Hidden wheelchair access lifts for historic buildings

A slight difference in floor height or a couple of steps can prevent a wheelchair user from being able to enter a building or room. A hidden access lift provides the ideal solution, particularly when it comes to historic buildings.

Designing and installing access solutions for heritage buildings can be achieved whilst preserving historic fabrics. Vertical platform lift solutions come with their own self-supporting shaft and low-rise platform lift solutions can be fixed without wall attachments or having to dig a pit.

A hidden wheelchair lift is also designed to protect the integrity of historic buildings. This is because the product discreetly blends into the surrounding environment, and it can be made to specification to match existing materials such as a stone or marble floor.

Access to heritage buildings with entrance steps

This is an example of how a Cantilever Platform Lift was used to overcome steps from the forecourt up to the main entrance door of the Regency style building.

Like many other terrace buildings in historic cities and towns, Darwin House has entrance steps. The Platform Lift Company worked with the architect to create a bespoke Cantilever Platform Lift to fit the available space and environment. Block paving was used to cover the platform lift to match the existing forecourt and to blend in with the period style façade.

When not in use, this type of wheelchair lift remains flush with the surrounding floor surface until it is activated. With a touch of a button, the Cantilever Platform Lift will rise out of the floor and move over the steps until it reaches the next level. It can then be lowered back into the pit using the control panel. The safety kerb barrier is a sensitive edge, meaning the lift will stop if anything touches it.

Hidden platform lift versus a ramp

A temporary ramp is often used to enable wheelchair users to access or move around a building which has steps. This might be an adequate solution, but does it give the best user experience?

There is another solution. A hidden step lift can reach heights of 0-500 mm and can be covered to match an existing floor fabric. It is built into the floor, so the mechanism is completely concealed. The lifting platform remains flush with the existing flooring when not in use, making it ideal for shop entrances or visitor attractions.

Installing wheelchair access

We have extensive experience in creating disability access within listed and historic buildings including cathedrals, heritage tourist attractions and private homes. Please get in touch to speak to our expert team.


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