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Guidelines for Using and Installing Wheelchair Elevator Lifts

AmeriGlide Atlas wheelchair lifts are sold every day to address the needs of homeowners, business, public, and government facilities. They are installed and serviced in every state in the union including Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Canada and Mexico. Our lifts can be configured to meet the requirements of ADA, ASME, A17.1, A18.1, and local statutes. Whether you are an architectural firm, builder, home owner, or simply doing research for your church or school, we can help you. Call us at 1 (800) 470-8940 any day between 9am and 10pm eastern time for free consultations.

Only recently has building access for persons with disabilities been incorporated into building design. As a result, it is a challenge to accomodate buildings not originally designed with handicap access in mind. Solutions involving ramps require one foot of ramp for every inch of height attained, and generally cost in the neighborhood of 175 to 200 dollars per foot to complete. The amount of space required to accomodate a ramp solution is generally quite large, and it is near impossible to compliment the building and adjacent areas or meet local building codes. Ameriglide Atlas vertical platform lifts address these concerns with small footprints, structural options, configurations to meet codes, with significantly lower costs.

Vertical lifts are flat platforms that typically operate with screw drives on standard 110 electrical outlets. They are often used for porch access outdoors as well as second story access inside homes or public buildings. Churches and schools may elect to use them to reach stages, and public facilities often select them because they can be configured to meet ADA expectations. Standard designs are for straight through entry/exit, but 90 degree turns or 3 stop lifts are also available.

When evaluating a location for a vertical lift you should plan on having an area approximately 4.5 feet by 8.0 feet in order to accomodate any entry/exit with at least 3.5 feet of room to line up a wheelchair for entry. Check to make sure there will be enough headroom over head when the lift is at full height. You should plan to have at least 7 feet of headroom above the platform at it's full height since passengers may be standing.

A firm, stable base must be available as the foundation for any lift. Keep in mind that a 5 foot lift may weigh up to 1600 pounds when occupied, and 12 foot lifts may weigh over a ton when occupied. For most outdoor or basement applications a concrete pad of at least 4 inches is preffered, and with steel rebar is best. Using supports such as recessed railroad ties is generally not advised on bare ground as the ground may shift and reduce the stability of the lift. If you are installing in a structure with wood floors you must allow for the weight of the lift and the maximum capacity on the footprint of the lift. This can be a much 1 ton or more so proper planning with regard to placement over the correct size floor joists is essential..

Ameriglide Atlas vertical lifts are also designed to operate outdoors with standard, UL approved, ground fault, 110 outlets. Our motors are located at the top of a sealed control tower to prevent water damage. The floors on the basic residential models are grated to allow water or snow to pass through, thereby allowing continued use in all but the most extreme weather conditions.

Many of our customers have elected to build enclosed shafts around the lift for new construction sites, as well as retrofit of existing structures. We can assist you or your builder with planning this process. You should call us prior to initiating such a project as the space requirements are always greater than the footprint of the lift.

Due to these considerations and others we think the best approach is to exchange information about your unique application. This allows you to obtain information about what others have experienced in similar situations, and it provides for the manufacturer to be involved in the process of selecting the proper solution.

This information is provided for general guidelines only and may not be suitable for all applications. Please call 1 (800) 470-8940 for more specific recommendations that focus on your unique requirements.

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