A Guide to the Best Platform Lifts for Schools
Providing access for everyone is important for schools, universities and academies not only because they want to welcome everyone – but also because the law requires them to do so. The law states that under the Disability Discrimination Act and the Disability Right in Education Act, that owners, controllers and managers of schools and colleges are required to provide access for those visiting the premises – include those who may have physical or mental impairments.
Choosing the right access often means installing lifts or stair lifts – but how do you pick the right one?
Ability Lifts are experts and specialists when it comes to access solutions – they specialise in providing and installing innovative platform lifts and disabled access solutions. This guide provides you with the factors you need to consider before deciding on the right solution.
Location of the Lift
Choosing where to install a lift or stair lift is one of the most important decisions to make. Unlike traditional lifts, a platform lift has a very small footprint; this means it can be installed in areas too small or complicated for larger solutions.
Platform lifts are very versatile making them ideal for spaces with unique layouts or room access – often found in older buildings. When choosing the right spaces for a solution, think about how a person in a wheelchair would access the lift. Our team have the expertise and experience to help – speak to our team now to arrange a free consultation.
Safety is paramount regarding the design, construction and installation of any lift - especially when it’s being installed in a school, academy or university.
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.
We specialised in high-quality products where addition features can be added to ensure safety, features like:
- 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.
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.
Our lifts have long warranty periods to ensure peace of mind. For example, our Optimum 100 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. To learn more about our guarantees, visit the Ability Lifts website.
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.
Case Study Examples
St Mary’s C of E Primary & Nursery School
Lift chosen: The Optimum 150 platform lift
Reasons: A lack of spare internal space prevented even the smallest DDA compliant lift from being installed within the building. The external Optimum 150 platform lift was therefore chosen as it can be installed externally to the building’s structure. Minimal disturbance was caused completing the internal works, meaning there was little in the way of disruption to the school’s day-to-day activities.
Customised features: The fully weather-proofed unit was finished in insulated Microrib Kingspan in a colour chosen to match the existing trim of the building,
Read the full case study here
Lift chosen: Optimum 100 platform lift
Reasons: A recent development to the academy included the ICT extension, which was built over three floors. To improve access, a lift needed to be installed and the obvious space was within the stairwell. The Optimum 100 was therefore suggested as it is particularly suited to stairwell situations as the free standing nature of the structure and a patented drive system means that the lift does not require a mast like other platform lifts available on the market.
Ashfield Academy chose to include a school locking device on the lift to prevent unauthorised use, as well as automatic doors and a UPS system, which allows for continued use of the lift in the event of a power failure.
Read the full case study here
If you require a solution within your school, academy or university don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 0845 4682543. We’re here to help you find the right solution and to help you provide full access to your premises.