Magnificent Caernarfon Castle, set on a small peninsular between the Menai Strait and the River Seiont, achieved worldwide fame in 1969 when it was the setting for the investiture of Prince Charles as the new Prince of Wales.
Built not far from the site of a Roman fort and incorporating the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle, Caernarfon was begun in 1283 by King Edward 1. Building ceased around 1330, but the castle was never completed as planned. It was originally intended as a royal residence.
Today the castle is managed by Cardiff-based Cadw, the historic environment agency of the Welsh Assembly Government. Cadw was recently faced with a task, which meant that it had to provide powered access for the less able, under the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, without damaging the integrity or structure of the Scheduled Ancient Monument or causing any disruption.
The interior of the castle features a lawned area with 13 stone steps set up a 4.3m 30 degree incline that reach the upper ward. A senior architect for Cadw tasked Invalifts, one of the UK’s leading providers of powered access for the less able, with providing a single phase stair riser that could be unobtrusively sited beside the steps yet would need to be impervious to salt water, the sea air and inclement conditions while also being Part M compliant. The metalwork of unit also needed to be galvanised and then powder coated to a special green colour to blend in with existing railings and ironwork and the walls of the castle. The metal supports for the stair riser also needed to be set over 1.5m deep into the ground and the whole moving mechanism had to be capable of withstanding cantilevered loads. Finally the electrical system required armoured cable and special waterproofing.
Invalifts was able to comply with every requirement and the Inva-Stair Riser, which also has a 225kg payload and a 1250mm by 800mm platform, was installed without fuss in just two days.
Founded in 2000, Atherstone, Warwickshire based Invalifts has become one of the UK’s leading provider of powered access equipment such as platform lifts and stair risers throughout the UK and is accredited for both ISO 9001.2000 and the Lift Regulations. Telephone 0845 468 2543 for guidance on powered access or visit the Invalifts website at www.invalifts.com