A hillside lift is quite an investment. There is no other way to say it. The final amount will depend on the landscape, travel distance, and brand of the lift. In addition to the purchase of the equipment and installation services, you may find yourself dealing with city codes and permits; soil samples; extra landscaping; pier supports; and various other forms of cement work. To top it off, you may have to get permission from your neighbors.
We hope you appreciate the honesty. We also feel that the cost and effort put into this project is worth it.
Installing a hillside lift is better than having to move out of or buy a house. Houses with significant vertical challenges can offer spectacular views, waterfront access, or extra security. Any one of these conditions could be worth the price of the lift alone. If you are seeking a more practical reason, a hillside lift adds immeasurable value to the property in terms of safety — both in your health and in finances. So, if you do have to sell your house for whatever reason, you will experience a significant return on your investment by having this “access advantage” over other competitive properties.
Alternative solutions are clumsy and potentially hazardous. Their cumulative costs can eat away at your bank account as well. Many of these ideas involve the concept of several exterior stair chairs, or perhaps a long, customized stair chair. These types of options present multiple points of failure and excessive maintenance contracts. There is also the danger of the person having to exit one chair—perhaps on a cold, wet day—and get into another. What happens when this person loses that ability and needs an assistant? Maybe they become dependent on a wheelchair. You might have to remove all the stair chairs and invest in a hillside lift after all. How do you get the groceries up the hill along with the person?
We have partnered with Accumar Corporation, a highly regarded manufacturer of customized cable and track lifts to enable our customers to achieve their goal of installing a reliable, attractive, low profile hillside lift.
A Little History
About thirty-five years ago, Scott Sprague, one of the founders of Accumar received a call from an architect, Jim Cutler, who really wanted a Cable Lift. Jim was a neighbor of Scott’s father, a mechanical engineer who had done a number of different elevator designs. Among them is a 40 passenger, 475’ long inclined elevator that runs at 45 deg. down the face of the grand Coulee Dam for visitors. Scott worked as a draftsman on the project, and did most of the detail drawings. Jim saw a couple of these Cable Lifts that Scott’s dad built. He asked Jim if he might build him one.
They were designing and building boats at the time, and had a large shop facility with all the necessary tools. Yacht work may seem like a very different field, but there is also a lot of cross-over. Cable lifts are rigged on cables, and they knew all about sailboat rigging. Since they were used to the marine environment, where most Cable Lifts were used, building in aluminum and stainless and other noncorroding materials came naturally. High quality construction and finishes also are the norm for them.
Accumar built Jim his Cable Lift, and, of course, more people called. Jim went on to become one of the USA’s top architects, designing homes for the likes of Bill Gates, and Accumar went on to make Cable Lifts their main product. Now they just do boats for fun.
Cable Lifts are a unique design, and are particularly good for long, difficult slopes. It so happens they are also very environmentally friendly, since they can traverse steep slopes without touching them. They are visually low key, nearly invisible at even a couple hundred feet, which is great where people value the scenery, when staircases or track trams would be visible for miles.
Sometimes track type trams work better, and they naturally developed some models of trackless systems as well. Accumar has a model called a Hill Hugger that does away with the “pit” or raised landing at the bottom of the run, landing almost flat on the ground.
Originally the Cable Lifts were classified as “aerial trams” in their state of Washington, and were not regulated. About 25 years ago the Washington State Elevator Division decided to classify Cable Lifts as residential inclined elevators. That code works well and the State has been using it ever since. All Accumar systems in Washington State are licensed elevators, and the regulations there are quite strict.
Each tram system is a little different, so each one deserves an engineered set of plans. To the the greatest extent possible Accumar keeps the details standard. For instance, every speed governor is the same, but there are three different types of safety brakes. Finish materials can change the look of the gondolas from traditional wood, to modern clear panels, practical color coated aluminum, or an industrial look in stainless steel mesh.
Accumar prides itself on high quality and longevity. That is why the lifts they built thirty-five years ago are still running strong today.
Please call us at 1-800-201-1212 for a free consultation.