Lerch Bates, the first elevator consulting firm, has been offering the service for nearly 65 years.
This year, Lerch Bates Inc. will celebrate its 65th anniversary as the world’s first elevator consulting firm. The company is headquartered in Denver, one of its 20-plus North American locations, and has consulted on thousands of major projects around the world, including the Burj Khalifa in Dubai; CMA Tower in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and the Taipei World Trade Center in Taipei. Longstanding relationships and new partnerships with global architects, building owners and building managers provide the primary client base for the firm.
Lerch Bates has a significant market presence in Europe, with offices throughout the U.K., France and Russia. The company also has several office locations in India, which is currently seeing rapid industry growth. Additionally, Lerch Bates recently created a holding company in Hong Kong and opened a branch office in Shanghai.
Lerch Bates offers elevator inspection and audit services, maintenance management oversight services, modernization project management and due diligence services. Lerch Bates also provides technical expertise in façade access consulting (exterior building maintenance) and materials management/materials-handling consulting services.
Lerch Bates takes a “whole building” approach and strives to help buildings achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® certification. In addition to these efforts, it analyzes, develops reports on and recommends improvements for associated building systems. The company provides new-construction planning and design consultation, including CAD and 3D modeling. It performs site surveys and equipment evaluations, service-business oversight and management, development of specifications, bidding and negotiation assistance, project management and administration, system commissioning, and technical training. In addition, Lerch Bates’ design teams work to ensure plans allow buildings to have permanent accessibility for maintenance and modernization beyond the initial construction. This helps ensure lifecycle effectiveness and compatibility with buildings’ operating design needs.
Lerch Bates’ founder, Charles W. Lerch, began his career in the elevator industry working for Otis in Chicago. In 1947, Lerch decided to start his own elevator company focusing on service and repairs – Charles W. Lerch & Associates in Chicago. As the company grew, Lerch found himself frequently offering advice to architects and building owners on elevator service and modernization, in addition to providing service and repairs. Eventually, he added consulting as a related service in response to client demand, as the industry did not yet have elevator consulting firms.
In 1964, after Lerch moved the company to Colorado, he became acquainted with Quentin Bates (ELEVATOR WORLD, March 2012). At the time, Bates was working for Elevator Service Co. of Los Angeles in its San Francisco office and was well aware of Lerch’s professional reputation. That year, Lerch asked Bates to join his company as vice president. In 1974, the company was incorporated as Lerch Bates & Associates. While completing his MBA at the University of Denver, Bates wrote his thesis on the company’s expansion and formulated a plan for financing its growth and providing its employees additional benefits. By the 1980s, Lerch Bates had 15 offices throughout North America. In 1984, the Healthcare Group, now known as the Materials Management/Materials Handling Group, was established, and in 1985, the Façade Access Consulting Group was formed. Also in 1985, Lerch Bates Ltd. was established in London. This marked the company’s initial expansion overseas.
In 1986, Bates sold the company to the employees, and an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) was formed. According to the company’s current Director of Business Development, Jeff Marsh, “The ESOP not only provides its employees supplemental long-term retirement benefits in addition to the 401(k) plan, but it has also enabled the company to plan for long-term growth.” This year, Lerch Bates has been recognized and will receive an award from the ESOP Association as one of the longest-standing 100% employee- owned companies in America. According to the Association: “Lerch Bates [illustrates] that with proper management and planning, a company can remain employee owned, benefiting all employees for many years.”
Today, Lerch Bates is comprised of Lerch Bates Inc. (North America); Lerch Bates Ltd. (Europe); Lerch Bates Inspection Services LLC (U.S.); Lerch Bates, Inc. (Dubai); Lerch Bates Pvt. Ltd. (India); Lerch Bates Asia Pacific Ltd. (Hong Kong); and Lerch Bates Shanghai Ltd. The global company employs approximately 150 people in the U.S. and Canada, 15 in India and Dubai, and approximately 50 in Europe, with a total of 200 employees worldwide.
In 2006, Lerch Bates changed the company name from Lerch Bates & Associates to Lerch Bates Inc. A new corporate logo was created and the firm adopted the “Building Insight” tagline. Recognizing that by leveraging the two additional business lines, the company’s future success would be based upon providing a wider breadth of services to the building industry. Moving forward, the firm’s mission is to continue being a global leader in technical consulting for the building industry.
Lerch Bates’ goal is to understand the way people interact with buildings and how all buildings systems come together to enhance overall use and effectiveness. Based upon this premise, Lerch Bates helps its clients anticipate continued growth in various disciplines. The newest Lerch Bates office is scheduled to open in Shanghai in July and will offer both vertical-transportation and façade-access consulting services throughout the Asia Pacific region.
Get more of Elevator World. Sign up for our free e-newsletter.