Accessibility is at the forefront of today's society. More and more places are being made accessible from listed buildings to offices but more can still be done. Architects, designers and contractors can sometimes find it difficult to find a solution that provides the necessary disabled access that also fits their vision. Particularly in the retail and restaurants sector the impact of a traditional platform lift can be underestimated. Before you know it the traditional lift is eating into valuable shop space or taking away restaurant covers. When the traditional platform lift's footprint plus gates on both floors is taken into account, the overall impact length can easily reach 3.5 metres and sometimes more. This doesn't take into account the space in front of gates for users to manoeuvre. Therefore the space needed for a traditional open platform lift is over 5 metres. When comparing the areas of the different lifts, our hidden lifts take up less than half the space that traditional platform lifts do. If you compare our hidden lifts with a wheelchair ramp then our lifts take up less than an ⅛ of the space of a ramp across a 500mm rise. This space has huge potential especially in the hospitality and retail industries where every metre of space is valuable.
Benefits to Users
Easy to Use: Our hidden lifts come with remote controls making them incredibly easy to use, this can be in the form of a key fob for home use or even a remote control at the front desk of a commercial office.
No Gates: Our traversing lifts pictured above don't require gates therefore don't require difficult manoeuvres to get onto the platform making the process of getting from one floor to another simpler and easier.
Access on All Sides: When the lift is on the lower floor the roll off protection drops into the floor so there are no sides therefore the lift can be boarded and disembarked from any direction. This helps in tight spaces where traditional lifts simply won't fit.
Quick: Being able to board from all sides and having a lift with no gates make travelling between the two floor levels quick.
Benefits to Architects
Sleek Design: The lift can be finished with the same flooring as the rest of the floor whether that's tiles, composite flooring or even a teak deck. The lift blends seamlessly with its surroundings.
Spacing Saving: With no gates and no outer frame the overall footprint of the lift is considerably less compared to traditional platform lifts, great for restaurants and retail where space is at a premium. Less space taken up by the lift means more space for restaurant covers or for shop stands.
Hidden: It might seem obvious but having a lift that recedes into the ground helps architectural design by not disrupting lines of sight making spaces more pleasing on the eye.
Quick Installation: Our hidden lifts only require a pit and a power supply so it really is plug and play, most installations of our hidden lifts take 1-2 days.
Sometimes there really isn't enough space for a disabled access solution and a stairwell. This can cause issues for architects and designers, especially in existing buildings where complete floor redesign would be incredibly costly. In order to tackle this issue we offer a range of "collapsable" steps or stairwells. They blend into their surrounding area and we can even use the same existing materials so you wouldn't realise a lift was even there. The hidden lift above was installed at 24 Chiswell Street in London and was finished with the same tiling in order to create two symmetrical stairways. Without previous knowledge you wouldn't know the lift was there!
Applications for hidden lifts also stretch to offshore uses. We've created a number of bespoke solutions for several different types of boats. We had the pleasure of creating and installing a hidden platform lift on the Royal Barge - Gloriana for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. On the day of the jubilee the boat was used by members of the Help For Heroes charity. We've also undertaken a number of projects for private clients ranging from motor-yachts to ribs. The photos above are of a hidden lift that allows the user to get from the quayside onto their boat and vice versa. In addition it allows supplies and heavy goods to be transported onto the boat easily.