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10 questions to help you choose the right type of lift

So you've decided that your commercial project is in need of a people moving lift, or an additional lift. But which type do you need? To help you choose we've come up with some questions to consider.

Traffic analysis is essential. After this, consideration should be given to the practical building requirements and the profile of the lift users. In order to help you identify the type of vertical passenger carrying lift you require, here are a series of questions to work through.

A. Traffic analysis and users of the lift

Traffic analysis should always be undertaken when considering a lift as the requirements can vary. For example, in an office there may be traffic at the start of the day, lunch-times and at the end of the working day versus a retail clothing store with children’s wear placed upstairs. As part of traffic analysis you also need to consider the following:

1. Number of people?

All decisions on the number of lift(s) you require (e.g. single, duplex or triplex), which location(s) you require them, all the way down to the actual size and type of the lift(s), will be governed by your traffic analysis. Different products can carry vastly different numbers of passengers. For example, platform lifts can hold anything from 1 to 5 people (or a wheelchair user and one attendant), whereas passenger lifts can vary from low to high travel, small lifts for 4 or 6 people, or up to larger lifts built to transport people, shopping trolleys etc.

Based on your traffic flow and size of building you may also want to consider whether you have a requirement for an escalator or moving walkway.

2. Who will be using your lift?

The types of people who use the building, and therefore your lift, are pertinent in the choice of product as the features it may have, and the options you need to include in your specification, can be dictated by it. Therefore, it is worth ascertaining who will be using the lift and how it will be used. For example, if you are placing a platform lift in a nursing home or a place where elderly persons will use the lift independently, then automatic buttons (instead of constant pressure or 'hold to run') will make the operation of the lift much easier.

An inclined walkway or escalator is typically in addition to a lift as they are not suitable for wheelchair users due to the incline. Most moving walkways can accomodate accompanied wheelchair users but it is worth stipulating this as a requirement.

B. Practical building requirements and building limitations

Before deciding on a lift product, you need to ascertain what the practical requirements and limitations are for your building, without this information, you will not be able to progress any further.

3. New or existing building?

When considering a lift, you must first consider the age and design of your building. New buildings can easily accomodate a lift shaft. However, older buildings can sometimes have a very limited capacity for major changes, such as the creation of a shaft, due to the required loadings or available space. If this is the case then our self-supporting FX structure or platform lift range might prove the right solution for you.

4. What type of building are you placing the lift into? 

You also may need to consider the life cycle of your building. A lifespan of a lift is at least 10 years or more, therefore, you will need to know if the building use will change in that time or not.

5. How much space do you have in your building?  

Analysing how much space you have available will allow you to assess if you can fit lifts of a certain size and capacity. If your building needs to comply with Part M, then a recommended minimum Part M lift size is as follows:
Part M Graphic.png

6. Number of floors or steps?

Determining the number of floors or steps that the lift(s) will be required to travel between is an essential ingredient. Most platform lifts go up to 12m, whereas passenger lifts can travel up to 40m or more. 

7. How much headroom and pit depth is available?

Our two primary passenger lift options (the Xtralift and the Maxilift) require a minimum pit depth of 1100mm and a minimum headroom of 3400mm. However, there are reduced headroom options for most situations and reduced pit models too. If headroom and pit depth are very tight, then platform lifts can be an option (subject to other factors). For platform lifts, in circumstances where a pit is not possible, a ramp can be fitted, but you will need to allow extra space on the lowest floor.

8. Do you have an existing lift shaft? can you build one? Is there another option if you can't build a lift shaft?

If you have an existing lift shaft, or are able to build one, then it is best to ensure that this will be able to fit the headroom and pit requirements of your preferred product choice. For existing shafts or replacement lifts, a site survey is often required to recommend the most suitable option. Most lift companies, including Stannah are able to provide this service.

C. The requirements of the lift(s) 

As well as considering the size, speed and lift capacity,  also consider the safety features and regulations they need to conform to and then finally, what you want them to look like. All these factors affect the choice available and the likely cost.

9. Aesthetics?

When it comes to finishes, the lift car ceiling, walls and flooring are all fully customisable for both passenger and platform lifts. The finish of the lift comes down to the look and feel you are trying to create, whether you want the lift to be in keeping with the building's aesthetic and of course how much you want to spend!

10. Does the lift need to comply with particular regulations, standards and/or building requirements?

There are a whole host of standards and regulations surrounding lifts, including vandal resistance, fire-fighting (EN81-72) and emergency fire evacuation (BS999) to name a few. If you need to adhere to a particular standard it is worth mentioning this from the outset, otherwise it may lead to additional costs down the road.

Hopefully these questions have helped you to narrow down your choice of people moving lifts. Here at Stannah we offer a broad range of vertical passenger carrying lifts, so try to ensure that you select the most fit-for-purpose solution. To see key product requirements, building considerations and typical installation times take a look at our handy infographic

Stannah Lifts Moving People Infographic

Stannah can supply you with any lift product suitable for a commercial building, so feel free to look through our lift range for further visuals, case studies and to download technical information. 

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 for many years, been in support of various committees in developing industry regulations and standards. Our experience means that we are an authoritative voice in the lift industry. www.stannahlifts.co.uk

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