A Guide to Lifts for Schools and Academies
Choosing the right lift for your school or academy is undoubtedly an important decision; however, it does not need to be a difficult one. Once you have outlined the key considerations and requirements unique to your premises, the process becomes far more straightforward. In essence, it’s important that the right questions are asked. For those who are unsure as to what these questions should be; we have created this useful guide, detailing the most important aspects of commercial lift installation, specifically within schools and academies.
Under the Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Right in Education Act; owners, controllers or managers of schools and colleges are required to provide adequate access for those using and visiting their premises with physical or mental impairments.
Educational Buildings are subject to certain building regulations, when installing a functional lift; namely ‘Part M’ of the Building Regulations, EN81-41. The platform size of the lift is, therefore, key; it must be functional to meet the needs of those using the building, while complying with Part M of regulations so, typically no smaller than 1100 x 1400mm.
Choosing where to situate your lift within the premises is an important decision. In some cases, adaptations to the building will be required, so it is vital that you consider whether any areas of importance could be disturbed by the works. An area such as this may include a significant piece of artwork or mural. In such circumstances, it may be worth locating the lift elsewhere.
In primary (and sometimes secondary) schools, it is also a good practice to locate the lift somewhere where it is unlikely to be tampered with by students. Fortunately, our platform lifts have a very small footprint, making them very versatile, especially concerning space. We also feature lifts which can be installed as an external structure for buildings which have limited space available. Access routes should also be considered so that the lift can be placed conveniently with minimal works needed to adapt the building.
Safety is paramount regarding the design, construction and installation of any lift, but this is especially prevalent when being installed in schools and academies. Younger children may not understand the need to respect machinery such as lifts, so certain safety measures should be put in place to minimise the risk of an accident or any damage occurring. We would, therefore, advise that, in circumstances where children will be making use of the lift, a full lift-shaft should be installed.
Other optional safety features include:
- School parking/locking facility
- Fire doors
- Intelligent automatic doors
- Emergency auto-dialler or intercom
- Uninterrupted power supply (UPS), backup (in case of a power cut)
- Electrical emergency lowering measurements
- Braille pushes
Safety is at the heart of our company’s values. All of our lifts undergo rigorous testing at the design, production and installation stages and are CE marked. Our products are also compliant with British safety regulations (Code Compliance - MD 2006/42/EC).
Once the lift has been installed, you should consider whether children who use wheelchairs are permitted to operate the lift independently or are assisted by support workers. This decision will likely be governed by the age and capabilities of the child.
Durability, Efficiency & Reliability
Reliable and durable equipment is a necessity when being used in a school or academy environment. The lift is likely to be frequently used by students, visitors and staff; for this reason, it must be efficient. Having undergone the testing as mentioned above; our platform lifts are robust enough to provide a consistent and convenient service to all who use them.
Warranty / Guarantee
Our lifts have long warranty periods to ensure peace of mind well into the future. The MC2000 platform lift comes with a full 12 month parts and labour warranty, 5 years on the motor and gearbox and 10 years on the drive chains
Platform lifts allow for certain cost economies to be made that are not possible when installing a larger, passenger lift. For example, our proven technology allows for minimal building works in comparison to those required when installing a traditional lift.
Characteristically, schools and academies have a hive of activity happening about the premises daily. To minimise any potential disruption, we ensure that the utmost work is carried out before needing to be onsite; this allows for a more streamlined, time-efficient installation.
Legal Responsibilities and Requirements
Once installed, schools or academies have a legal requirement to maintain their passenger lift under The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). The regulations cite that a person at a school should be allocated as the “Duty Holder”. This person will be responsible for the safe operation of the lift and will be entrusted with the legal responsibility of ensuring that the lift is routinely and thoroughly examined by a competent person independent of any maintenance contractor. If in one of the routine inspects, any defects are highlighted, the duty holder must then report these findings and seek immediate remedial action before the lift is used again.
Lift chosen: The MC2000 lift
Reasons: The MC2000 is a space-efficient platform lift with low running costs, high-quality engineering and a proven track record for reliability.
Customised features: Special RAL colour to blend in with the surrounding interior design. To further enhance the aesthetics of the lift, and maximise natural light through the staircase, it was decided to glaze one side of the lift shaft and fit doors with glazing panels in them.
Read the full case study here
The University of Salford
Lift chosen: Inva StairRiser platform lift
Reasons: A high-quality stair platform lift which can safely carry wheelchairs and users on both straight and curved staircases. It's probably the slimmest unit on the market and folds neatly against the wall when not in use. It's also very reliable providing peace of mind for both user and the university.
The client first modified and strengthened the existing staircase, and we were then able to fit the Inva StairRiser over just a few days with minimal disruption to the area.
Read the full case study here