It is because platform lifts allow the less able people to independently move around the buildings and also overcome daily obstacles like steep staircases and small floor level changes that they often make an integral part of the plan of a building. Companies use platform lifts to make different goods and services and the premises more easily accessible to people who have mobility problems, in compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act as introduced in 1995.
If platform lifts are misapplied, then they can prove to be really expensive and it can be quite time-consuming to get it rectified. Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that they be selected very carefully. Some companies entrust this responsibility to building contractors which may be quite economical in case the unit is part of a larger project, like a refurbishment. However, when it comes to standalone lift jobs, it is to deal with the manufacturers directly that will prove to be more cost effective.
But for more than one reason, it can be daunting to choose the right lift. The factors to be considered are many and the implications that a bad decision might have can be simply disastrous. Quite fortunately, most manufacturers are known for providing free assistance and advice to the customers starting from the early consultation to the design and installation. However, the initial questions that most customers with access issues ask are the same and this article will help address the top ten queries.
- One of the main differences between platform lifts and conventional passenger lifts is of the operator controls as the platform lift carriage requires continuous pressure on its push buttons to function. Another important distinction is that the maximum travel speed for platforms is limited to 0.15 metres per second, which then to travel to a height of 3 metres takes them approximately 20 seconds. At the same time, platforms do not have the enclosed cabin and halts on encountering any object or person.
- There are a range of platform lifts available and there are designs to suit even the most demanding requirements. Many travel vertically, while the inclined versions transport wheelchair users up the stairway with folding platforms on curved or straight rails.
- The less-intensive scenarios where the traditional passenger lift is not warranted are ideal for the platform models which are compact, cost-effective and easy to install.
- Though ramps can provide a simple access solution and also save a lot of money, sometimes ramps are not suitable for certain scenarios. The long way required for ramps to be stretched rules them out of many internal projects. However, if the obstacle needed to be overcome is a small step or gap, then ramps will be cost-effective.
- The cost of the platform lifts will vary according to the model, load capacity, travel distance, dimensions, appearance, build work, accessories etc. It can be manufactured providing a detailed quote according to individual requirements.
- Whether a platform lift will require a pit or a supporting wall will depend on the manufacturer and the model. Some platforms require neither and yet travel to appreciable heights, while others require a pit and/or a supporting wall.
- Platform lifts have a range of safety features like hand winding, peripheral safety edge, emergency battery lowering system for power failure, protection against overloading, carriage alarms, landing/door gates with automatic lock when in motion to prevent people from entering and other features.
- There are great varieties available in travel height as some range from a few inches to many metres. Manufacturers also provide custom-built units for non-standard requirements.
- It depends on the model of platform lift how much weight it can carry. Small units which lift 300kg are more than enough for a wheelchair user moving up a short stairway. Others with larger capacity can carry a wheelchair, a carer and also travel much further.
Platform lifts are also suitable for external use as units for both indoor and outdoor application are offered by most manufacturers.