Pandemonium is building a wheelchair lift!

In 2018, Pandemonium installed a wheelchair lift to allow wheelchair access to our lower level. This lift, by Massachusetts law, can only be used by people seated in a wheelchair. We created this page to document the construction of the lift as it happened.

We'll call these the "Before" shots

The wheelchair lift will be going in next to the upstairs side fire exit, which is directly above the downstairs fire exit.  

First Mess!

On March 20, 2018, all the contractors got together to get an overall idea of the scope of this project. They needed to jab a hole in the ceiling of the downstairs to measure stuff.

Hand tools attack the floor

Thursday, April 26, saw the first use of power tools. The area is now blocked off with tarps and red DANGER tape, and the wooden floor has been cut down to the concrete underfloor.

Please respect the work area by not crossing the Danger Tape area and leaving the tarps intact.  Also, the table nearest the work area should not be used as it is a barrier to the construction. We've put up signs to make this clear.

Friday April 27

Today, Frank the Contractor took a peek under the basement ceiling. With the light fixture gone and the ceiling cut, he discovered lots of live electric wires in exactly the Wrong Place.

The electrician has looked over the situation and will be back Monday to reroute the electricity. He's also bringing in special light bulbs for our outside sign so that the bulbs don't blow out every week or two!  

April 30 Meet Joe the Electrician!

Joe the Electrician came by to move some ceiling wires. He also removed the outlet where the lift will be located.  Joe was singing "American Pie" while he was working. Hi, Joe!


We also bought a large area rug to cover the floor work and allow us to set up tables for events.  Please be careful on the rug; it's an inexpensive one that isn't designed for hard wear, and if you're not careful when you move your chairs, the rug might tear.

May 7: Beams are installed

The two beams that have been waiting in the far arena for a week have been installed! The bottom (inset) picture shows the beams, and the top picture shows Pedro the Laborer with his hands up in victory with the beams installed. Only one set of Cat5 wires were cut today, but somehow the power is out to some lights upstairs. Joe the Electrician's helper is fixing the electrical issue as I type this.

It's a little hard to see in the lower picture, but above the black "curtain" a section of the HVAC duct was removed to allow access to install the beams and two hunks of drywall were cut. Gotta put that duct back, since Air Conditioning is a Good Thing! Of COURSE it's yet another contractor!

Last look at space prior to lift

May 9, around 10:30 pm:  We've cleared away everything to prepare for the contractors tomorrow.  Here's a last look at the area downstairs before I removed the rug, and upstairs has Tyler gazing over his domain.

I see the light! May 10

Here's the first view of upstairs from downstairs, and downstairs from up (the blue wall through the hole).  The pic to the right shows the size of the hole.

There's a good quote there. May 10

Paraphrasing Ringo Starr:  "I've got a hole in me pocket store"

Waxing poetic: "The Store's Floor is no More"

Tyler (see pic, Pandemonium's owner): "Gah! There’s a hole in my store!"

Over the weekend

We were able to put the rug down (see "Errata" above) for one last full weekend of chairs and tables downstairs.  BE CAREFUL when walking on or around the rug.  We taped it down, but it might shift over the weekend.  If you see any places where the rug is buckling, Talk To A Store Employee.  They know where the tape is to more carefully retape the rug to the floor.

As the contractors left on Friday, I asked what they'll be doing on Monday.  Their answer:

"Install Floor Struts"

Whatever that is.  :)

May 14: Stud day

Today was "Stud day".  The metal studs were brought in and mostly installed.

May 15. Now we wait

Tyler has to wait for the electrician to come and add power, then we all have to wait for the inspectors to do their rounds before the shaft can be closed in.

Tuesday May 22-25: We do have power

The electrician added power last week and also put in the ceiling light on the left of the downstairs shaft.  It's not at all an exciting picture (basically identical to the shot with Tyler in prison, but a little brighter with an electrical cable rolled up) so no new pictures.

May 25: more electrical stuff was done, all behind-the-scenes.

I hope the inspectors schedule us soon!

May 30: Electrical Inspector OKs us!

Today the Electrical Inspector looked around and signed off on the lift.  One more checkmark on the long list of approvals is finished!

May 31: Walls!

We've gotten enough inspectors for now, so it's time to put up some walls.  These "work in progress" pictures show upstairs (left) and downstairs (right).

Expectations are: exterior walls are to be installed today, then we have to wait for another round of inspectors before interior wall installation.  Then the actual lift can arrive.

June 13, 2018

Inspections are proceeding, and we're getting to the time when the actual lift will arrive!  The lift company inspector showed up and said we had to twiddle one of the doorways (it was a twitch too small) so that's the plan for this week.  Also, the electrician is working on moving the lights to the new aisles that will be the book section upstairs.  Once the lights are moved we can put Sue the Dinosaur, the reading robot (currently near Sue's tail) and the serpent (looking out the front window) back on top of the bookshelves.

Books are back on their shelves! - The red circle shows the light that will be fixed tomorrow, and the green lines are where the lights are expected to be located.
Books are back on their shelves!

The red circle shows the light that will be fixed tomorrow, and the green lines are where the lights are expected to be located.

Ongoing construction (June 20)

Various contractors and inspectors have come, and we had to adjust the downstairs' opening by two inches.  Near term work: we have to build a short ramp for downstairs.  We're awaiting the lift company to approve the shaft, and once that's done, they will schedule an installation date for the actual lift.  That installation is expected to take 3 days.

June 26: The state of the Lift

Here's where we are:

  • The shaft is done and inspected.  
  • We are waiting for the installation of the actual lift mechanism.  No installation date has yet been scheduled (we talked with the Lift folks today).
  • The Lift folks will be making that short ramp.
  • After the lift is installed, it cannot be used until the State of Massachusetts inspects it.
  • After the inspectors are satisfied, we should be fine to go.

Thus, we are waiting. 

July 13, 2018: We have an installation date!

The Lift company has us on their installation schedule.  They will be installing the lift on Thursday July 19 and Friday July 20.  Since installation will be starting at 6 am (whew!) we will be open for business as normal.  REMEMBER: Once the lift is installed, it CANNOT be used until state inspectors have checked it out.

July 19: We have a door!

As you can see from the picture on the left, John is diligently working on his laptop while I took the picture of the upstairs door to the lift.  The top half of the door has a plexiglass panel, and the bottom half has a metal plate.   The picture on the right is the downstairs door (identical to the top one) and the last picture is a slightly earlier image of the lift mechanism, from the top looking down.

Status:  Tomorrow (July 20) the Lift Installers continue with their installation.  Today they discovered they had a left-handed dohickey and it should have been a right-handed dohickey, so they had to order the correct one and it's being express shipped here to the store.  Then they'll be able to finish the install when that piece arrives.  At that point we call in the carpenters to touch up / paint anything that got crunched since they installed the shaft, and the inspectors will need to give us their okey-dokey to use the lift.

And now, Sept 5, we're getting closer

Sept 5:  Today the workfolk carted away the old white stairwell lift.  Horray!  That monster is GONE GONE GONE!   Also, since our last update, the lift has had little tweaks added (such as the automatic door closer, and Buttons! and some mandatory signs!) but we are still waiting for one more minor construction thing (having to do with the little ramp downstairs) before the inspectors are called. 

Note on the future operation of the lift:  apparently, this works differently from many elevators.  Normally, you'd just press the button and let go, and the lift would go to the summoned floor.  This lift will apparently STOP if you take your finger off the button.  We'll have to make signs to remind folk, but remember, you'll have to PRESS AND HOLD for proper operation!

Sept. 12: Inspection Date is scheduled for Sept 19!

Wednesday, Sept 19 is the scheduled day for the Lift Inspection!  If it passes inspection, we can start using it!  Finally!   Cross your fingers that it passes.

It Passed!!!!!!  It's now available for use, and been used by a couple of folks already!


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