Elevator constructors are professionals who build, install and maintain elevators in skyscrapers, apartment complexes and other buildings. The elevator itself has been around, in some form, since ancient Egyptian times, but the use of the elevator to transport people within buildings has only been in popular use since the mid-nineteenth century. Since then, elevator constructors have stepped up to the important task of making sure they are safe for passengers to ride in.
An elevator constructor is a physically demanding job that also requires intelligence and skill. Constructors must understand electricity, computer electronics, physics and hydraulics. Within physics, constructors should have a thorough understanding of the process by which an elevator moves up and down. The actual installation of an elevator is no easy task, and constructors typically follow a blueprint to find the necessary equipment and install the rails, machinery, car enclosures, pumps, cylinders, motors and plunger foundations. Elevator mechanics then bolt or weld steel rails to the wall shaft, which will guide the elevator.
Elevator constructor jobs involve the insertion of electrical wires and the running of tubes between the floors. After installing all electrical parts and devices at each floor, constructors erect the elevator’s frame at the shaft bottom, install the platform, walls and doors, and attach the guides and rollers, which cuts down on the car’s motion while it moves up and down. It is also the duty of the constructor to build the doors and door frames on each floor’s elevator entrance.
Elevator constructors are responsible for testing the elevator before opening it for public use, and after it opens, they should regularly service, maintain and repair it. As elevators can be dangerous contraptions, constructors are often members of a union, which can prevent them from being sued. The job itself is challenging, and new technological developments are constantly changing the focus of the industry and requiring more experimentation. Elevator constructors work in cramped conditions, at great heights and at risk of electrical shock, but an upside to their working conditions is that most work is performed indoors, away from harsh weather conditions.
An elevator constructor apprenticeship is the best way to become a constructor. The program is a four-year mix of classroom instruction and practical training. Experienced elevator mechanics supervise those who are new to the industry, and although every program differs slightly, all include training in safety procedures, installation and maintenance of generators, wiring and installation of elevator systems and hydraulics installation. After the program is over, elevator constructors must take an examination that tests math, comprehension and mechanical aptitude. A score of 70 percent must be earned before the constructor can begin to practice.