Elevators and Social Distancing

April 27, 2020

VDA Elevator Knowledge Center

From the desk of: Rick Sayah – Senior Vice President

New Construction Design

We are in a new world now and we need to consider new alternatives in how we will design our buildings going forward. Social Distancing of 6’-0” is almost impossible to maintain on the average elevator. Even what is considered a “large” elevator, typically only has a 7’-8” inside width and 5’-6” inside depth. The math just does not add up for more than one person at a time.

So, what are some reasonable options that you can consider?

• Install Destination Dispatch: Destination Dispatch can control how many people enter an elevator for one trip. It provides Tenant Separation to prevent cross-contamination between passengers. This can be a very effective tool. Most companies have this option available.

• Add more elevators during the design phase: As you know, elevators are not cheap, and take up valuable rentable space. This is an expensive option, but an option worth considering. It is much more difficult to add them later!

• Install Smaller Elevators, just more of them: Instead of four (4) 4000 lbs. cars- install six (6) 3000 lbs. Cars. This requires a smaller footprint and transports groups of 4 more quickly.

• Consider a more Realistic Building Population: Times and culture are changing. People will want more working space in their office area and in the elevators, which can be reflected in the initial system design.

• Utilize New Technology: As we wait for cures and vaccines, technology is what will help us through these times. Devices such as UV Light Cleaning Systems, Voice Activation, Security Fobs, Proximity type card readers, Touch Free Options etc… VDA is tracking the industry trends and will keep you abreast of all the latest technological features as these advances occur.

From the desk of: Mike Farris – Regional Vice President

Existing Buildings

So, what are some reasonable options that you can consider?

• Stagger Your Work Force during “Flu Season”: Remember, working three 7-hour shifts in a building can reduce potential virus exposure by as much as 2/3’s and still allows time for shift changes.

• Implement Reduced Passenger Function: With more people working from home and staggered work forces, it can make it easier to minimize passengers to 4 people per trip. VDA can provide the elevatoring analysis necessary to confirm elevator requirements based on the building’s new traffic flows.

• Adjust Load Weighing: Program your elevators that have the load-weighing feature to not stop at a floor, unless the current load being transported is less than +/-800 lbs.

• Consider Zoning the Elevators: This will allow them to serve blocks of floors automatically from the lobby. This will limit the need for people to press elevator buttons inside the car. This is only applicable for buildings with multiple elevators. Not all elevators are capable of doing this.

• Remote Operation: Allow elevators to be operated remotely from the security guard desk or your building engineer’s office. Many modern elevators allow this function.

• Install Destination Dispatch: Destination Dispatch control systems can limit how many people enter an elevator for each trip, thus providing Tenant Separation to prevent cross-contamination between passengers. This is probably one of the Most Effective Solutions, but can be expensive to add to an existing system.

VDA is available to help you navigate these concerns.
Give us a call for a free consultation!

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Related Staff

Richard S. Sayah

Senior Vice President

Michael D. Farris

Vice President – New Construction West Coast

Related Office