What type of lift does my building need?
Deciding on the right type of lift for your building isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Initially, you need to decide whether you’d benefit from having a lift installed or whether the current situation is adequate. Is the installation only to enable disabled access to the building from outside or is it for all visitors? If the installation is internal for access to other floors from the ground level, how many floors do you wish to include? Who (which people) or what (which goods) are intended for transportation? Is there room for the lift and shaft on the ground floor and all upper floors? Do you want an enclosed shaft or one made of glass so the users can see out as they travel? Finally, you need to decide what design will fit aesthetically into the general ambience of the building and what might clash?
Lifts for the Disabled
Let’s look at access for the disabled. The regulations require that the disabled aren’t disadvantaged when it comes to accessing a building from outside or being able to access different levels when on the inside. This can mean installing various types of ramps but this isn’t an appropriate solution in every situation due to the space they take up. In this case, bespoke stair lifts might be better where space is at a premium. Advantages of stair lifts include their small footprint and the fact that, in most cases, the design and layout of the building’s entrance can be virtually untouched.
An increasing number of buildings contain more glass than ever before and so maximise the amount of light entering the premises. This saves on power consumption and encourages higher productivity from those inside. It would be logical, therefore, to strongly consider a glass lift as this will continue the theme of the entire building being environmentally friendly by using the maximum available light.
Any building that doesn’t exceed 35 metres is classed as small-rise and so will probably have restricted space to accommodate a normal-size lift and shaft. It still has to meet all legislative requirements and it’s possible, therefore, to install smaller passenger lifts that take up less space and which have a smaller footprint.
The larger the building, the greater is the number of people that may use a lift(s). It’s important, therefore, that any installation is high-speed to maximise the number of people that can be transported both quickly and safely. These lifts are very different to those more suited to low-rise buildings as they’re built for speed and have much higher tech systems and controls.
These have become increasingly popular as they now offer an increased choice and prices have reduced in line with the increased demand. The obvious initial choice of installation is a stair lift. This is, essentially, a chair that the user sits in and which can then transport the user up or down the stairs. The installation is flexible to accommodate all styles of stairs and the work involved is relatively quick and straightforward.
Clearly, stair lifts work well when the user is mobile. If, however, a wheelchair is involved and the user can’t transfer from wheelchair to stair lift chair, then the next option is a conventional-style lift whereby the wheelchair can be wheeled into the lift. This installation has a much different footprint and so requires its own space to be able to operate. If they’re able to be successfully installed, these lifts are ideal for many people to move from one floor to another for quite some time, especially as they’re easy to operate and are low maintenance.
As you can see, there’s much to consider when contemplating any lift installation. The types of use, the size of cabin and what it’s made from, the space footprint on each floor that the installation will take up and the complexity of controls. You also need to consider the speed that’s needed, the number of floors the system will be required to traverse, the amount of maintenance needed and, of course, the anticipated cost of installing, running and maintaining the lift. Finally, in some buildings, one lift and shaft may not be sufficient so consideration would need to be given to installing more than one – with the resultant impact on space and budget. At Level Lifts, we can help you to take all these considerations into account and find the right type of lift for your building.