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Passenger lifts vs Platform lifts - the key differences...

Whilst both move passengers they are quite different! When deciding between passenger and platform lifts the difference can be confusing. So we've put together a short blog to outline the key differences between lift types and the directives they conform to. 

A lift is key to the vertical circulation of people in any public building, whether it's a simple change in level where it is not possible to provide a ramp, or the building has two or more floors that people with impaired mobility need to travel between. 

Lifts that move people fall into two categories, passenger lifts or platform lifts. If your commercial premises, museum, restaurant or shop has two or more floors, or changes in level within the building, then you will likely require some sort of lift if you are to provide access for all. But which type?

What is a passenger lift? 

Passenger lifts fall under the Lifts Directive, so travel faster than 0.15m/s. They come in all shapes and sizes, though eight person is the most common lift size as it is specified in Part M Vol 2 building regulations. These lifts can range in size from 3 people, all the way through to 33 people and beyond.

These types of lifts are best for new buildings, where it is easier to build a lift shaft, and create a lift pit etc or where there is an existing shaft. They also make a great addition to a building where the lift will get extensive use, either due to the building size or where the lift will be the primary means of traveling between floors.

passenger lift range

What is a platform lift?

Platform lifts fall under the Machinery Directive so travel 0.15m/s or less. Due to the slower speed it is designed to provide vertical movement between floors in a low rise building (typically two to four floors). These access lifts can range in size from 1 person/wheelchair user up to 5 people. There are many variants within the family, including cabin platform lifts, low speed passenger lifts and  wheelchair platform stairlifts - see our blog Platform lifts the choices and different types for more detailed descriptions.

These lifts are best for low rise buildings where most people will use the stairs, existing buildings where it is not possible and/or cost prohibitive to install a passenger lift or buildings where there is a disabled access problem.

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Which type of lift do I need?

The preference of building standards and best practice is for a passenger lift first and foremost. However, depending on the building constraints and requirements it may be the case that your building needs a platform rather than a passenger, or vice-versa. So how do you decide which lift is best for your building?  

To help you decide which product type is best for you, here's a neat little summary on the key differences and a little more detail on the benefits of each type.

 Product type  Passenger lift Platform lift
Travel Up to 40 metres Up to 12 metres
Speed > 0.15 metres per second <= 0.15 metres per second
Number of people from 3 to 33 people from one wheelchair user to up to 5 people
Relevant Directive Lifts Directive Machinery Directive
Best for: Buildings where the lift will get extensive use due to the building size/use
Buildings where the lift will be the primary means of traveling between floors
Existing buildings where it is not possible and/or cost prohibitive to install a passenger lift
Buildings where there is a disabled access problem

Summary

If your commercial premises, museum, restaurant or shop has two or more floors, or changes in level within the building, then you will likely require some sort of lift if you are to provide disabled access and access for all. Here at Stannah we offer a broad range of lifts so can advise on the best product to suit your needs.

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To see key product requirements, building considerations and typical installation times take a look at our handy infographic

Stannah Lifts Moving People Infographic

Still unsure? No problem! Get in touch to speak to one of our lift experts. 


Why are we the experts?  

Stannah have been supplying lifts since 1867 and have considerable experience of the choices and challenges facing architects, building owners and specifiers as a result. We are members of the Lift & Escalator Industry Association (LEIA), and have been for many years, supporting various committees in developing industry regulations and standards. Our experience means we are an authoritative voice in the lift industry. www.stannahlifts.co.uk

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