Stair lifts

Elevator icons (Picture: Grey59/
Elevator icons (Picture: Grey59/

Stairs are often cumbersome for people without a disability and after the 3rd floor even pose a real challenge. For people with a disability they are however far more, that is to say inside as well as outside an insurmountable obstacle. Various elevator and lifting systems within the area building services are providing relief.


A disability can be caused by an accident, sickness or simply old age, which can make the up to then, more or less problem free task of climbing a stairs impossible. An elevator can be of assistance, whether it's within your own four walls, at a museum or cinema visit or even at the ascension to a sightseeing platform.

A suitable model for every stairs

Every stair lift is custom made, whereby for every form of stairs be it straight, curved, angular, round, narrow or wide there is a suitable model available. Stair lifts for straight stairs are usually operated by means of a rack and pinion drive, which is either mounted on the steps of the stairs or on the wall. The drive unit with seat moves along the rack drive. For curved stairways, specially shaped carrier rails and friction drives are often used. The stair lift is operated by a lever in the arm rest or with a remote control.

Standing stair lifts

Stair lifts may have a fixed or a fold up seat, where by the second type can also be used as a standing stair lift. The seat is fitted on request with back- and arm rests, foot rests, safety belt, folding barriers and safety brakes. Stair lifts are also suitable for wheelchair users when there is a wheelchair available on the other floor levels, which they can use. Various models are specially conceived for outdoor use. Unlike the conventional stair lift, these lift are built from water resistant materials

Platform lift for wheelchair users

Platform lifts are a further relatively simple and secure solution, to the problem of allowing people with disabilities to move between different floor levels. They are primarily thought for wheelchair users. The person drives his/her wheelchair onto a platform where it is secured with barriers and safety brakes. Platform lifts like stair lifts are available for both, straight as well as curved stairways, are secured depending on type, either to the wall or mounted on the steps and are conceived for indoor as well as outdoor use. When the lift is not in use the platform can be folded up and so taking up less space.

Stair climber as an alternative

Wheelchair users also have the alternative to use a so called stair climber. These devices have the advantage over fixed stair lifts that they can be relatively easily transported and therefore can be used in many different places. The stair climber can also be used by people with impaired mobility in rented apartments as no structural changes are necessary. The disadvantage is that the person in the wheelchair is dependent on the help of a second person

The ramp is too steep and installing an elevator dosen't pay

Implementation of ones own self determined plans: people with limited mobility are also assisted with this goal thanks to lifting devices and lifting platforms. When the different height levels can no longer be mastered with the wheelchair and the construction of an elevator can not be justified due too the small height difference, then the purchase of a lifting device almost becomes a must, this eases the lives of those concerned as well as the relatives and carers. There are also numerous possibilities for indoor and outdoor uses in this area. The numerous suppliers in this market guarantee that products are compact, light yet extremely strong, easy to install and transport.

Author: Patrick Gunti, Sep.2007. Translation: PmcC