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Columbia Helps Southern California Grow “Up” Part IV: Columbia Elevator’s Strategic Packaging Approach

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Monday, March 19, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia ElevatorI’ve made note before that we at Columbia are always working in response to industry needs. That is why we have developed an exclusive Strategic Packaging Service. Originally designed for our customers who build high-end, super-tall, and uniquely decorative elevators, it has been used by developers of small and mid-rise construction as well. We work with customers in advance to determine how to get them what is critical for each stage of construction. We stagger and stage shipments so that customers receive what they need, precisely when they need it.

Our strategic system of crating techniques - sending the first-needed pieces of each entrance, then later the decorative frame, following up later with the decorative doors – has been used effectively and with great success.  

  • To begin, we send the roughs for the first ‘jump,’ typically consisting of 10 floors.
  • At a later pre-determined date, we ship the roughs for next 10 floors and we ship the frames for the first 10 floors.
  • Later still, when we ship the roughs for the third jump, we send the doors for the first jump and the frames for the second jump.
  • This process continues progressively until the building reaches its eventual height.

Most important to note, within each phased shipment, the door finishes are specific to the requirements of its particular jump, allowing the developers to quickly cap and close each jump as it is completed. This allows them to begin the process of renting the space so that “tenant interior” work can commence. In some cases of multi-building complexes, we are now seeing retail stores opening at the ground level well before the building is completed.

Looking again at the way we are supporting southern California’s rapid skyward expansion; aesthetic horizons are expanding as well. We’ve supported the building of structures that are aesthetically varied and intricate. I’ll tell you how next time.



Picking up the Pen in honor of my father, Mr B

Louis "LJ" Blaiotta, Jr. on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Louis LJ BlaiottaFirst, I want to express my gratitude for the many notes, phone calls, and letters my family and I have received after the loss of my father and Columbia Elevator Founder, Lou Blaiotta. It has given us great comfort to know that so many people loved him as much as we did.

My father launched Lou’s Lessons on the Columbia Elevator Products web site in February 2013.  Because he believed in educating the public about elevators, especially elevator safety, Dad poured over each blog entry with due diligence. 

It is with a heavy heart and a lot of responsibility that I will pick up the pen to maintain and preserve Dad’s commitment to the elevator industry. I hope I will do as good a job as my father who was always affectionately known by our employees as Mr. B. 

I will start by using some of his notes for upcoming blog entries to carry through on his message and then begin new entries. If there are any topics that you want me to cover in the future, please let me know, and together, we will keep alive Lou Blaiotta’s vision of elevator elegance and safety.  




Columbia Helps Southern California Grow “Up” Part III: Accommodating High-End Apartment Elevator Finishes

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, February 19, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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399 Freemont Avenue in San Francisco, located in Rincon Hill, near the financial district, stands 42 stories tall in a seismic zone. The property offers 283 apartments ranging from 1,500 to 3,000 sq. ft., many with panoramic views of the Bay Bridge and city skyline. Features include a swimming pool, tennis courts and other up-level amenities. Columbia is providing 126 entrances and 3 cabs.

The high-rise buildings in southern California, made feasible in part by technological advancements, are trending toward multi-use, self-contained living environments. These buildings can include public transportation stops, top-tier retail, and dining at ground level; hotel rooms at mid-level; and residential space above, with people-pleasing amenities such as super-sized scenic swimming pools, state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor fitness & health centers, high-tech meeting rooms, verdant courtyards and walking paths, exotic roof gardens, and other up-level flourishes.

Modeled on the concept of Boston’s iconic John Hancock building – a 1980s, early mixed-use design – this type of construction is prevalent in many US cities with boldly luxurious fashion and residential units selling for millions of dollars. Central to what these occupants can get for their millions are revolutionary architectural surroundings, astonishing views of expansive vistas - enabled by 14-foot floor-to-floor heights, and copious amounts of glass. The current West Coast real estate environment, particularly in southern California, has generated heated demand for these structures, and an increased need for time and cost efficient building approaches.

At Columbia Elevator, we help developers of high-rise construction to accomplish efficiencies, for conventional 10-ft floor-to-floor as well as the new super tall 14-ft floor-to-floor structures. We have adopted several innovative procedures for high-rise construction where Columbia products are used. One example is how we schedule delivery of our products. The timetables are designed to support easy and rapid installations by the elevator contractors and OEM’s.

I’m speaking of Columbia’s unique Strategic Packaging Service. Materials ship in waves so that the elevators can be installed progressively as the building goes up. All the so-called “roughs” are sent first, allowing installers to get the platforms running and the rails set. As the upper floors start going up, the rails are already being installed below, along with the roughs that were sent earlier. As installers begin to close the building, they can at the same time start installing the jambs, the doors, and closing up the walls. This allows the developers to pre-sell these buildings – in some cases completely, before they even open – and allow for customization of individual floors to tenant specifications.

In such super-luxury buildings, residents often have elevators opening directly into their own apartments, and these tenants want to reflect their individual tastes in their elevator doors. One tenant may prefer bronze doors; another may want nickel; the next may desire custom-painted doors; and the building owner may specify the lobby doors to be oxidized. With our approach, the developers do not need to make all the aesthetic determinations at the beginning of the job because that would hold back construction flow. Instead, they can proceed with rapid construction and install the elevators to run relative to the already-installed sills, all without yet knowing the door finishes.

Customers have praised us for supporting their installation schedule and making their residents happy with the final look of their apartments.