EXCLUSIVE: What OTs and their clients should consider when planning homelift installations
As more and more people are investing in homelifts, Alex Austin, Business Development Manager at Access BDD – a supplier of homelifts, platform lifts and stairlifts – advises what occupational therapists (OTs) and their clients should take into consideration when planning such a project.
By advising a client to install a homelift, you are not only making the entire property accessible, but you are also future proofing it. We are finding that an increasing number of new builds are including one in the initial design to achieve this.
When a homelift is suggested by their OT, many clients can be under the impression that installing one will take up a large amount of space. But this is not the case, and, depending on the type of property, it is also possible to have the lift installed on the outside of the building.
The client and other family members often assume it will be like having a large bulky elevator in their home, but a homelift takes up much less space. For example, our Altura Gold takes up just 930x950mm.
Whether your client is moving into a purpose-built new build or having their existing property adapted to meet their changing requirements, there are a wide range of homelift options available. All of these options are considerably more cost effective than an elevator and, in some instances, cost little more than a curved stairlift.
The first thing I would say is contact a homelift supplier that is local to your client (Access BDD has dealers covering all of the UK). Not only does this mean they will have someone based locally for servicing, but, more importantly, if there is ever a technical issue, they have the peace of mind that an engineer will be able to attend quickly.
I would also suggest that before completing the purchase, you and your client ask to see at least one of their previous installations – if they have happy customers this should not be an issue.
Many builders and architects will specify an elevator that requires considerably more construction than a homelift. One of the major advantages of a homelift is that it requires a much shallower pit of only 50mm. This is especially relevant when installing a lift into an existing property, as it is relatively easy to excavate. This compares to a pit of up to 1.2m-1.8m for an elevator. Installation of a homelift is also quicker, with the average installation time being approximately three to seven days, whereas an elevator lift can take up to six weeks.
It is vital to ensure there is sufficient support whether it is a metal or masonry shaft. Within a masonry shaft it needs to be a load-bearing wall, specifically where the guides will attach to the side of the lift to be able to support the weight of the lifting operation when in use.
For a metal shaft, on our smaller models, you have to have a load-bearing wall for the lift to attach to. If necessary, we also offer free-standing, self-supporting options. Internal homelifts are more popular, but, depending on the style and construction of the property, an external shaft can sometimes be the only option.
While your client and their family may be concerned about how a homelift will look on the ground floor, they also need to consider landing space/headroom on the top floor. You need to ensure there is enough room for the full lift, especially on the top floor where there might be a sloped ceiling for example. If this is an issue, the door height of the lift can be reduced.
To comply with European regulations, a homelift can have no more than six stops and travels at a maximum seed of 0.15 meters per second, so to get from ground level to the fourth floor would take approximately one minute.
We recently launched a homelift product configurator for OTs and their clients so they can sit down and specify their lift, put in dimensions, then choose colours, finish, door style etc. – it is like choosing a new car. This enables them to see how their homelift will look when installed and is already proving very popular.
The Altura range of homelifts from Access BDD consists of three models: Gold, Diamond and Platinum. All three models offer varying levels of comfort and have been designed to be easily installed in most indoor and outdoor environments.