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  #1  
Old 04/27/07, 04:39 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Tx
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DIY elevator plans?

We are building a house and were thinking about putting in a small elevator instead of stairs. (My knees aren't what they used to be!)
The "elevator companies" online want 15 to 25 thousand dollars. Thats more that our whole house is going to cost!!!

Does anyone here know were I can find plans to build our own?

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  #2  
Old 04/27/07, 04:49 PM
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I many areas an elevator is a controlled part of your building. What I mean is that you will be required to have it professionally installed and tested. It must pass certain load and ratings tests. It will have to be licensed by your local Licenses & Inspections Dept. or your state depending on location. They will inspect it probably once each year. You will be responsible for all maintenance and repairs on it if it is found deficient on each inspection. Your insurance company may also require inspections. Here in the Philly area you can't even work on elevator repairs yourself -- its all tightly controlled by the State and union companies.

Ken in Glassboro, NJ

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  #3  
Old 04/27/07, 04:53 PM
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The Red/Green show had an episode a year or so ago where an elevator was made from a phone booth, an old water heater and some garden hose.

Don't think it would meet any code though ... :-)

You might consider one of the chair variety intended to be mounted alongside a stairs. Seems to me those go for a couple of thousand.

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  #4  
Old 04/27/07, 05:05 PM
 
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I can't remember which magazine its in, but I've seen stair lifts/chairs for sale. (Popular Mechanics?) Much cheaper even if they're not as versatile. They attach to the wall of the stairs. You sit down, and get taken up/down in the chair.

Add a powered dumb waiter for the stuff you want to carry, and you could have the function of the elevator, without the regulations and cost.

Michael

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  #5  
Old 04/27/07, 05:12 PM
 
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I agree with Palani

If you are building the house from scratch, it would be much eaiser and cheaper to have one of the wall mounted chair rides installed on your stairs plus there is a good chance if you have medicare they will pay for it.
I am in the same boat you are. I ave a rod in my thigh and climbing stairs are getting to me also and I do want a basemnt plus a second floor..

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  #6  
Old 04/27/07, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffy in Dallas
We are building a house and were thinking about putting in a small elevator instead of stairs. (My knees aren't what they used to be!)
The "elevator companies" online want 15 to 25 thousand dollars. Thats more that our whole house is going to cost!!!

Does anyone here know were I can find plans to build our own?
Why build a multistory home? Why not just a ranch instead. If you having problems today, what happens a decade or two later and the elevator stops working?
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  #7  
Old 04/27/07, 07:52 PM
 
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I always thought that a hydraulic scissors-type lift that they use in construction and loading could be used as an alternative to a coventional elevator. They are made for heavy lifting and can be found used relatively inexpensive. You could install it in a shaft area just as a "normal" elevator. I'd assume a large part of the expense would entail making the shaft and concrete base, the remote controls, and all of the safety features of the shaft (so you couldn't fall in if the elevator wasn't there). Of course this would require a contractor willing to install this in an unconventional manner or a DIY. As always, no guarantees or warantees or bumble bees are expressed or implied

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  #8  
Old 04/27/07, 11:27 PM
 
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elevator

Ok, a little more back ground. There are no building codes were we are building. We are building it ourselves. My hubby is quite the DIY kind of guy. It is a pole barn, gambrel style, 18' x 32'. I was thinking of an elevator because #1 I have bad knees, hips and fibromyalgia, #2 I can't figure out where the HECK to put the stairs on this plan. Theres just no room. I'm gonna need a by the time this is done!!!

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  #9  
Old 04/28/07, 10:49 AM
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Buffy I have to agree I think you are setting up future problems by going to a multi story plan.
But I sure was hopeing for an answer for you to your question ! I have a little place about 100 feet straight up that I would like to remodel into a penthouse and right now all it has is an open ladder with no where to stop for the entire distance!

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  #10  
Old 04/28/07, 01:45 PM
 
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Many years ago I was in the house of a guy who had only one leg. He had no stairs to the second floor, just a platform he stood on and then some how pulled a rope to raise it--like a human sized dumbwaiter? Sorry I don't remember any more details.

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  #11  
Old 04/28/07, 04:03 PM
 
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If you are putting in and elevator INSTEAD of stairs, you do risk being stuck on the top floor with now way down if there was a power outage. Not something that I'd care for if power lines went down for a week in a winter storm, or if I was building in tornado alley.

Lynda

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  #12  
Old 04/28/07, 09:12 PM
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You could install outside stairs for emergencies.

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  #13  
Old 04/28/07, 09:26 PM
 
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Why not .....

Sorry to admit this but I am a elevator mechanic, and yes we are union. Why not consider a stair lift, the type that has a chair fixed to and running up the stairs. Surely these wont be that expensive. I do not know if there is a second hand market here for this type of unit.

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  #14  
Old 04/28/07, 09:36 PM
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  #15  
Old 04/29/07, 01:50 AM
 
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Cyngbaeld, that is exactly what I was thinking of!!! And less than 100$ in supplies. Must show hubby! A few safety features added and I'm a happy camper!
I had a sudden inspiration this afternoon about how to build the stairs so that they would fit in the plans. I think I will do both.
I only have to live in this house a year or so while we build my underground house. (one story, no stairs!!!) My daughter gets this one when were through.
I looked at stair lifts last night and most of them cost 3 to 4 thousand $$$
Ouch. Were only spending 20 thou. on the whole house!!!

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  #16  
Old 04/29/07, 08:22 AM
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Hope it works out. I can understand trying to build on low budget!

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  #17  
Old 04/29/07, 08:35 AM
 
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for coming down you could put in a slide, OK I know I am bad,

OK all kidding aside,
the problem is the safety issue,
I could draw you a working lift, probably in less than an Hours time, that would easily move you from one floor to the next, and I could design into it some quality safety features, but I have no clue how well it would be built maintained, operated, or who or how it would be being used.

If you or one of your kids or grand kids ever was killed or lost a body part in an accident by even there or your miss use of it or lack of repair or maintenance, regardless of what you say now, I would be sued by some persons or group, government or insurance until there was no tomorrow.

I designed a wheel chair lift for my grand daughter after her stroke, and the physical therapy DR, wanted us to build and market them, the liability issue was to great, for my comfort,

that is one reason why Handicap machinery cost so much is the liability issues that are present, (my sister had a wheel chair lift van), the parts were 6 to 10 times hardware cost, to cover the liability costs.

the only place that you may find some type of plans would be in a old popular mechanics magazine, something that was published pre 1960's, note: even if you find some thing, the safety issues are still there. (safety was not the issue then)

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Last edited by farminghandyman; 04/29/07 at 09:08 AM.
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  #18  
Old 04/29/07, 09:57 AM
 
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Its not a do it your self project

I was a elevator mechanic for 38 years. All my buildings are ground level. Build yourself a elevator and you will not have insurance, your homeowners insurance will not cover you. If they find out you have one you built your self they will cancell. The danger is just too great. Best of luck.

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  #19  
Old 04/29/07, 10:23 AM
 
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Well, we don't have home owners insurance and don't plan to. If the house is damaged or burns it will hurt and be sad but not a total disaster since it is a very small house. Ya, I worry about safety, but ONLY me and Maybe my daughter (16 yrs old) will be using it. It would be handy to use as a dumbwaiter for laundry and such too.

farminghandyman- OMG a slide is a great idea. Hmm, one of those pool slides coming off the upstairs deck. WooHoo!!! I may have to put that in for the grandkids. It would be our fire escape, ya, thats it. A safety feature.

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  #20  
Old 04/29/07, 11:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farminghandyman
for coming down you could put in a slide, OK I know I am bad,
That's actually a wonderful idea. I might need to add a slide to my house some day!

Lynda
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