Posts Tagged "wheelchair"

23Aug

Custom Built Accessibility Lifts

by UppercutAndrew

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:

  1. A pit-less application – they wanted to avoided cutting up the existing concrete
  2. No machine room – the available space did not allow for this
  3. A full height car complete with a ceiling – they wanted to duplicate the feel of a regular passenger elevator
  4. Travel speed of 37′ per minute (maximum allowable by code) – The lift needed to travel over 23′
  5. Bi-folding doors – so that they did not swing into the hallway at the second and 3rd levels
  6. 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

More information on Commercial Accessibility Lifts can be found here or you can contact us  at our Calgary or Edmonton offices.

 

 

 

13Apr

Portable Wheelchair lift

by UppercutAndrew
Commercial Accessibility

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.

If you require more information on permanent or portable accessibility lifts please visit the page here

17Mar

Uppercut adds another wheelchair accessibility lift to a public building

by UppercutAndrew
Commercial Accessibility News and Such

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.

 

For more information on commercial accessibility lifts please contact us at either our Calgary or Edmonton offices

 

Outdoor Porch Lifts for Private and Public Applications

by UppercutAndrew
Commercial Accessibility Home Accessibility

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.

20160203_160710

 

Our preferred lift for exterior installations is the RAM Trus-T-Lift™.  We recommend this wheelchair lift for both residential and commercial applications for the following reasons:

Drive Mechanism

The TrusT utilizes a reliable ACME screw drive. Unlike hydraulic drives, there is no hydraulic fluid to thicken when the temperature gets cold.

Finish

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.

 

Simplicity

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 reslifts_5controllers 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.

 

If you have more questions regarding exterior porch lifts contact us or click here for more information

 

 

15Jan

Unenclosed Wheelchair Lifts for Public Buildings

by UppercutAndrew
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

22Oct

LULA Elevators (Limited use limited application) for Commercial Applications

by UppercutAndrew

LULA elevators are a great solution when an accessibility lift isn’t enough, but a passenger elevator is more than you need. As the title indicates LULA stands for Limited Use / Limited Application. By the very nature of the name it is obvious that this product does have  its limitations. While LULA elevators function in a similar manner to passenger elevators (automatic operation and sliding elevator doors) the following restrictions apply:

Car SizeLULA elevators

A LULA elevator can have maximum car size of 18 square feet. This restriction makes it impossible to accommodate a stretcher,  and therefore if this is a code requirement, a LULA is not a suitable option.

Speed

Your LULA elevator will operate at 30 feet/minute

Travel

In Alberta a LULA’s can travel up to 7.6 meters if there  is stretcher access already in the building. If not we are limited to 7 meters of travel. This typically limits a LULA elevator to 3 floors in a low rise building. If the device travels more than 7 meters it will be required to have fire service, just like a passenger elevator

Capacity

LULA’s typically have a maximum  capacity of 1400lbs

Benefits of a LULA include:

  • Less construction cost for the hoist-way (smaller pit, less load on the supporting wall etc.)
  • Smaller footprint (even less space required if you choose a MRL unit)
  • Lower cost for the equipment compared to a passenger elevator
  • Lower cost for maintenance compared to passenger elevators
  • Automatic operation and sliding elevator doors (functions and looks like a passenger elevator)

We often refer to a LULA   as a  hybrid between a commercial accessibility lift and a passenger elevator; therefore it  is a perfect solution for wheelchair access in low rise public  buildings where the use is limited.

For more information on LULA elevators, contact us or download our LULA Brochure

Uppercut Elevators and Lifts is proud to offer Made in Alberta solutions

 

 

 

23Jun

Advantages of (Machine Room-less) MRL Elevators

by UppercutAndrew

This article is not referring to passenger elevators and is intended to discuss the advantages of MRL Elevators in a residential or commercial accessibility lift setting. A machine room-less elevator or an MRL Elevator is a device that typically houses the drive mechanism at the top of the hoistway. By doing this the need for a machine room is eliminated, as the entire device is contained within the elevator footprint.MRL elevator

Units that require a machine room( like most hydraulic drives) will also require the electrical and hydraulic hoses to run through a wall from the machine room to the elevator hoistway. In cases where the machine room is not adjacent to the elevator, a remote machine room will be required.  This can be costly and create logistical problems with the running of hydraulic hose through the floor, ceiling or in the walls. It also poses several maintenance concerns; What if a hose ran through a ceiling for instance and it starts to leak? Will it be possible to do a scheduled hose replacement? What type of ongoing costs should you expect in this application? This is a definite advantage of an MRL, having the entire elevator in one contained space.

The second advantage is quite simple; with an MRL elevator, you do not have to allocate the additional space to house the drive mechanism. Depending on the drive system and whether the installation is residential or commercial (B-355),  a machine room could require anywhere from 12  to 20 square feet.  This is space that could be used for storage, a larger elevator car, or a revenue opportunity (like a couple of extra tables in a restaurant).

Finally look at all the costs associated with constructing that machine room. If you think about it,  its equivalent to the cost of half the elevator hoistway  (2 stop). On top of the basic room construction, you will need to provide lighting, possible drains, sump pumps or oil separators, additional sprinkler/smoke detectors, and an additional door (fire rated in a public application).  These costs can add up quickly, and should be considered when calculating the overall cost of the elevator.

To recap MRL Elevator units will:

  • Save you money when it comes to maintenance
  • Require less space
  • Reduce the initial cost of construction

For more information on Commercial MRL Elevators click here For more information on Residential MRL Elevators click here

5Jun

New Government Funding for Home Accessibility

by UppercutAndrew
Home AccessibilityThe government is proposing a new, non-refundable home accessibility tax credit for seniors and persons with disabilities that will provide tax relief of 15 per cent, up to $10,000 of eligible expenditures per calendar year, per individual, to a maximum of $10,000 per dwelling. The credit could be used on costs incurred to renovate or alter a home in order to provide better access to or inside the dwelling. Items could include vertical platform lifts ,wheelchair ramps, stairlifts (or stair chair lifts) as well as exterior porch lifts. The program would also cover home elevators if they are installed due to an accessibility need.
                                                             
residential lifts
The information is listed on page 245 of the budget

 

16Mar

Commercial Accessibility Lifts – Understanding the Code and Approval Procedure

by UppercutAndrew
Lift

Enclosed Lift in a glass hoist-way

 

 

Commercial accessibility lifts are governed by the B-355 code. If a lift is being installed in a public application make sure that your lift provider specifies that the product is B-355 code compliant. All public lifts are required to be registered with the Alberta Elevating Devices Amusement Rides Safety Association (AEDARSA). After a lift is registered, and the engineered stamped drawings are reviewed, AEDARSA then issues a Certificate of Construction. Now your lift provider may proceed with the installation of your elevating device. After the installation is complete AEDARSA will need to be booked  for the initial inspection.

 

 

 

 

To recap the procedure is:

Trus-T-Lift™ with platform gate

Unenclosed Lift with platform gate

  1. Generate engineered drawings (lift provider)
  2. Registration of the lift with AEDARSA (lift provider)
  3. Review of the drawings  (AEDARSA)
  4. Issue certificate of construction (AEDARSA)
  5. Installation (lift provider)
  6. Inspection (AEDARSA)

Now that we understand the procedure it is important to know some of the code restrictions as they pertain to vertical platform lifts.

Travel

Enclosed B355 devices  are limited to a total travel of 7000mm or about 23 feet, while unenclosed lifts may  travel up to 2500mm or 98.25 inches. It`s important to note that unenclosed platforms may not penetrate a floor. Travel is defined as the floor to floor measurement. This typically limits accessibility lifts to 3 story buildings.

Platform size

The platform or lift car is limited to 21 square feet. If the platform is configured in a straight through application a 34x 54 inch (12.75 square foot) car size is often acceptable. If the site dictates adjacent access or a 90 degree turn, we recommend a larger platform to make the turn easier for the wheelchair user.

Constant Pressure

This is one of the major restrictions of the code. Public accessibility lifts are required to operate using constant pressure. This means you must hold the button in order for the lift to operate.

Commercial accessibility lifts

Enclosed lift with full height car

Capacity

Depending on the manufacturer, your vertical platform lift may have a 550, 750, 800, or 1000lb capacity. Some manufacturers make lifts than can accommodate up to  1400lb, but it should be questioned as to why you want this higher capacity, as there are limitations on platform size.  They may be  designed to accommodate an individual user in a wheelchair, or allow for an attendant as well. Your lift provider should make sure the platform size and capacity meet your specific needs while still satisfying code.

Hoist-way Construction

This work would typically be completed by a third party (not the lift supplier). Each lift will have specific criteria regarding the contractual requirements but it can be broken down into Enclosed and Unenclosed applications. The following documents explain the contractual requirements for each elevating device.

VPL Enclosed requirements for public applications

VPL Unenclosed requirements for public applications

For more information on commercial accessibility lifts click here

 

 

 

 

 

11Mar

Residential Lifts – What is a Porch Lift?

by UppercutAndrew

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