LIFTS and STAIRS

OUTSIDE, ENTERING and INSIDE THE BUILDING.

FURNITURE and FITTINGS.

LIFT DETAILS.

TOILETS and BATHROOMS.

HOMES.

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LIFTS

Lifts should be in accordance with Part M of the Building Regulations.

There should be a clear space of at least 1500mm by 1500mm outside the door of a lift, clear of any door swings.

There should be a mirror on the wall furthest away from the door, at a suitable height so that a wheelchair user can see what is behind them if they have to reverse out.

The minimum floor size for an accessible lift, other than in residential buildings, is 1100mm wide by 1400mm deep.

Lifts should have audible and visible notification of floors reached and doors opening.

BUTTONS and CONTROLS

Particular consideration should be given to buttons being clearly visible, whether they have been activated or not. Their purpose should be clear and alarm buttons should be positioned where they cannot be activated easily by mistake. The buttons should be tactile, preferably slightly bowed, so that they project from the panel. This may enable assistance dogs to activate them. Tactile markings, such as Braille or raised numbers, should be to the side of the button so that the lift is not activated while the user is trying to find the appropriate control.

Controls should be between 900mm and 1200mm above the floor. The controls inside the car should be on a side wall, at least 400mm in from the door wall, so that a wheelchair user can reach sideways to operate them. It can help all users to have a second set of controls by the side of the door.

TYPES OF LIFT

Many lifts require lift pits at the bottom and motor rooms at the top. These can be difficult to accomodate in existing buildings. Alternative oildraulic and hydraulic lifts (slow speed lifts) may be suitable. They can have a more limited height of travel but require smaller lift pits and pump rooms can be away from the lift shaft. These may be slower but can also be more accurate in levelling up to a floor, so can be particularly suitable for wheelchair users, people with visual impairments, older people and many others.

PLATFORM LIFTS (Slow Speed Lifts)

Platform lifts can be used for moving between floors or up half floors and are useful for giving wheelchair users access to mezzanine levels, raised or lowered floor areas and performance stages.

STAIRS

Stairs should be in accordance with Part M of the Building Regulations.

There needs to be good illumination in stair wells. Stairs should not head towards glazed areas which will cause glare in people's eyes.

Open treads and tapered treads can be difficult and disconcerting for many users.

Tactile warnings in floor finishes at the top and bottom of stairs should only be used for external steps can help some people, particularly those with visual impairments.

Nosings of steps should be non slip and the top surface should contrast in colour and tone so that it is clear where the edge of each tread is. This helps all users.

HANDRAILS

There should be handrails to both sides of ramps or steps. Some people, such as those who have had strokes, may have a disability on one side of the body and therefore need a handrail on one side for going up and on the other side for coming down. The handrails are best as a 45 to 50mm diameter mop handle types which are easier to grip. Metal can be cold to grip.

Regulations and recommendations suggest a range of heights. For ease of use by people of different stature, heights between 900 and 1000mm above step nosings or ramp surfaces are good, with 900mm to 1100mm on landings. Balustrades to protect from falling over edges may need to be higher than these, in which case a seperate handrail should be provided below the guarding rail.

MORE ON HANDRAILS

Handrails should be continuous up the steps or ramp and should project beyond the top and bottom by 300mm. Tactile markings on the handrails before the ends will give forewarning to people with visual impairments (or to anyone who is not concentrating).

Handrails should be clearly visible by colour and tonal contrast.