Columbia Elevator Cabs and Entrances


Lou's Lessons

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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. 


Columbia Helps Southern California Grow “Up” Part II: Emergency Exit Seismic Switch

Lou Blaiotta on Monday, February 5, 2018 at 12:00:00 am

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Columbia Elevator Seismic Lock

Seismic lock: Columbia has devised this special device for the emergency exit for elevator cabs running in seismic zones. Rather than resetting automatically when the emergency hatch is closed, this lock must be reset manually to turn the elevator back on. This is designed for extra safety, where, after a tremor a rescue worker has opened the hatch to allow passengers to escape, a secondary tremor occurs and accidentily causes a conventional lock to automatically turn back on, close the safety circuit and run the elevator.

Today’s advanced building construction techniques and emerging technologies – including those within our industry – have brought about a growth of

‘super-tall’ high-rise real estate in California. A prime example of elevator industry innovation is the car-top emergency exit seismic switch, a safety device developed to help protect passengers and equipment.

During an earthquake, it would not be unusual for an elevator to experience a loss of power and entrap passengers. A car-top emergency exit seismic switch, installed in the hatch door lock, protects passengers and their rescuers from injury resulting from unexpected movement caused by suddenly-restored power.

For Columbia Elevator cabs built for installation in seismic zones, we have devised a special ‘seismic lock’ for the emergency exit. Rather than resetting automatically when the emergency hatch door is closed, these locks must be reset manually. This is designed to avoid a potentially dangerous situation, such as after a rescue worker has opened the hatch to allow passengers to escape, a tremor can occur and accidently cause a conventional lock to automatically turn back on and close the safety circuit.

With the Columbia Elevator seismic lock, a human must take the considered, conscious, secondary action to physically/manually reset the switch to turn the elevator back on. This extra step is implemented only in seismic zones, both for high-rise and shorter buildings. In non-seismic zones, conventional locks that can automatically reset the safety circuit when the emergency hatch door is closed can be used.

I’m always proud when our team brings their problem-solving skills to the table to keep the riding public safe. That’s what makes me say that at Columbia Elevator, Innovation is a Standard!