At Premier Lift Group, one of our most important functions is providing access to homeowners or residents whose mobility circumstances have changed over time. This could be a person with an adverse medical condition or someone recovering from an accident. It may be an individual in later life who is finding it difficult to move around their home. In a recent home accessibility project, Premier Lift Group worked with a lady who, due to illness, required a series of lifts to help her move around a complex she had long called home.
When an apartment complex is not built with wheelchair access in mind, retroactively fitting a lift can be less than straightforward. In this particular project, a four storied apartment with the front facing a busy street and the back into a beautifully designed yard, there were many elements to consider.
Although the client’s apartment was at the rear of the building, access was only possible through the street-facing side. The path to the client’s home included 8-10 steps from the enclosed front area to the basement, and swimming pool area, below. A short walk from there, a flight of steps traveled from the basement area onto a landing. Finally, as the apartment held the kitchen, garden and bedroom on three separate floors, a larger lift was required to travel between floors.
Within the project itself, there were many challenges that we will now go into in more detail. In all, this project encompassed a series of three lifts which would allow the client to move freely and enjoy her home during a difficult period.
This elegant property needed a bespoke solution that satisfied local planning requirements and also met the access requirements of the owner. Out of respect to the client’s privacy, we do not want to share too many details regarding their health background. However, we must note that although the client did not need a wheelchair at the present time, the lady and her family could not rule out the possibility of a wheelchair at a later date. The lifts needed to be installed in a way that would accommodate for this.
The overall building catered for our client and two other residents living on the grounds. It was important that the lifts did not impede the natural beauty of the building and its surroundings. As much as possible, the residents wanted the lifts to be kept out of sight. It was also important to keep structural changes to the absolute minimum. This meant that deep pits and the construction of interior shafts was not possible.
Within the project, there were a number of challenges.
Aesthetic – As much as possible, the tenants of the building wanted to keep all lifts out of everyone’s line of sight. That said, part of the brief required a lift that would travel between three floors and had to be fitted externally i.e. the lift was to be fitted as an extension of the building’s rear. This made it impossible to keep the lift completely out of sight. However, Premier Lift Group had to ensure that the lift complemented the surroundings, was aesthetically pleasing and allowed light to travel through the building.
Communication – A key aspect of the project was considering, not just the client, but all the building’s tenants. It was important to keep the neighbours informed at every stage of the installation. Our team worked hard to include them in discussions as best we could and cause minimum disruption to their daily lives.
Transporting Equipment – Although the back yard was quite a spacious area, getting equipment to the back presented a real challenge. The walled courtyard at the front of the building meant that transportation would have to be carried out in close quarters through an enclosed area. The team’s problem solving abilities would have to be put to the test.
On the front of the building, facing the street, was an enclosed courtyard area with electric gating. To provide access between this area and the basement (swimming pool area) below, Premier Lift Group installed a VPL200H Step Lift. This is the ideal solution for properties situated on a slightly elevated surface. The installation required no pit or any adaptations to the existing structure. This open-access-lift was mounted on top of the existing light-well. A sympathetic black finish on the railings meant the solution blended nicely with the surroundings. This solution provided a way for the client to access the basement area that was both easy to operate and maintain.
The second lift would provide access between the basement and the level at which the main elevator was located. The VPL200H Step Lift, installed in stage one, was the perfect option for open, outdoor areas. As the second lift was within the building and required travel along a straight staircase, Premier Lift Group opted for a bespoke IPL100 Inclined Platform Lift. The lift, which again required no pit, was mounted to the staircase and could be folded away when not in use.
Finally, to travel between the three floors of the building, Premier Lift Group installed the K-Motion. The K-Motion is Premier’s own range of machinery directive traction drive lifting platforms designed in partnership with Gruppo Millepiani. As structural upheaval was to be kept to a minimum, the K-motion’s low pit requirements and simple installation made it the perfect choice. Of course, this was the largest aspect of the project.
To solve the issue of transporting equipment over the wall and onto the site, our team worked with the client’s appointed builder to design a scaffold crash deck. We liaised with the local council to suspend two parking spaces so our Hiab delivery vehicle could park directly in front of the property. A crane, mounted on the hiab, could then lift our equipment directly onto the crash deck. This allowed the packaging to be dismantled and manoeuvred within the grounds of the property. This minimised disruption to the neighbouring properties
Both of the incline step lifts were installed with minimal impact to the building. Elegant bespoke finishes reduced the visual impact also.
As the largest of the three lifts, located in an open area, much consideration went into the installation of the K-Motion. The location where this glass lift was to be installed needed to be adapted in order to accommodate the installation. Works needed to be carried out to the upper level wrought iron balcony, lower level planter and raised patio flooring.
As the lift only required a 150mm pit, it was necessary to reconfigure the raised patio flooring to allow the lift structure to sit within it. The upper level balcony was cut away where necessary. This allowed the space for the new glazed lift shaft structure to be installed. Premier Lift Group constructed a satin stainless steel structure to support the lift.
The bespoke design of the K-Motion, was created to allow room for a wheelchair if required. Glazed telescopic doors and glass shaft complemented the glazed panoramic walls. The result was an uninterrupted view from the apartment onto the garden. From the outside looking in, the glass combined with sympathetic black, matched the existing balustrade, further enhancing the overall aesthetic.
This home accessibility project was a great success. Premier Lift Group was involved in the whole project from design and project management through to final installation. Throughout the duration of the project our team kept an excellent level of communication with engineers, builders and, just as importantly, with all the tenants in the property.
The end result was a collection of lifts that provided the client with full access to her property with minimal alterations to the existing building. The exterior glass lift flourished in the immaculately-kept courtyard.
For Premier Lift Group, this project was quite special. When a home has new-found mobility requirements that need to be addressed, it is always immensely satisfying to be able to provide a solution. We were very proud that the client was happy with the result.