” – 12”, so how do you decide what depth to go. It is recommended that you plan for the deepest, by going with a 12” pit depth you cover yourself to accommodate any make or model of residential elevator. Whatever the minimum pit depth is required by the manufacturer you can also go deeper than what is required, so we recommend spec’ing the deepest required pit allowing for any manufacturer of home elevator to fit in your build. Size of Shaft: When it comes to deciding what size hoist way you require, will depend on knowing what your needs are for your build. Ask yourself will I want to fit a wheelchair, do I want automatic doors, and how much space am I willing to give up in my home. Average size of a residential elevator hoist way is around 5’x5’ square inside dimensions, this size will ensure being able to fit a wide variety of models and sizes for your build. Support Wall: This is one aspect of the build that can range in some major ways between manufacturers and depending on whether you plan on going hydraulic or traction. The typical construction of the support backing requirements is identical for whatever manufacturer or model (usually 2x12 stacked vertically). The location of the backing support is where the differences start to appear. To ensure that you are covered for the most manufactures as far as backing is concerned and not need to re-add structure after the fact. You should base your backing detail from whatever model you have been looking at and then add 4” of additional backing in each direction to cover for additional manufacturer requirements and locations. Power & Access: Most residential elevators require (1) 30 amp 220v dedicated circuit as well as (1) 15 amp 110v dedicated circuit. With 90% of manufacturers requiring a machine room, you must also take into consideration where your pump and controller are going to be situated. If your machine room is going to be remote, make sure to preplan (1) 2” PVC conduit and (1) 4” PVC conduit to be ran in your basement floor from the location of your machine room to the elevator shaft. This is to allow the installer to connect required electrical & hydraulics from your machine room to the elevator components. Shaft way Door Placement: The final piece to construction of your shaft way is to frame the hoist way entrance way doors. This is one aspect that will differ substantially from make and model, as well as cab size. Base your centre line for doors off the model of elevator you have initially based the rest of your build from. Keep in mind many manufacturers can custom make a cab size to match up with pre-framed door entrances. In addition, re framing the entrance ways if need be, is a very minimal cost and can be easily done without major interruption to your existing home. Ascension Elevators provides free consultations for any builder or home owner entertaining the idea of incorporating a hoist way into their builds. For any questions or if you would like more information on this subject, feel free to contact us any time at 403-700-7300 or