Ten things you need to know when choosing a platform lift

Choosing a platform lift can be a daunting process, with many elements to consider. We’ve put together a helpful top ten of things to consider when choosing a platform lift.

1. Should the lift be open or enclosed?

An open type platform lift does not have a shaft whereas an enclosed platform lift has a shaft for the entire length of travel. An open style platform can only be used up to a maximum travel of 3 metres.

2. How much space do I need?

It is vital that the footprint of the lift is considered in relation to your building, but also the arrangement of doors and the space required in front of each door to ensure safe access for wheelchair users. The manufacturer will also state the installation space required, this is usually 30-100mm more than the footprint sizes.

3. What drive system is right for me?

The main drive systems used are guided chain, hydraulic and screw drive. It is important that you discuss the type of drive system with the manufacturers so that you can fully appreciate the differences in how the drive system will affect the ride, longevity of the components and other space requirements – for example, hydraulic units will require space for the fluid tank.

4. Does the lift shaft need to be fire rated?

The local planning office/architect should be able to advise on this. Generally platform lifts can be manufactured with fire doors but the shaft would need to be clad to provide the rating.

5. Should I choose a pit or ramp?

Platform lifts usually require a pit of 50mm – 150mm.  However, many of the manufacturers offer a ramp at the bottom door if a pit cannot be provided.  If a ramp is chosen consideration should be given to the ramp being a potential tripping hazard.

6. What should I consider about door hinging?

The way in which the door opens on to each landing should be considered. Will the door conflict with another door? Will the door opening to a particular side then put the wheelchair user at risk of falling down stairs?

7. Do I need remote landing call buttons?

If the access to the lift is tight or restricted in a corridor then remote landing call buttons could be considered. This would make the space in front of the lift door easier for the wheelchair user to negotiate.

8. What about automatic doors?

Automatic doors are often chosen where the lift will be used by individuals that will find pushing or pulling a door to be difficult. There are different types of closer which will react differently when the door comes into contact with an object and these should be discussed with the lift provider to ensure it meets with your requirements. Again the location of the door with an automatic closer should be considered carefully, for instance, a door opening on to a busy corridor could potentially create a hazard for those in the corridor when it opens automatically.

9. What colours are available?

Manufacturers can provide lifts in many different RAL colours. Doors can be different colours to the shaft (colour contrasting) which help the visually impaired to identify the lift. The ability to colour the lift enables the lift to be either made into a feature by contrasting the colour with its surroundings or blend the lift in by matching the surrounding colour.

10. Should I choose a glazed shaft?

If the lift is not to be fire rated then a glazed or partially glazed shaft could be used. Some manufacturers can glaze all 4 sides of the shaft whereas some can only glaze 3 sides due to drive system used. So if glazing is important to the lift design this will need to be discussed early with the manufacturer in relation to their particular drive system. If a glazed shaft is required then ensure that items such as cover plates for the underside of the platform and back panels to the platform console are included to maintain the aesthetics of the glazed lift.

Here at Invalifts, we can help provide answers to all of the above questions. Just give one of our friendly experts a call on 0845-4682543 and we’ll be happy to guide you through the process of choosing your own lift.