Residents going up in the world thanks to government elevator initiative

Hangzhou residents recently got a lift when the government gave the go-ahead on a project to install elevators in a number of multi-floor residential buildings.

Hangzhou residents recently got a lift when the government gave the go-ahead on a project to install elevators in a number of multi-floor residential buildings.

The elevators will provide a boost, especially, to the elderly residents who struggle to get up and down the stairs on a daily basis without any assistance.

The Hangzhou government initiated the project by offering subsidies to residents and is cooperating with several elevator-manufacturing companies to set up lifts in these buildings.

Work is already well underway in two pilot communities in Jianggan District. People in seven residential units of Huajiachi Community and one unit of Jinqiuhuayuan Community are expected to have full use of new lifts before the end of April this year.

“Each elevator costs around 500,000 yuan (US$76,994). District and municipal governments subsidize 200,000 yuan together. Residents just pay the rest expenditure,” said Xu Yanyang from Jianggan District government. “Meanwhile, 150,000 yuan of relocation fee for underground pipelines, tubes and electrical wiring is also covered by the government.”

Most of the apartments have six to seven floors, and every household on the third floor and above will pay a proportionate installment fee. The residents will also share the yearly 5,000-yuan maintenance fee.

“Adding an elevator is not a simple thing. It involves a relationship and interest between neighbors,” Xu added. “A unit requires a key opinion leader to make sure all the residents are on the same page. Otherwise the work cannot run smoothly.”

Lift installment work is underway in the Huajiachi Community.

Huajiachi Community is the first in Hangzhou to put forward plans to set up lifts. It belongs to Zhejiang University and the majority of the residents are school faculty.

The community has more than 500 residents aged 80 and above. Some of them are incapacitated and stuck at home all day because there is no lift in their building.

“We are so thankful that the first and second-floor neighbors agree on the lift plan,” said a senior resident. “The construction phase brings them plenty of inconvenience, but they are so considerate, especially the young people.”

The government has used Huajiachi as an experimental model and hopes to develop it to set a good example for citywide old communities. Almost one eighth of its residential units have now signed an agreement intention.

Every unit entrusts a third-party organization to design a construction and maintenance plan. It is then submitted to a governmental department, who will review the proposals for aspects of safety and feasibility. If approved, a lift company begins construction on the site.

“Only those with legal property rights, eligible fire-fighting facilities and safe architectural structures will be approved,” Xu told Shanghai Daily. “Since the oldest buildings in Huajiachi were built in the 1970s, we cannot ensure that every unit is fit for installment.”

According to the government’s plan, more than 250 elevators will be built this year across Hangzhou. The substantial market demand has attracted a batch of manufacturing enterprises from Zhejiang and other provinces.

Hangzhou-based Xiolift has established a branch company specializing in serving this project. It now has taken charge of construction in the Jinqiuhuayuan Community.

“We have designed two types of elevators for old apartments. The first type saves space and integrates with the main building, while the second requires fewer pipelines relocation but provides a more spacious interior,” said Shen Jiankang from Xiolift.

Different from modern residential communities, which are in the charge of a particular real estate management company, old communities don’t have a company on responsible for the daily operation. When erecting a lift, manufacturing companies must take consideration of the oversight issues.

“We have equipped a long-range maintenance system in the elevator. When it breaks down or passengers are stuck inside, the camera would send a real-time video to our management center, and then repair technicians immediately get started,” Shen said. “Lifespan of our lifts is 25 years and the biggest edges are low noise and effective daylighting.”

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