Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Vertical Transportation


Lately, our folks have been involved in more urban projects than in the past. On these jobs, space is premium and “VT” or vertical transportation comes into play. Over the past couple of years or so, we have completed four projects where retail sits above parking. Shopping carts must be transported back and forth.

Beyond elevators and escalators, the“Cartveyor” systems that we’ve installed run parallel with a passenger escalator and seem to work very well. After managing the installation of a few of these, I can tell you how critical the design phase is to getting it right. A few things we’ve learned:

  • Since Cartveyors don’t carry people, most state elevator/escalator codes and safety inspection rules do not apply. This is also true with special shopping cart freight elevators, as they convey no passengers.
  • Tolerances are extremely tight. Critical structural support must be accurate within half an inch and architectural coordination is also critical.
  • The engineers and architects who fit the shaft and pits are often working off of standard building code. Machine room design, hydraulics and electrical elements will likely need adjustments to meet the requirements of state elevator/escalator codes and the particular aspects of different manufacturers. We have learned the hard way.

Long story short, before plans are finalized, for smooth success, it is important that the design team carefully evaluate specifics to Cartveyors, and for this matter any vertical transportation. We’ve found that small tweaks are often necessary. Getting involved on the front end can save a headache or two during the construction plans and help everyone stay on budget.





Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.