The world of inclined platform lifts in a commercial accessibility setting is riddled with failed attempts by companies trying to penetrate the Canadian market.
Commercial lifts for public applications
Commercial lifts, or vertical platform lifts, can help make a space accessible for those individuals with limited mobility. Wheelchair access is no longer considered an option; in many jurisdictions, it’s the law.
A wheelchair lift installed in a public space creates a welcoming environment that allows everyone the ability to travel freely throughout the building. In new construction, a wheelchair lift can be incorporated into your barrier-free design. This eliminates the need for long ramps that can eat up valuable space.
Commercial lifts can also be retrofitted into existing buildings providing that space allows for it.
The code they are inspected under
The code under which commercial lifts are installed is referred to as the B-355 code or; Lifts for Persons with Physical Disabilities (LPPD). This code ensures that each accessibility lift installed in Alberta is safe and easy to use. It also details the limitations under how these lifts may be used.
A commercial lift:
- Must not have a total travel of more than 7 meters (23’)
- Must operate under constant pressure
- May not have a platform larger than 21 square feet
The Process of Getting your Commercial Lift Certified.
A commercial lift requires a professional installation and ultimately will be inspected by AEDARSA (Alberta Elevating Devices & Amusement Rides Safety Association). In order to receive a Certificate of Operation your commercial lift supplier will have to implement the following steps:
- Provide engineer stamped lift drawings (verifying that the commercial lift meets the B-355 code)
- Register the accessibility lift with AEDARSA by providing the owner/ agent information
- Receive the certificate of construction from AEDARSA, stating that this commercial lift may be installed
- Install the lift as per the current code of the day
- Have the lift inspected by AEDARSA
- If any directives are present, address them and forward the report to AEDARSA
After these steps are completed your commercial accessibility lift will receive its certificate of operation and can now be used by the public.
Types of commercial lifts
Commercial lifts can either be unenclosed or enclosed by design. An unenclosed vertical platform lift can be utilized for applications where the travel is less than 2500mm (98.4 inches). These are often referred to as commercial porch lifts and are commonly installed on the exterior of public buildings. They have no structure build around them (other than one support wall) and the lift platform has no roof on it.
If You Need A Longer Lift
Distances beyond 2500mm require a complete hoistway or shaft to be constructed around the lift. If the lift goes through the floor an enclosed lift will also be required. This hoistway can be built using 2×6 construction, structural steel or concrete block.
A fire separation in the building may also be the determining factor as to if you require an enclosed or unenclosed commercial lift.
The hoistway should always be constructed using site-specific drawings. These drawings will detail blocking locations, rough opening for doors, and the structural requirements for your commercial lift.
More information on commercial lifts can be found on our commercial accessibility lift page
In my twenty years of experience in the elevator and lift industry, I have seen many companies come and go.
I have seen countless failed products hit the market and unfortunately, I have seen numerous clients hand over their money and not have their expectations met.
When making a big ticket purchase such as an elevator or a lift it is important for potential clients to do their homework. Clients should look past flashy marketing material and ask hard hitting questions of their sales person. The following is a list of questions that we believe your Elevator or lift supplier should have no issues answering.
- How long has the distributer been in business; will they be around years from now should you need support?
- How long has the product they represent been manufactured; will parts be available in the future?
- Are there multiple installations available for viewing?
- Do they conduct their own installations or is this outsourced?
- Do they make over the top claims such as offering warranty periods that far exceed their experience in the trade?
- Can they provide testimonials from real people who have had their product installed past the warranty period?
- Who services the product if there is an issue, and can they be reached after regular business hours?
As I stated, my experience spans 20 years and I have been at the helm of Uppercut since 2013. The home elevator and commercial accessibility lift products we represent – RAM, Bruno, and Wessex – have all been manufactured for well over 25 years. We have many satisfied clients throughout the province who are happy to share their experience with you.
We do not outsource our installations or service work, and are available when you need us. 9:00 am to 5:00pm doesn’t cut it in our business. Uppercut Elevators and our suppliers have stood the test of time and have a proven track record for providing exceptional customer service throughout the province of Alberta. Our products can be found in every major center including: Calgary, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray. Our installations include not only private homes, but places of worship, community centers, schools, retail spaces, office and professional buildings.
After all the proof is in the pudding; if your elevator and lift supplier can’t show you a happy customer, how do you know one exists?
While the primary purpose of an custom built accessibility lifts should be to provide reliable wheelchair access, this doesn’t necessarily mean the device needs to look like a piece of medical equipment. We recently completed a project for a client that required secondary wheelchair access up to the 3rd floor of an office building. There are a variety of products that would satisfy this need but this client had some very specific criteria. Due to the fact the accessibility lift needed to be located in an atrium full of glass and plants it was important to preserve the look of the space. The client required:
- A pit-less application – they wanted to avoided cutting up the existing concrete
- No machine room – the available space did not allow for this
- A full height car complete with a ceiling – they wanted to duplicate the feel of a regular passenger elevator
- Travel speed of 37′ per minute (maximum allowable by code) – The lift needed to travel over 23′
- Bi-folding doors – so that they did not swing into the hallway at the second and 3rd levels
- An aesthetically pleasing hoistway and lift – It needed to look like it belonged in the space
RAM CTL ACCESSIBILITY LIFTS
The first 5 points could be easily achieved by using the RAM CTL (commercial traction lift), as this would all be included in the standard product offering. To achieve the desired look we needed to get creative so we did the following custom work:
- Had Greywolf projects build a custom glass and wood hoistway finished as per the clients specifications
- Added a glass wall to the elevator car
- Provided stainless steel doors at the landing entrances
- Upgraded the lift with stainless steel trim inside the elevator car
- Clad the lift wall panels with a custom laminate
Portable Wheelchair lift
We recently delivered a portable wheelchair lift to the Air Force Museum Society of Alberta. This product was the perfect solution as they had several locations which required temporary wheelchair lift access. This portable wheelchair lift easily rolls to each display and allows everyone to view all the amazing features of the museum .
The RAM portable wheelchair lift is utilized when necessary, then stored away until another accessibility need arises. This was a far more cost effective solution than installing a stationary lift at each display. It also gives the museum the flexibility to move or add new attractions at a later date.
This wheelchair accessibility lift is not intended to replace a permanent lift, and must be stored away from the place of access when not in use. The Portable Trus-T-Lift™ in not required to be inspected by AEDARSA (Alberta Elevating Devices Amusement Rides Safety Association) due to its portable and temporary nature. Please note that portable wheelchair lifts are not intended to replace or alleviate the need for a permanent installation. Chances are if you are required by code to make a space accessible you will need to go the permanent lift route.
The small footprint allows for easy storage and manoeuvrability . The dimensions can be viewed at the following Portable lift sample drawing.
At Uppercut Elevators and Lifts, we take pride in servicing everything we sell. We believe the relationships we develop with our clients is ongoing, and shouldn’t end after the salesperson gets your name on the contract. We stand behind our products and won’t give you the run around when you need your elevator or lift servicing or repairing. We work in both a commercial and residential environment and are dedicated to getting your device up and running as soon as possible.
- Use experienced factory trained technicians
- Have offices and staff in both Edmonton and Calgary
- Sell elevators manufactured in Alberta, so parts are readily available and delivered quickly
- Offer 24 hour Emergency service
- Specialize in RAM and Bruno products. We don’t try to be all thing to all people , and believe you do one thing and do it right!
- Focus on dealing with residential elevators/lifts and commercial accessibility lifts
When you consider purchasing an elevator or accessibility lift make sure you ask about your providers’ after sales service. Enquire as to where their devices come from, and typically how long it takes to get a part. Ask if they offer after hours service, and find out what their core business is.
If your home elevator or wheelchair lift needs service please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime.
We recently completed an installation at the Prairie Moon Inn and Suites located in Consort Alberta. The contractor was looking at retrofitting a wheelchair accessibility lift into the existing building. We had limited space so there was no excess square footage available for a machine room, nor did the contractor want to chip away the concrete slab to create a pit. The end user needed a durable drive mechanism that could handle lots of use, as it would be the only elevating device in the hotel.Fortunately we had the ideal product for this situation. We utilized the RAM CTL, which requires no machine room or pit. The secret to this wheelchair accessibility lift is its compact traction counter weight drive, that fits right in the hoist-way. This system has passed the test of time and is 50% more energy efficient than comparable hydraulic wheelchair lifts. We were able to provide a lift platform of close to 21 square feet, and a 1000lb capacity, so guests would feel comfortable when riding in this lift. The interior car finish featured raised car panels (standard offering) with a stainless steel reveal.
The number one question we get when discussing an exterior lift is “how well does it work in the winter?”. Although we have been fortunate in Alberta so far this year , we know all too well that freezing temperatures are never too far off the horizon. So the question regarding cold weather operation is very valid.
The TrusT utilizes a reliable ACME screw drive. Unlike hydraulic drives, there is no hydraulic fluid to thicken when the temperature gets cold.
Some outdoor porch lifts are simply painted, but all Trus-T-Lift™s are finished with a durable powder coating that ensures the finish will stand up to the elements
Zero Load Start
This is a feature that is unique to the Trus-T-Lift™ that allows the motor to run prior to picking up the user. This feature minimizes the strain on the device giving the motor a chance to “warm up” and therefore it doesn’t experience the stress of start- up while under load. The result is fewer problems with breakers or fuses blowing under extreme conditions.
Keeping things simple has allowed this wheelchair lift to be a reliable accessibility solution when the temperatures drop. There are no hoses, valves, PC boards, pumps, or complex controllers associated with this drive .
Made in Alberta
Beyond any pride you may experience from buying local, it’s good to know that your outdoor lift is made for people, by people who live in the same environment as you. The Trus-T-Lift™ has been manufactured for close to 30 years in Edmonton, where they know a thing or two about winter conditions.
Our Unenclosed Wheelchair Lifts are ideal when you need access to a stage, raised lobby or any rise under 2500mm (98″) , an unenclosed vertical platform lift (VPL) may be the ideal solution. These elevating devices can save you on construction cost simply because as the name indicates they are “unenclosed”, and do not require a hoistway to be built. They do not need a pit and usually, come with a fold down ramp to create easy access to the lift platform. These lifts when installed commercially must adhere to the B-355 code and be inspected by AEDARSA (Alberta Elevating Devices & Amusement Rides Safety Association).
If you are thinking about wheelchair access for your place of worship, school, community centre or any public building there, are a few items to remember when considering an unenclosed VPL for accessibility.
The following items should be noted and discussed with your accessibility lift consultant:
- Any lift penetrating a floor can not be unenclosed and must have a hoistway constructed complete with a lower door.
Lifts with a rise of more than 600mm(23.5″) require an upper landing gate or full height door with an interlock
- These lifts will require an under platform sensor to remove the crushing or pinching hazard
- The running clearance (if partially enclosed) can be no less than 51mm(2″) and no more than 102mm (4″)
- The fascia wall where the lift runs must be level, plum, and smooth
- Typical capacities of these units are restricted to 750 lbs with a maximum of 1 wheelchair user and an attendant
- All B-355 code compliant lifts (enclosed and unenclosed) are required to operate under constant pressure
- Depending on the application you may want to restrict access by making the unit keyed. A provision will have to be made so the public can call an attendant if the device is keyed.
- For higher rises, you may want to consider a platform gate that travels with the lift for safety
- A rough footprint of a standard platform will be approximately 4′ wide by 5′ long. A sample drawing can be found here
- Your lift will require an initial inspection, maintenance and an annual inspection
- There will be items not provided by the lift contractor such as emergency lighting , GFCI receptacle, and electrical disconnect
Over the years I have provided a multitude of these units to create wheelchair access in public buildings. Unenclosed vertical platform accessibility lifts offer a simple and cost-effective solution for your barrier free needs.
For more information on commercial accessibility lifts, including larger enclosed lifts that penetrate the floor, please click here
For information on residential lifts, please click here
When I think of making an environmentally sound decision, especially if it pertains to green elevators or a lift purchase, I can point out 3 contributing factors .
This seems pretty obvious but if you can purchase a locally manufactured elevator or lift, the transportation impact can be minimized. Buying local not only reduces emissions it saves you money on shipping costs associated with replacement parts.
#2 What impact could the drive mechanism have on the environment?
Devices that utilize large hydraulic pumps and reservoirs may need to have precautionary measures were taken, such as oil separators in the event of a hydraulic oil leak. This is to ensure that the oil cannot seep into the ground or water table. Some jurisdictions in the past have asked that food grade oil is used in order to alleviate this concern. Elevators and lifts that utilize a Traction Counter Weight or Screw Drive don’t actually pose this risk, as no hydraulic fluid is used. These greener solutions only require a 2″-3″ pit (or no pit at all) so there is less concern with disturbing ground water. You may even be able to save some money on your site preparation as hydraulic elevators can require anywhere from a 6″ to 60″ pit.
#3 What are the ongoing energy costs?
This cost is two fold; the energy consumed as it relates to the environment and the monetary cost directly to you. Do your research on how much energy your elevator or lift will require operating. Devices with a mechanical advantage such as a traction counterweight drive will be up to 50% more energy efficient that a comparative hydraulic unit. Hydraulic elevators have to pump fluid into a cylinder which is often located in a separate machine room.
It doesn’t matter if your goal is to consciously protect the environment or simply save some money (energy costs, site preparation , and maintenance), it’s apparent that the two can go hand in hand.