External Platform Lifts

Sean O’Sullivan, Managing Director of the Platform Lift Company, tells us more about external wheelchair lifts and installation requirements.

You only need to walk around London to see just how many buildings have front steps leading up the entrance. Aesthetically, entrance steps add grandeur to a façade and accentuate the architecture of a building but are they practical? If you are in a wheelchair or have mobility issues, then probably not. If you have a pushchair or pram, again overcoming the steps might be challenging. Although front steps are meant to welcome guests, visitors might not be able to physically enter the building.

So, what are the options? A fixed ramp provides a good solution but can take up a lot of space. A stairlift fixed to railings is another possibility but despite the fact these products have improved in design to look less clunky and operate smoothly, they are probably still best suited to occasional use. There is also the platform lift - a product which has advanced in design to meet different requirements and one that can be installed with minimal building work.

First, let’s look at an example of a low-rise style of platform lift. The EasyLift by Liftup is suitable for both internal and external applications. Designed by architects, it features clean lines and has an unobtrusive appearance, making it perfect for both contemporary and heritage buildings. This product is one of our bestsellers because it is stylish, comes in a range of different finishes and is motor driven.

FlexStep is also made by Liftup. This ingenious space-saving 2-in-1 platform lift solution provides both stairs and a stairlift even in the tightest of spaces. At the touch of a button, the FlexStep transforms from a flight of stairs to a platform lift.

Both these products can reach levels of up to 1.25m but our collection of open style platform lifts also feature models which can reach heights of up to 3m.

Our 3m Italian-manufactured platform lift can be made to specification and has been specifically designed to be installed with little or no alterations to an existing building – it doesn’t even require a pit. This platform lift is belt driven and very energy efficient.

We also have what we call our Deluxe Open Style Platform Lift; this product has a scissor mechanism with a hydraulic drive system. The pump and motor are housed separately. Architects love this model because of its high-end appearance; typically, this product will be custom built using luxury materials and finishes.

The last product which should be mentioned is the cantilever style platform lift. This type of model is mounted in a pit at the foot of the steps and can be covered to match block paving or other stonework. When not in use, the lift remains flush with the surrounding floor until it is activated; it then slowly rises out of the floor and over the steps until it reaches the next level. A cantilever platform lift rises to 1m, making it ideal to overcome a couple of entrance steps.

In this article we have just covered the different options to overcome entrance steps; to reach heights of over 3m then an enclosed vertical platform lift would be required. When it comes to the design and build, stainless steel is the best material to use for an outdoor platform lift because of its durability and weather resistance. Steel can also be galvanised to prevent rust and powder-coated to create colour or a particular finish.

For more information about our range of outdoor platform lifts suitable for exterior applications, please get in contact.

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