Providing universal access for people in public and commercial spaces can be a challenge, but is an essential consideration for architects, builders & building managers/owners. The wheelchair lift (also known as a platform lift or vertical platform lift) is a versatile solution that provides accessibility with a diverse range of options. LiftDesign have a selection of platform lift solutions that rise to the design challenges faced by any building designer.
The Benefits of a Wheelchair Platform Lift
Accessibility for all is essential with any space that the public must use. Platform Lifts are designed for wheelchair use and provide an extremely practical and cost-effective solution. There are a number of reason why a platform lift is the ideal wheelchair access solution:
A platform lift is designed to carry the additional weight of a wheelchair but are still energy-efficient with comparatively low energy consumption.
Effective Use of Space
The spatial footprint of a platform lift is small compared to standard passenger lifts. Existing stair-based access points can be modified to incorporate an open- platform lift. Lifts can be specified for either indoor or outdoor environment usage.
When recommending a lift for wheelchair access, LiftDesign will ensure that all safety standards are met. As well as being compliant with Australian Building Codes and Disability Standards LiftDesign wheelchair lifts meet AS1735, BCA E3.6 & AS1428.1-2009 standards for safety & accessibility.
In meeting safety & design standards it is important that aesthetics have not been compromised. With such a wide range of options available, lifts can be designed to have a low-visual impact or become a feature. Open platform or enclosed / cabin solutions are available with a wide range of finishing options.
Simplicity and ease-of-use should also remain essential requirements in Platform lifts where simple controls as well as Smart technology solutions are available.
Considerations & Challenges when choosing a Wheelchair Platform Lift for Commercial or Public Buildings
A wheelchair lift needs to be in a visible space that provides sufficient access for all. An open platform lift has a relatively small spatial footprint and will often feature in the main access area of a building, along-side or sometimes incorporated into existing steps. Access space must be provided for the lift user as well as allowing for overflow space to ensure the movement of others is unimpeded.
A cabin or enclosed lift solution may be preferable and usually these will be situated in proximity to the public access point, but not necessarily incorporated into it. In such a situation, the lift should be highly visible and the aim should be to ensure the lift is situated in a way that access is as convenient as possible.
Doors, Entry & Exit considerations
Platform lifts provide great flexibility when it comes to providing the best solution. A preference would be where the lift has opposing entry & exit points providing a straight-through solution where the wheelchair need not turn.
Sometime this may not be possible and exit & entryways may exist adjacent to each other in a 90 degree configuration. Platforms lift can allow for this configuration ensuring sufficient turning space is available while ensuring that safety standards are not compromised.
When considering the right door for a wheelchair lift, allowance must be made for the wider door access. Consideration must be given to the best type of door and when applicable, any potentially greater liftshaft dimensions. 900mm is the minimum recommendation for landing doors and the shaft needs to accommodate this. Automatic doors are almost always the preferred option, and alternatives should only be considered where an automatic door is not feasible.
Types of Wheelchair Platform Lifts
Open Platform Lifts
An open, or sometimes called “non-enclosed” platform lift are designed to move the lift passenger vertically on a guarded platform. These lifts are ideal for moving small distances, usually where there is only a small change in floor level. They will often be used as an alternative to providing a ramp and in comparison can save considerable space.
LiftDesign recommend the following Open Platform Lifts for Wheelchair use:
Enclosed Platform Lift
An enclosed platform lift takes what is essentially an open-platform lift and encloses in a structure as the lift travels between floors. This provides added safety and increases the range of the lift typically to two to three floors. Often they can go higher but over greater distances, a higher-speed solution may be preferable such as a Cabin Platform Lift.
The LiftDesign A4 Primo is the recommended lift for those situations when an Enclosed Platform lift is required.
Cabin Platform Lift
A Cabin lift is an enclosed cabin structure that exists within an enclosed shaft. They are usually able to travel typically up to five floors and operate similar to a passenger lift with automatic doors and controls. Modern solutions can include Smart technology for operation which can provide both greater access to controls as an alternative to traditional control systems, but also through advanced technology provide greater automation further simplifying the lift operation.
Not all cabin lifts are going to be suitable for meeting accessibility requirements in commercial or public building use. LiftDesign recommend the following as ideal Cabin Platform Lift solutions :
LiftDesign have a deep understanding of the benefits of platform lifts and the design & accessibility considerations involved. With extensive knowledge obtained through years of research and development LiftDesign are confident in the range of Platform Lifts that we recommend.
LiftDesign works closely with architects, project managers as well as builders to ensure that the lifts we recommend are the right solution, all the while, placing absolute importance on safety and standards compliance.
Note: If you are looking for a lift that provides suitable wheelchair access for your home, then LiftDesign also have a range of options in our Residential lift range and would be happy to talk to you about your need