Posted on: 28 December 2017
If you need to make your business or public premises more accessible to wheelchair users then installing a wheelchair lift is a great solution. If you are responsible for improving accessibility then perhaps you have been thinking about installing a lift but are unsure where to start? Wheelchair lifts are available in many forms and it can be a daunting prospect to choose the most suitable lift for your location. There are fixed and portable lift options. Indoor and outdoor lifts, keyed operation lifts, and even lifts with side door exits. Picking the best option can seem impossible, but it doesn't have to be a complicated decision as long as you are clear about what features you need from your lift. Once you know what you require then the most practical lift solution will be obvious. Here are the three basic questions you will need to consider before you can determine the best wheelchair lift for your premises.
Why do you need to install a lift?
Is the lift really necessary? Wouldn't a wheelchair ramp be easier? The most common type of wheelchair lift is the vertical platform lift (VPL), they are a popular choice when stairs can't be used. Some venues will always prefer to fit a wheelchair ramp rather than a lift, but a ramp isn't always practical or desirable. Wheelchair lifts can be designed to occupy a small footprint, especially if a pit is used allow ground access and avoid the need to access the lift via a ramp. In public settings a lift will present a lower profile and a more desirable aesthetic than a larger ramp.
Who will use the lift?
Wheelchair lifts are used to allow disabled individuals to move around obstacles in their home or at a business premises. In addition to wheelchair users these lifts are often used by any other individual who may have difficulty moving around an obstacle. Having a lift in your business, school, church, or convention centre gives disabled people the ability to freely enter and leave your building, and to attend events that they would otherwise be forced to miss. Once you allow access in this way how many people do you expect to be accessing your new lift at one time? If you have an expectation of a high volume of traffic your lift solution will be different to a lift that will only be used occasionally.
How much noise is acceptable?
Different lift solutions generate different amounts of noise. Thinking about where the lift is situated and how the surrounding area is used will determine how much noise your lift can make without causing unacceptable disturbance to those nearby.
If you are unsure whether your chosen lift design is appropriate take a look at the types of lifts being used in similar locations as this will give you an idea of the most appropriate solution for your premises. If you have any questions then talking to your supplier is your best option as they will be able to advise you on wheelchair lifts they have fitted in similar venues in the past.