Things to consider when buying a vertical platform lift
1. Types of platform lifts
An open platform lift does not have a shaft whereas an enclosed platform lift has a shaft for its entire length. An open style platform can only be used up to a maximum travel of 3 metres.
The main drive systems used are guided chain, screw drive and hydraulic. It is important that you discuss the 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 instance hydraulic units will require space for the fluid tank.
3. Pit or ramp?
Platform lifts will require a pit between 50mm – 150mm. Many of the manufacturers will offer a ramp for the bottom door if a pit can not be provided. If a ramp is chosen consideration should be given to the ramp being a potential tripping hazard.
4. Door Hangings:
The way in which the door opens at 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?
5. Auto doors?
Auto 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.
6. Colour choice:
Manufacturers can provide lifts in many different colours. Doors can be different colours to the shaft, 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 or blend the lift in by matching the surrounding colour.
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.
8. Space :
It is vital that the size 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 use. The manufacturer will also state the installation space that is required, this is usually 30-100mm more than the footprint size.
9. Fire rating?
Does the lift shaft need to be fire rated? Your architect or local planning office 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.