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Modern Toronto Lofts

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Unique Toronto Homes

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Condos in Toronto

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Toronto Real Estate

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The race to the top

One Bloor installs high-speed elevators as the world’s vertical commute grows longer

Susan Pigg – Toronto Star

In a city where commute times count, even the lowly elevator is taking on lofty importance.

Comment: As anyone who has waited in line in their high-rise lobby at 6pm can attest.

Getting construction workers – and eventually residents – to their high-rise workplaces and homes quickly has become a race to the finish line, driving elevator cabs to new, faster limits as Toronto stretches skyward.

This week, Great Gulf Residential will start whisking construction workers to the top of its landmark One Bloor condominium project in what amounts to the Carrera of construction elevators – two Kone JumpLifts, firsts for North America, that will travel at almost four times the speed of traditional hoists.

More importantly, when the 75-storey building at Yonge and Bloor Sts. is completed, likely by late next year, the novel lifts will become two of six high-speed elevators that will carry residents to the top in about half the time of conventional cabs, travelling at almost 30 km/h.

High speed condo elevator
When converted from construction mode to top speed, the JumpLifts will be faster than the CN Tower’s glass elevators (22 km/h) and not far behind what are about to become the North American record-setters (for now), the 36.6 km/h elevators of New York’s soon-to-open One World Trade Center.

The biggest advantage of Great Gulf’s JumpLifts, however, started playing out this week as some 200 construction workers began pushing their way north of the recently poured 30th floor.

“They’re not waiting an hour for the construction hoist at the start of the day and another hour at the end of the day,” says Ebbey Jacob, senior project manager for Kone, the Finland-based company that’s a world leader in rapidly evolving elevator technology.

Carrying workers and material to their skyscraping job sites faster than slow-moving hoists can cut months off of highrise construction, which is why Great Gulf plans to use JumpLifts in other highrise projects now on the books, says Chris Wein, president of the company’s residential unit.

A key benefit – apart from improving workplace safety and sheer speed – is that JumpLifts can be installed in the early stages of a project, usually once construction has hit the seventh floor. The elevators travel in a building’s central elevator shafts, rather than clinging to the outside like traditional hoists. They hang from mobile machine rooms that are lifted as every three to five floors are poured, so cabs “chase” the building to the top.

(Traditional elevators are installed once a building is completed, making them useless during the actual construction process.)

“With JumpLifts, you eliminate the outside environmental issues. You don’t have to worry about snow and rain and cold,” says Wein.

Last year alone, Great Gulf lost more than 30 days of work to wind and weather that forced the closure of external hoists.

Also key, especially at a busy site like Yonge and Bloor, is that there is no need to block lanes of traffic while big cranes are brought in to help assemble and take down external hoists, says Wein.

“This is a perfect example of how technology is helping us better manage our construction sites,” he adds. “Elevator speed is very essential as buildings get taller. It’s part of your morning and evening commute.”

Kone’s director of major projects, Steve Gonzalez, likens the JumpLifts to “creating a fast lane” to ease “tremendous traffic jams.”

“There are some job sites in places like Dubai where the queues of workers (waiting for hoists to lift them to the top of mega-tall towers) can be three hours long.”

One Bloor will still be a long way from the Guinness record-setting elevator when residents of its 732 units move in next year: The Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan carries office workers at the speed of a car, some 60.6 km/h.

But Kone is now pushing even those limits in a 333-metre-deep mine shaft in southern Finland, where it’s testing new cable and the world’s tallest, longest and fastest elevators, double-deckers that will carry people to the top of Saudi Arabia’s kilometre-high Kingdom Tower.

“Saving a few seconds may not seem like a big deal, but when you add all that up, day in and day out, it’s a lot of unproductive time – a lot of time that people are just standing there, crammed in lobbies, waiting for the elevator,” said Gonzalez.

Speed, and the ability to build elevators finely tuned to the people flow of specific buildings, are going to be increasingly critical as super-tall buildings stretch further into the skies, he adds.

“There are always going to be physiological limitations. When you think of moving at 2,000 or 3,000 feet per minute, that’s pretty fast and your ears can hurt.”

But speed may someday be a selling point for those looking to set up offices or homes in the heavens, says Gonzalez.

“There is prestige associated with that, too.”

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto real estate agent with Century 21 Regal Realty.
He did not write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who
are interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.


The race to the top
Article Name
The race to the top
Getting residents to their high rise homes quickly has become a race to the finish line, driving elevators to new, faster limits as Toronto stretches skyward.