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Giving design a lift

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Lift company Otis has introduced two pieces of software aimed at making life easier for specifiers. For the front end of the process it has produced Lift Plan 2.0, the second version of its system launched in 1996 to help architects design lifts into their buildings. It comprises a free cd-rom which offers three routes for selecting the lifts in a building: from parameters such as number of people, type of building and floor heights; from knowledge of what type and number of lifts are required, for instance a lift for disabled access in a two-storey school; and, in an existing building, from knowledge of the size of opening that is available. The software provides options rapidly, and the chosen solution can now either be viewed and printed as a diagram or imported into AutoCAD and used in the architect's own drawings.

Otis is already working on Lift Plan 3.0, which it expects to launch next year and which will offer specification of its entire range - the current version only covers the 2000 range, which accounts for about 80 per cent of the lifts the company sells.

The other new launch is The Virtual Design Studio, a method for specifying all the finishes on a lift car and surrounds which, Otis believes, can cut down the decision-making process from several weeks to 15 minutes. Brought to the architect's office by Otis's sales consultants, this high- resolution program makes it possible to look at various materials against one another, making the decision on whether, for instance, to use a brass handrail with a black granite floor. The total number of combinations is 4500 but a few preferred choices can be printed out on a colour printer in about 10 minutes each.

For more information contact Otis, tel: 0171 735 9131.

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