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Time for Quicker Shipment

Columbia introduces multiple existing products and a new quotation system that combine to get elevators up and running much sooner than usual.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

by Ralph M. Newman

Source: Elevator World

InstaCab
Columbia’s InstaCab enclosures, installed early during a building’s construction cycle, are basic steel shells: not yet architecturally developed but structurally complete and equipped with all the ventilation, lighting and other components required for code compliance. Often used as construction hoists while building construction continues, InstaCabs also enable early issuance of COs, though they will not be architecturally finished until later. This approach can cut significant time from the elevator installation.

It is said that you can always make more money but never more time. But, Columbia Elevator Products Co. Inc., headquartered in Bridgeport, Connecticut, is announcing the next-closest thing. Time is money, particularly in the building trades. This can be especially true in the elevator industry, where the cadence of modern building construction techniques (especially for high-rise buildings) demands the increasingly greater compression of delivery times to effectively service an active jobsite.

“For years now, there has been more and more pressure to do things faster and faster,” says Louis “L.J.” Blaiotta, Jr., Columbia’s CEO. He continues:

“So, we’ve needed to constantly innovate to meet this demand. In new construction, this has been a particularly sensitive issue for us as a cab and door manufacturer, since our products are among the very last pieces in the development sequence to be installed. The natural order of things is for the cab to go on top of the platform, following installation of the rails and other shaft components. A natural side effect is a ‘time squeeze’ that frequently includes requests to make up for unforeseen delays that may have occurred earlier in the construction cycle through no action of our own. It’s been ironic that the custom architectural parts of the elevator system that naturally require the longest approval process often end up getting the least attention until it’s most critical, while the more standard elevator components that can often be obtained off the shelf or with relatively short lead times, such as motors and/or rails, often end up being the sole focus at the beginning of the job.”

There are many items throughout the construction cycle that require approval from the architects and builders. The major, broader issues — such as zoning and the development of concepts for fundraising and approvals by architectural boards — are, by definition, the first to be finalized, while finer design specifics — such as those surrounding the windows, lobby, elevators and other enhancements — get addressed later in the process. While the architects may already have a basic idea of how they want the elevators to look at these earlier stages, they deem fleshing out the details a lower priority to be resolved down the line as occupancy begins to approach. Customizable segments of the elevator system, such as cabs and doors, often end up becoming some of the last items to be approved and, therefore, need to be installed at virtually the very last minute.

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