Posts Tagged "Porchlifts"

15Jan

Unenclosed Wheelchair Lifts for Public Buildings

by Andrew @ Uppercut
Unenclosed commercial Trus-T-Lift™

Unenclosed Trus-T-Lift™ with an Upper Landing Door

 

 

 

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.
    Trus-T-Lift™

    Unenclosed Trus-T-Lift™ with a Platform Gate

    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

11Mar

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

by Andrew @ Uppercut

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

My career into the world of elevators and lifts started out as a technician, primarily installing and repairing residential lifts such as porch lifts. In my 17 years I have I have sold, repaired and maintained a multitude of different devices. I have leaned what products stand the test of time, and which ones fall short. The following is a list of things you should consider before you purchase a porch lift.

                                                                      Drive Mechanism

reslifts_5

 

There are really only two choices in Alberta , ACME  Screw drive or hydraulic. Both mechanisms are safe and incorporate the required safety redundancies, but there is a big difference when it comes to how they function in the cold weather. When hydraulic fluid gets cold it thickens, which can cause the porch lift to operate slower, or not function at all . For this reason (along with an increased costs) I would typically never offer a hydraulic unit in an outdoor application.

Features like a Zero Load Start will lessen the strain on your porch lift during the  initial start up. This offering allows the motor to cycle prior to picking up the load and lessens the chance of blowing  the house breaker. Having a device with a direct drive (no gearbox) will also aid in your lifts functionality during the cold weather.

 

 

Platform Size

Most manufacturers make several platform sizes so it is important that your quote specifies the

Trus-T-Lift™ unenclosed – Porch Lift

Trus-T-Lift™ unenclosed – Porch Lift

size that will meet your needs. While a 48″ long platform may meet a portion of the populations requirements, I recommend a platform the is 54″ long. This longer platform will be able to accommodate most wheelchair users and an attendant if necessary. Widths are pretty much standardized in the industry with a typical size being between 34″-36″. If your porch lift needs to be configured to have adjacent access or a 90 degree turn, it is important to have a platform size of 40″ wide x 54″ long. This will ensure that the individual using the device can make the turn with ease.

Solid or Steel Mesh Platforms

If you choose a porch lift with a solid (non-see though) platform you will be required to purchase a device with an under-pan sensor. This sensor is necessary to ensure that you will not crush objects that you can not see under the platform when moving in a downward direction. The good news about under-pan sensors is that they work. The bad news is they can be temperamental  and cause the lift not to run. I remember one of my first service calls; I was dispatched to a lift that had gone up but would not come back down. Upon examination I had discovered that the under-pan had dropped down as it is intended to do, but the plunger switches that monitor the pan were frozen in the engaged position. The lift “thought” there was an obstruction, and therefore would not operate in the downward direction. For this reason I prefer lifts that have steel mesh platforms where the user can see any obstructions below the lift. I find it to be a simpler solution to this safety concern. The mesh also allows the rain and snow to fall through the platform, lessening the chance for ice build up and platform warping.

                                                                                                   Controls

Upper landing gate

Upper landing gate

Due to code restrictions, residential lifts such as porch lifts or vertical platform lifts are required to operate under constant pressure. This means you have to hold the button for the lift to run. For this reason it is recommended that the buttons on the device are both large enough and easy to access. You want a control that does not protrude into the platform area like a joystick, as these are easily bent or broken if a  wheelchair user drives into it. You also need  a controller that is weather resistant will not become stuck. I prefer a “paddle style”  control with soft touch operation.

Site Preparation

This is the work required so that  your residential lifts provider can install your device safely. All porch lifts need some form of foundation for the device to be mounted to. This can be accomplished with a variety of methods but the most common would be concrete sidewalk blocks or a poured concrete pad. Next we need to ensure that there is no risk of a pinching hazard, so we ask that a sheer plate is added the deck side of the lift. Finally we need to minimize the risk of someone falling off the deck area if the lift is in the down position. An upper landing gate will need to  be constructed to meet this safety requirement. Another option would be to have your lift provider include a porch lift gate for an additional cost. For applications where the lift is directly in from of a door (like in a garage) we need to monitor the door with an interlock to ensure that the door will not open if the lift is not at that level.

More information on porch lifts and residential lifts can be found here

A complete list of contractual requirements can be found here —–> Porch Lift Contractor Requirements

A summery of this document can be found here ——>Porch lift features

You may qualify for the Residential Access Modification Program (RAMP) . Click here to download the application