- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 10 Jan 2018
Platforms lifts and how they benefit people
Platform lifts allow a platform to rise up and down and are often installed in homes to enable independent living. They can be fitted indoors and outdoors and offer access where passenger lifts cannot be installed.
Platform lifts fall under the Machinery Directive, which means they travel at 0.15 m/s or less. Their slow speed means they are generally only used in low-rise buildings. Platform lifts are cost-effective and easy to install, and are popular as lifts for people with disabilities.
 Types of platform lifts
There are several types of platform lift, each capable of being used in a variety of settings and applications.
 Step lift (or low rise vertical platform lift)
 Inclined stair lift
The inclined stair lift refers to a level platform secured to a diagonal rail on a staircase. The aim of this lift is to carry a wheelchair and travel from ground level to an upper level, leaving the steps clear. These lifts are available in many different designs, so they can be installed virtually anywhere, including offices and homes. They can be placed in straight or curved staircases with several landings or turns.
 Vertical platform lift
These types of lifts are typically self-supporting structures secured to a wall. They are versatile, so they can be customised to existing designs or aesthetics. They can also be enclosed, allowing passengers to travel up and down a tube.
Platform lifts are commonly used to improve access to a building or level:
- The transport of people with physical disabilities who find it difficult or impossible to use stairs. This includes people with limited mobility or visually impaired.
- The ability for people with injuries to have access to different levels. For example, transporting an injured person down a flight of stairs can be a challenging or impossible task, whereas platform lifts grant easy access to medical personnel, equipment and people that need medical attention or have been injured.
- Families with children, pushchairs or prams can benefit from a platform lift.
- Moving goods and merchandise, especially if it weighs more than what can be comfortably carried by hand, is easy with a platform lift. They also offer safety, as it can be easier to control health and safety risks when the heavy goods are transported with a machine.
- Efficiency: A platform lift can carry a lot of weight while retaining its speed and safety. They are also energy-efficient, as they don’t consume large amounts of energy.
- Safety: Platform lifts are significantly safer than staircases when it comes to transporting people between floors.
- Independence: A platform lift can help people to remain independent in their own homes, as it allows easy access to different levels of the home.
- Confidence: They provide safety and stability to users when on the move; and their features protect users from accidents and injuries.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- A Brief History of Lifts Over the Years.
- Considerations When Installing a Residential Lift.
- Disabled access lifts
- Different Types of Lift Doors
- How to Install a Stairlift
- Lifting platform.
- Low Pit Lifts.
- The importance of service lifts.
- The science of lifts.
- The world's fastest lifts.
- Wheelchair platform stairlifts.
--Nathan Massey 10:13, 05 Jul 2017 (BST)
Featured articles and news
Whole-life costs consider all costs associated with the life of a building, from inception to disposal. Find out more here.
Reports emerge of injuries caused by Apple employees colliding with the campus' glazed walls.
The winners of NIC's ideas competition on transforming the Cambridge to Oxford arc discuss their concept.
Create new habitats and improve air quality and wellbeing.
New report provides 12 key actions which could close the structural talent gap in the construction industry.
These can be used to find out whether a proposed development is likely to be approved. Read more here.
Studying a built environment degree? Check out our helpful student resources section.
New BRE research paper explores how blockchain technology can benefit the built environment industry.
Timber is a natural carbon sink, but it must not end up in landfill at the end of its useful life.
BSRIA has collaborated with the Department of Health on research into air permeability in isolation rooms.