Agency to help install elevators in old residential buildings in the city

Elevators will be widely welcomed by elderly residents. Most of the old residential buildings lower than six stories have no elevators.
Ti Gong

A resident presses the button of an elevator, which has been recently installed in her old residential community on Wenshui Road E. in Hongkou District.

AN agency tasked with installing elevators in old residential buildings has been set up in Shanghai.

Jiajiale Elevator Installation Studio was established in Jiangwanzhen Subdistrict in Hongkou District, which has a sizeable number of old buildings.

The agency will solicit opinions from neighbors, get approvals from government agencies, supervise construction and take charge of elevator maintenance, an official with the subdistrict said.

It has nine counselors, including former government officials and representatives from residents with experience in elevator installation. They will offer free advice to residents in the city.

Elevators will be widely welcomed by elderly residents. Most of the old residential buildings lower than six stories have no elevators.

There are about 220,000 buildings without elevators in Shanghai. Among the 1 million households living in these buildings, nearly 40 percent are over 60 years of age, the city’s housing authority said.

Jiangwanzhen Subdistrict alone has 69 buildings where residents have been campaigning to have elevators installed, the subdistrict official said.

“Residents are confused where to apply and how to get approvals. Even government bodies are not familiar with the procedures,” the official said.

The newly established agency has summarized an “elevator installation process” that will cut the approval procedure down to three months, said Pu Yulan, deputy director of the subdistrict.

Installing elevator needs approvals from the district’s housing, planning and construction management authorities among others. Previously, it would take years to get approval from various government bodies.

For some of the old neighborhoods, it would also mean coordinating with power and gas suppliers, said Zhang Jianxin, the Party secretary of Xinyi Community in Hongkou.

According to a streamlined work procedure of the Jiajiale studio, the counselors will first solicit opinions from the residents in the building and then from the neighborhood. The city authority has regulated that installing elevators require 90 percent agreement from the residents.

Ti Gong

The exterior of a building where the elevator was installed.

Two thirds of residents in the neighborhood must also agree on the construction work.

The agency will calculate the total cost of the installation and divide the cost among residents. Those living on higher floors, for instance, will have to pay a larger sum than those on the first few floors, Zhang said.

It would cost about 700,000 yuan (US$110,570) to install an elevator in old buildings. The city government will offer 40 percent subsidy after the elevator is ready for use.

The city’s first such elevator was installed on a seven-story building in Nujiangyuan Community in Putuo District in October 2015. Twelve households are living in the building in which the ground floor serves as a parking garage.

The residents had to get clearance from 46 government bodies on their application forms, a mammoth task that would put off anybody.

In 2016, the city government reduced the approval numbers to just 15, following which 12 buildings installed elevators.

However, it still remains a hassle for most of the residents.

A six-story building on Wenshui Road E. in Hongkou got an elevator installed last month. Xue Xiangdi, a 68-year-old resident, said it was possible largely due to three residents, including a lawyer and architect, who spent nearly a year to coordinate and get the approvals. “It will be far more easier for residents with the establishment of the studio now,” Xue said.

The studio has already received its first customer — residents from Lane 1201 Liangcheng Road have approached it to start the process of installing an elevator.

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