Thanks to Government funding through the Schools Access Initiative thousands of schools and colleges throughout the UK have carried out access surveys and installed powered access equipment to allow less able pupils and students to reach first and second floor classrooms.
The Disability Discrimination Act, along with the Disability Right in Education Act, requires the owners, controllers or managers of schools and colleges to make adequate access provision for pupils and students with impaired mobility, and this includes staff and visitors.
The Acts cover those in wheelchairs and the less able, plus those with sight or hearing difficulties, to ensure that they can gain access with ease and dignity. This includes hundreds of thousands of pupils and students who have some form of disability.
One leading powered access company, Invalifts of Atherstone, Warwickshire, specialises in aiding schools and colleges to improve their access. In fact the company has already installed its platform lifts in many educational establishments.
“Our years’ of experience allows us to help provide internal or external access with platform lifts that overcome the problem of just one or two steps or up to three or four storeys. Our proven technology offers massive economies linked with a minimal amount of building work compared to the costs of installing a traditional lift,” explained Neil Davies.
“An additional benefit is that our self supporting platform lifts do not require a machine room, a pit or a specially built shaft and are powered by standard 240v electricity supply. They are often sited by stairwells, where space is usually available, meaning hardly any building work. Only a small footprint of floor space is required and all machinery is contained with the shaft,” he added.
One such installation was at Ysgol Estyn Primary School at Hope, which comes under the jurisdiction of Flintshire County Council. What was required was two platform lifts to provide access to upper and lower sections of the school. However the lift at the lower area could not be installed because of a large wall mural created by the school’s pupils. Because of the importance of the mural the wall needed to provide the access could not be damaged in any way.
The answer, worked out by Invalifts’ engineers in conjunction with Flintshire Council architects was to install just one MC2000 platform lift that would serve three levels within a total travel height of less than 600mm. The lift, housed in a small purpose built extension, features doors on three sides of the enclosure and links the upper, middle and lower corridors. It features a UPS/battery back up system so that the lift can be operated even in the event of a power failure.
The MC2000 is self-standing in its own steel clad or glazed structure that includes the drive system. It is operated by single phase 240v and no overhead machinery room or large pit beneath the unit is required. Because the model has its own freestanding shaft, and complies with all UK and EC Directives covering safety fire and machinery, minimal building work is required thus providing a convenient and cost effective answer for architects and specifiers. They are widely accepted by Local Authority Access Officers.
The drive incorporates conventional lift technology with the added benefit of an overspeed governor and safety gear. Door designs come in many choices and are able to be fire rated, with intelligent automatic door openers being available. An extensive range of colour finishes are available for the shaft, or doors, together with key switch operation or ‘School Locking’ for extra security. Telephone, auto dialler and intercom systems are also available. Other benefits include a small enclosure footprint of 1250mm by 1560mm which gives a 1.1m by 1.4m platform that is able to carry 5 persons or 400kg at a cost of just a few pence per hour of operation.
Invalifts has a nationwide team of approved highly trained service engineers who can reach anywhere in mainland UK 24 hours a day and 365 days of the year. The company prides itself on providing a next working day service. It also offers a free access survey covering powered platform access in conjunction with the client.
Contact Invalifts Limited telephone 0845 468 2543 or visit website www.invalifts.com