Timeline: Actual Modular Elevator Project

Timeline Modular Elevator Project

Since publishing this article the payment terms have changed. The rest of the article remains correct.

Payment terms:
→ 10% deposit with purchase order
→ 50% due with return of approval drawings/start of manufacturing
→ Balance 30% due upon completion of manufacturing
→ Balance due upon completion of installation

When it comes to elevators in multi-story construction projects, there is often significant and well earned moaning and groaning from general contractors as their past experiences have been fraught with problems. The elevator becomes a stumbling block due to delays for several reasons; weather, hoistway construction, availability of elevator parts, and lack of qualified elevator personnel have all contributed to a lengthy timeline for the entire project. At Phoenix Modular Elevator we shorten the process significantly, but there are still a lot of questions about the timeline and how we can make elevators easy. So, to demonstrate exactly how the process works, we are taking a typical project and following the timeline from start to finish.

Timeline Modular Elevator Project

The project we will be following is a typical 2 -stop elevator going into a private business and apartment complex. It is a machine roomless, holeless hydraulic elevator with fifteen feet of travel. The building owner wanted three walls with one-hour fire rating and one glass wall so the passengers could see outside to an ornate courtyard, with all stainless steel doors and entrances.

Quick Quote – February 24, 2016

The project timeline begins with the quick quote. At the time of the quick quote, we learn the particulars for the specific project and then provide a very close estimate for the actual investment. The free quick quote can be requested online through a simple form, an email with job details, or a phone call. We can provide this estimate within a couple of minutes, in most circumstances.

In this specific case, the quick quote was requested through our website and a quote was provided the same day. To clarify some aspects of the job, we placed a phone call to discuss the specifics and ensure the estimate was as close to accurate as possible. Once we forwarded the quick quote to the requesting party, we followed up to make sure they got it and see if there are any changes.

An alternative is a verbal quick quote from a phone call. If you want a quick quote immediately, we can give you a verbal figure based on a few questions. Keep in mind you do not need to know every aspect of the job to get this thumbnail of the cost. The online form is very simple. 

Formal Quote – March 10, 2016

Once the quick quote has been reviewed and found to be satisfactory, a formal quote is the next step. When a formal quote is requested, we verify important details such as the exact travel distance between floors, hoistway requirements, cab details and fixtures, controls, and machine-room information. We also provide a freight estimate and our terms and conditions.

We let you know the total price, what that includes, and the payment terms. Once we get to this step we realize we are very likely to be entering into a partnership to provide a high-quality commercial elevator.

In this case the quick quote was reviewed and a formal quote was requested on March 10. Usually, and in this case, the formal quote is ready in 24 hours. However, if there is a special need or item, it can take a day or two to get the numbers to the client. There will always be an open line of communication though, so you will not be in the dark if there is a delay.

Purchase Order – April 18, 2016

We then wait for the purchase order. Sometimes we receive the purchase order immediately, but believe it or not, sometimes we have had to wait a long time for this step and, in some circumstances, have even had to update the formal quote as they are only guaranteed for 60 days. Once the purchase order is received, the real hive of activity begins. However, we do need a couple of items with the P.O. to really get things going.

We need some cash to get started in the form of a 10% deposit. This is 10% of the total price, not including the freight estimate. If you need an invoice to pay from, let us know and we’ll send you one. Please remember the freight is not included. This can cause some headaches if you forget that down the road. The reason the freight is not included is because it fluctuates from factors well beyond our control.

Also, we will be needing, as soon as possible, a completed Project Data Sheet. We will provide this form and will help you walk through it if there’s any confusion. The Project Data Sheet gives us critical information to produce drawings for your elevator project. It also gives us the right contact info so we can set you up in our system and know who to talk to for each aspect of the project. By the way, guessing is not good enough for this step. You have heard it said to “measure twice and cut once,” that goes double for ordering an elevator. We need floor travel as accurate as possible as well as your final choice of cab style, orientation, hall call location, and door types.

Approval of Drawings – April 29, 2016

The purpose of the Project Data Sheet is to complete drawings for your elevator project. Believe it or not, if the Project Data Sheet is completed, we can have drawings done for your standard project within 24 hours. You will receive a PDF of the drawings with a marked area for your signature or your representative’s signature. The drawings need to be reviewed thoroughly as it is the last time to make sure everything is where it should be and the dimensions and floor travels are accurate to a quarter of an inch.

In our example, the drawings were completed on time and sent to the customer on April 29. They reviewed them carefully, signed and dated them, and returned them to us on May 05, 2017.  At this point we will be contacting you for a date and time for delivery because when we say eight weeks, we mean eight weeks and we do not want to produce your elevator, only for it to sit at the end of our assembly line for months on end.

If you are in a hurry (many people are), the clock starts ticking for us at this point. Delivery will be in eight weeks. This is so far out of the traditional elevator timeline that oftentimes customers will give us a false deadline because they are worried about delays. There are no delays and we do not miss delivery dates. If you have a pressing need for an even faster delivery, we can work with you and expedite if need be. Also, at this time 20% of the payment is due and you will receive an invoice. The funds should accompany the approved, signed drawings when they are returned to us so we can get started as soon as possible.

Ordering Components – June 1, 2016

We enter the information from the drawings into our system as well as information about elevator doors and other components to complete the project and we begin to place orders for steel to be delivered on time as well as any elevator parts that are needed. We do stock many components on the assembly line. Keep in mind that there are only a handful of elevator component companies that almost everyone uses for elevator parts and pieces. We only use non-proprietary components to keep maintenance costs lower and ensure that any elevator technician can service our elevators.

The process of ordering components will continue as the date for the delivery is often in flux. We know the delivery time of the items we need so we can be very efficient in our ordering process. We will consistently stay in touch with you during this time period because we know the date of delivery can be moved up or back and we can accommodate most changes.

Due to the shipping date, in this example ordering components began in June and continued through August.

Manufacturing Begins – August 31, 2016

We begin typically about 2-3 weeks after we receive drawings, but this can vary depending on the date you need the elevator. If you would like progress photos of your elevator being built, let us know and we will be happy to accommodate you. Or feel free to come out during production and see it in person! We think our process is pretty cool, and love to share it with anyone who is interested.

While we are building your elevator, you will need to be doing the elevator-related site work: having the pit poured, cutting door penetrations, and scheduling electrical, fire alarms, and phone line install. The GC may need some direction and can check our website for information.

We’ll also provide a guide with details on everything you need to do so the site is ready for the elevator when it arrives. Typically 4-5 weeks after starting, your elevator will be complete and ready to ship.  Prior to shipment, we will invoice you for 30% if we included installation in our price, or 40% if we did not include it.  This payment must be received prior to our shipping the elevator.

Shipped to Site – September 29, 2016

Our elevators are shrink wrapped in the factory and loaded directly on to a flatbed truck for delivery. We will provide you with all the information you need with links to our website to help out the elevator contractor. As usual, we will be able to answer any questions and often will send a technician to the site to answer questions in real time as the installation occurs. Here is the actual installation of this project.

You especially need to make sure the crane is ordered and everyone that needs to be is familiar with the information on our website. It contains everything you need to know to put the elevator in place. For a good overview of the installation, here is a video that you can watch.

Passed Inspection –  July 3, 2017

Believe it or not, the waiting game begins now. Our elevators can be put in place at anytime in the building process. We can be the first item placed, the last, or the middle. This means that often times our elevator will sit on site for months on end. They can handle the time with no problem. One of our elevators was set in Western Canada at the beginning of winter and sat there until the rest of the building was constructed around it; when the birds started chirping and leaves turned green, they unwrapped it and started it right up nine months later.

In the case of our 2-stop project example, the elevator was placed on time, but there was no electric available in the building. So it sat. And sat. Finally, the electric was completed and the elevator was plugged in, filled up with fluid, prepped, and fired up. It passed inspection and we finally closed the book on the project.


Success! The elevator was completed and shipped on time, as promised. This project is not an unusual one because each and every job is different. We provide any mode of conveyance and can engineer elevators for any distance of travel. That means each elevator is unique. Click here to see the elevator installation. 

Just like in this case, we understand that every project we do has times of rushing and times of waiting.  Rest assured we will do our absolute best to work with your schedule and help out every step of the way. After all…We make elevators easy!

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