Modern elevators have enabled safe and streamlined operations of even the most complex buildings
The phenomenon of ‘Elevatoring’ and vertical transportation in modern buildings has witnessed significant strides in technology, customisation, speed, efficiency, and functionality. Today, modern elevators have enabled safe and streamlined operation of even the most complex building types such as hospitals, high-footfall public terminals etc. In addition, increasingly efficient motors, higher load capacities, and advanced analytics have enabled hassle-free maintenance and operation.
Ravideep Singh, Associate Director Creative Designer Architects (CDA)
Elevatoring in modern buildings has witnessed significant advancements in technology, speed and operational efficiency

Ravideep Singh, Associate Director Creative Designer Architects (CDA)

Today, most high-rise healthcare buildings use gearless traction elevators, which have speeds in the range of 500-2000 feet/minute, enabling shorter waiting times for end-users. Additionally, from a safety perspective, codes today require dedicated fire towers with discrete fire elevators. This has pushed up the safety bar.

On an average, elevators account for about 5% of the building’s total energy cost. Nowadays, this has been brought down by using elevators that operate on advanced analytics which are carefully embedded within the building’s BMS. This offers real-time insights into energy use, signals for predictive maintenance, and even switches into sleep mode based on real-time monitoring of low utility load.

Elevator planning and coordination during construction
Elevator planning is indeed crucial throughout a project’s timeline. Timely coordination of the project manager with the lift vendors is crucial to impede any time delays. Most elevator companies require 8-12 weeks for ordering, installation, and commissioning. This is generally done based on the clear shaft size once the lift well is finished.

Building codes
Post 9/11, architects and building owners have completely re-evaluated the role of elevators in fire egress. Today, codes require buildings to have dedicated fire elevators with finishes adhering to a stipulated fire rating of a minimum of 2-3 hours. These are operated through a separate electrical circuit enabling a relatively seamless operation for evacuation in case of fire, especially bolstering ADA compliance in the fire safety space. Additionally, these elevators are required to be positioned within mechanically pressurised lift lobbies to control and dampen fires.

Ar. Reza Kabul - ARK Reza Kabul Architects
Elevator planning is an important stage of the design process of any high-rise tower since it requires more safety checks, speed climbs, and different mechanisms

Ar. Reza Kabul, President, ARK Reza Kabul Architects

Newer designs in vertical transport systems are focused on minimizing the ride time
Modern elevators do not take the orders from passengers; instead, they use an AI system to guide the carriages, making it extremely efficient. In a destination control system, the passenger informs the system where they are headed, and the AI will guide them to the right elevator to board. This groups the people to their destination levels and reduces the number of stops and breaks in the travel time, which in turn reduces the energy-consumption and time taken. This makes the whole system more efficient.

One Marina, Mumbai

Elevator planning is an important stage of the design process of any high-rise tower. The vertical transport analysis gives an overview of the number of stops and traffic load, which determines the number of elevators and their speed. For our upcoming project One Marina, a 72-storey tower for Sheth Creators, we are using a destination controlled mechanism with elevators travelling at the speed of 7 – 8 m/s.

Building codes
Real estate has become increasingly expensive, especially in urban cities, and we have been going vertical due to the lack of horizontal spaces. And with height comes more population and density. The number of people accessing the number of floors has drastically increased.

Unlike low-rise structures, elevators in high-rise structures require more safety checks, involve more speed climbs, different mechanisms (like gearless motors as compared to traction geared hydraulic motors), reinforced cables, and advanced communication systems between the peripherals, motor room, and the carriages. Fire safety norms also determine the elevator selection, height of the machine room, the distance between the top of the car, and the base pit.

Sudharshan KR, Chief Projects Officer Mahindra Lifespace Developers
Elevator manufacturers have become more sensitive to customer satisfaction and are developing optimised solutions to reduce cost and offer efficient products

Sudharshan KR, Chief Projects Officer Mahindra Lifespace Developers

Elevator manufacturers are working on developing optimized solutions to reduce cost and offer technologically innovative and efficient products
Elevatoring has improved very dramatically in terms of safety, reliability, ride quality, technology, and diagnostics. It has changed from both the customer and the supplier perspective. Customers are now more sensitive towards safety, reliability, and the ride quality. At the same time, suppliers have become more sensitive to customer satisfaction. Work on optimized solutions to reduce cost and offer technologically innovative and efficient products is underway.

Luminare Gurugram

Pre-planning of elevators includes optimized selection of the number, speed, and size of elevators. This is done by carrying out a traffic analysis considering the type of project, number of stops, number of flats to a core, etc. Upon finalization of the number, speed and size, a universal vendor-independent design is adopted to make sure that all the vendors are able to suitably propose an elevator for our project.

We have installed Floor Access Control System in elevators. This system uses Access Cards, Biometrics and NFC protocol of mobile phones. We are planning to install Re-Generative elevators in our high-rise offerings.

Over the next 4-5 years we can expect about 30% of conventional construction to be replaced by precast/modular construction
The adoption of precast modular construction technique was initially slow, but the pace has picked up. Over the next 4-5 years, we can expect about 30% of conventional construction to be replaced by precast/modular construction, especially in the affordable housing segment. The logistics, toilet pods, high equipment rentals, and high capex are barriers, which are being worked out.

In Mahindra Happinest, Palghar, our clubhouse and sales gallery have been built using precast hybrid technologies. We are also using ‘Stay-in-Place Formwork’ technology in the project. The ‘Flat Pack-Snap Lock’ Stay-in-Place Formwork is one of the six technologies approved by Global Housing Technology Challenge - India (GHTC-India), MoHUA, Government of India, as part of ‘Housing for All’. This new technology will help in speedier construction, and improved cost and quality management.

However, in pre-cast construction, changes in installed shafts are almost impossible to implement, as compared to conventional shafts. These changes can be due to varying location of supports, rails, counterweight, etc.

Building codes help determine number, speeds, and capacities of the elevators in a high-rise project
NBC 2016 very clearly spells out the population to consider for various types of projects (affordable, mid-premium and premium). It also clearly defines the expected average waiting, HC5 handling capacity, etc, for various types of projects. This helps us decide on the number of elevators, speeds to be used, and capacities of the elevators. There are other codes that govern safety requirements, fire ratings, etc.

Ar. Nilanjan Bhowal, Design Consortium India
It is crucial to plan, design, and coordinate the installation of an elevator during the initial phase of a building’s design and construction

Ar. Nilanjan Bhowal, Design Consortium India

Elevatoring technology has revolutionized the way buildings and structures are being designed and built
Modern elevator systems have made possible vertical expansion of buildings from mid-rise to high-rise structures to skyscrapers. From the speed at which elevators can now travel, the load that they can carry, to their aesthetics and the absence of solid walls, their technology has been advancing rapidly.

Design Consortium India

Elevators are being designed using a lot of glass. Besides their aesthetic look, the sense of spaciousness created by glass walls do not make the riders feel claustrophobic. They also provide panoramic views from the great heights.

An emerging trend is the use of multiple elevator cabs/cars in a single shaft. This technology is being used in high-rises and in super high-rise buildings, wherein sky lobbies are used to connect lifts from different zones at common levels to shuttle passengers efficiently. In this case, there are local lifts responsible for separate zones which connect at sky lobbies to the shuttle lifts that transport passengers through multiple zones.

Coordination on aspects such as the elevator’s capacity, load, size, speed, type, and model is important to avoid variations in shaft size or any error
Since an elevator is the medium of vertical circulation, it is the focal point in pre-cast construction. So, it is crucial to plan, design, and coordinate the elevator’s installation during the initial phase of a building’s design and construction. This is because there are multiple factors such as capacity, load, size, speed, type of system, model and brand of the elevator to be installed, based on which the design is finalized. Coordination on all these aspects is important to avoid variations in the shaft size and other errors.

Building bylaws and codes are important measures that are to be followed for the proper functioning of elevators systems in a building
Building codes offer guidelines to assess the traffic calculations and hence plan suitable types and number of elevators in a building depending on the usage – commercial, institutional, recreational, or residential.

In India, certain states mandate approval and permit for elevators and escalators. And the building bylaws and codes are to be followed for the proper functioning of the building and its elevator systems. The building code also specifies the issue of an operating license after the lift has been tested and certified by a competent authority before it begins to be used. There are elevators meant to be used in times of fire hazards etc, and which have been made mandatory for buildings that are above a certain height.

Now, elegant lifts are also being installed in luxury villas, apartments, and high-end restaurants of double height or more, where they are seen as an indispensable part of everyday activities.

Ar. Sanjay Goel, Designex Architects
The next wave of technological advancements in the elevator industry will substantially enhance the performance, efficiency, maintenance, upkeep, and potential for elevator upgradations

Ar. Sanjay Goel, Designex Architects

Clients now prefer more spacious and touch-proof elevators, especially post the pandemic
Elevatoring technology is advancing year after year, and new innovations by elevator manufacturers are emerging to meet the requirements of users in high-rise buildings.

Premium projects especially prefer multiple elevators that are automatic, have a fast speed, are roomier, and have sensor-based and touch-free operations.

Designex Architects

In precast constructions, elevator planning and coordination are most important as there will not be any scope for corrections
Architects must be completely clear about client’s requirements and budget for elevatoring, especially so in the case of precast constructions.

Co-ordination is vital because sometimes the actual size of the elevator and the size of the shaft may vary and require modifications, which can cost both time and money. Any variation can also result in gaps in walls or planks with no bearing. So, by verifying the elevator size before the precast production process starts, a lot of problems can be avoided.

Architects must meet the minimum requirements of elevators by going through the building bylaws and codes
Because elevators need to be safe during normal operations and during emergencies, elevator systems and the building construction that supports the systems are tightly regulated by building codes.

Building codes give guidance on the different sizes of elevators required for different types of projects as per their size, including their height. It is the duty of architects to meet these requirements based on the codes and bylaws, while taking decisions at the design stage of big projects.

Vivek Puri, Principal Partner MAas Architects
Game-changing advancements in vertical transportation systems will revolutionize the way elevators operate in buildings in a post-pandemic world

Vivek Puri, Principal Partner MAas Architects

Intuitive smart technologies are enhancing security, energy efficiency, and effective crowd management
Elevators in a connected smart building are equipped with advanced technologies such as touchless operations using feet or hand gesture controls. The cloud predictive maintenance and cable-free elevators are replacing the traditional rope elevators with carbon-based fibre.

metropolis hisar

Modern high-rises are installing systems that prevent multiple touch points. Voice commands guided by artificial intelligence in elevators guide passengers to their destined floor and help avoid overcrowding in the cabs. With purifiers becoming a vital element in interior spaces, installation of vents that provide the right amount of inlet and outlet transmission is needed for a healthy micro-environment.

Many multi-story commercial projects require the installation of one or more elevators. During the design phase, the placement and size of the elevator cores needed is determined and incorporated into the plan. When precast manufacturers work with design teams on the front-end of a project, they can also coordinate elevator systems to ensure their smooth installation during construction of the building.

The National Building Codes and guidelines for elevators must be adhered to by the building’s architect and developer
The National Building Codes (NBC) include a chapter with a set of guidelines dedicated to Lifts and Escalators for different building typologies. The guidelines include capacities of lifts, lift lobby sizes, and fire safety requirements. Factors such as population calculation for different buildings based on area as per NBC and calculation for lift capacities to move that population, are taken into consideration.

For office buildings, the vertical cores need to be planned well in advance and need to be more compact and centralised for elevator control and security. In large retail and mall projects, elevators need to be more spread out across the space for better access and convenience of the customers.

Nirmal Mangal, India Director-Architecture, M Moser Associates
Today, elevator systems are using state-of-the-art motors, AI enabled call systems, and have made significant progress in making elevators faster, safer, and more efficient

Nirmal Mangal, India Director-Architecture, M Moser Associates

The rising heights of buildings like skyscrapers and towers led to a spate of inventions and innovations in elevator systems
In 1852, Elisha Otis invented safety elevator in France followed by its demonstration in 1854 at Chrystal Palace in Chicago, USA. This invention has led a revolution of modern architecture’s march towards ever taller buildings throughout the world. The design and engineering of elevator systems have also evolved with the evolution of design of high-rise buildings from the Mile High Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1956 to the Burj Khalifa Tower by SOM in 2004. The elevator industry rose to the challenge and designed new and unique elevator systems for these super tall buildings.

Felix Plaza

Rapid urbanization has led to an increase in demand for technologically advanced elevators
The changing times and fast pace of technology development has given rise to newer demands from users of elevators, which are now expected to be more spacious, energy-efficient, sustainable, time-efficient, low-maintenance, cost-friendly, safe, durable, and offer robust and customizable access control.

Smart lifts have been developed with systems that guide passengers to their destination at the quickest time without having to wait for the elevator which does not stop at several floors. These systems are incredible for high-traffic hours.

The smart elevator systems control the load capacity, regulate the number of trips and door cycles needed in peak/off-peak hours, reduce waiting time, and analyse and function according to the traffic trends of the building. AI technology along with sensors and cloud connectivity make repairs possible even before the actual damage is caused.

Barmalt Gurgaon

Elevators in projects are selected based on the technology they offer, their design, and the budget
With a wide choice of technology, design and budget in the elevator industry, the selection of elevators has become more complex than ever before. The first step should always be an elevator traffic study to help define operating parameters of elevator systems. With this information along with target budget, several elevator options can be examined to select the best suited elevator system. Following are some of the most popular elevator systems:
  • Destination Dispatch Elevators
  • IoT-based Smart Elevators
  • Machine Room Less (MRL) Elevators
  • Private Elevators in Premium Residences
  • Green Elevators
Points for consideration in elevator planning and coordination in precast buildings
In precast buildings, the building components consisting of columns, beams, shear wall etc. are fabricated in precast factories in accordance with architectural and engineering design and approved shop drawings. Once fabricated, it is not possible to make dimensional changes. The following are the points of consideration for elevator coordination in precast buildings:
  • The selection of elevators should be finalized prior to final approval of precast shop drawings.
  • The critical dimensions of elevators should be coordinated with architectural and engineering construction drawings along with approved precast shop drawings. The critical dimensions should include coordination with shaft opening.
  • The design and location of elevator machine room should be coordinated between precast contractor and elevator vendor.
  • Special attention should be paid to the hoisting requirements of elevator equipment.
  • The tolerance of precast concrete shaft construction should be in compliance with the tolerance required by the elevator vendor.
  • Special attention should be paid to the detailing of installation of elevator guide rails.
  • Routing of the building’s services to the elevator equipment and services affecting required clearances and elevator operation.
Buildings are becoming taller and taller, necessitating them to follow all the building bylaws and codes, including for escalators
In the design of any projects requiring vertical transportation, the selection of elevators play a significant role as all elevator systems must comply with building code, life safety code, fire code elevator code. This is because the building code requirements regulating elevator systems have impacts that affect aspects of the building well beyond the hoist-way, machine, and control room spaces.

Although the building code sections regulating these requirements are extensive and complex, the concepts associated with some of these are as follows:
  • Fire resistance requirements
  • Hoist-way Opening Protection
  • Accessibility Requirements
  • HVAC Requirements
  • Plumbing and Fire Suppression
  • Electrical, Fire Alarm and Life Safety
Given the critical nature of elevators in high-rise buildings, it is extremely important that the design team takes a comprehensive look at elevator systems, from the perspective of performance criteria based on building use, to building code-related compliance. It is equally essential that the selection of elevator systems is based on Elevator Traffic Study, and after confirming that the selected elevator system complies with the applicable building codes, along with the functional and operational needs of the project.