A series of motion detectors positioned in the entry-exit rooms, elevator cabins and garages ensure the areas are clear of people before a vehicle is moved into place. Also, two ceiling-mounted scanners in the back of the elevator car will detect an open automobile door, which is forbidden by the automated system. If a door opens during transit, for instance, the elevator automatically stops and returns the car to the first level.

Additionally, VESDA devices that detect gas leakage and fumes are included in the elevators and all 150 garages, along with carbon-monoxide detectors in the garages that sense if a car is turned on. Fire-suppression systems are installed in the elevator cars, and the garages—most of which feature a 1.5-in.-thick glass wall partition—are built to achieve a two-hour fire rating.

The numerous sensors are largely the result of an extensive back-and-forth between Mid-American Elevator, general contractor Coastal Construction Group and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which was hired in 2013 to review and ultimately certify the system as safe.

"We've been playing these what-if games for the last two years now, answering the analysis of UL," says Ed Fallin, vice president and project executive with Coastal. Once UL is satisfied with the system's safety measures—all components of the system have been used previously in other applications, says UL—the company can certify it to the Miami-Dade County's elevator agency.

Because programming the sensor inputs and getting this prototype operational would take considerable time, making onsite testing impractical, Dezer approved construction of a test facility at Mid-American Elevator's Chicago site, adding about $6 million to the project's cost.

Mid-American and Coastal built and tested the first elevator at the site. The contractors plan one last test run for UL in July, before disassembling it and transporting it to Sunny Isles for installation.

The test facility has been "invaluable," says Bailey. The contractors built the structure to a height of 80 ft, which enabled the team to simulate a sudden drop of the elevator—estimated to weigh two- to three times more than most high-rise elevators, says Bailey. "We needed to make sure that the elevator safeties, which grab the rail in the worst-case situation, would work," he explains. And the system passed the test.

Building the Surrounding Structure

The Dezervator proved a dominant factor for designing the building. With three car elevators serving the tower, Sieger Suarez Architectural Partnership and structural designer CHM Structural Engineers of Miami positioned it in the center of the building.

The elevator shaft, or hoistway, roughly 55 ft wide, is a core component of the project, with Mid-American crews working from six mast-climbing work platforms at the center of the structure.