The Evolution of the Modern Platform Lift - Gartec Platform Lifts


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Welcome to your online CPD seminar - The Evolution of the modern platform lift.


Introduction to Gartec

We are Gartec, part of the Latour group of companies. Aritco is our Swedish platform lift manufacturing partner. Vimec are our Italian lift manufacturer and a recent addition to the group. TKS is the latest lift company to be included and is based in Norway. Gartec are the UK division of Latour group providing installation maintenance and repair services for all OF The Latour group tour group companies products across the UK. Gartec are celebrating 25 years as the UK's number one supplier and installer of platform lifts.


We have BIM objects for our main platform lifts, to make it easier for you to specify our lifts particularly on any government funded project where BIM is a mandatory requirement, such as the latest batch of education projects. We are continually expanding our product portfolio, which now includes step lifts, hydraulic and traction cabin lifts and a large range of goods lifts.


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Today we will be looking at:

  • What is a platform lift.
  • The evolution of the legislation for platform lifts
  • Features and benefits of platform lifts
  • The common applications for platforms lifts


What is a platform lift?

In the beginning the evolution of the platform lift started as a basic industrial shelf, referred to simply as a lifting platform. The first commercial lifting platform was an Otis forklift for loading goods onto the ships in the docks and was first demonstrated in New York in 1854. Platform lifts have evolved from a simple winch shelf for platform to the fully enclosed passenger carrying platform lifts we recognise today. The evolution of modern platform lift design has been driven by legislation, which we will look at a little later on.


Open Platform Lifts

The first design evolution was the open platform lift.  Today their use is defined and restricted by the height of travel and can usually only be through entry. Basic safety features include pressure sensors beneath the platform and a dead Man’s hold-to-run control system. The main legislation for open platforms in the UK is BS 6440.


Enclosed Platform Lifts

The next evolution is the enclosed platform lift which comes with a fully enclosed shaft, surrounding the moving platform. The platform lift enclosure can be in glass or steel panels. It is possible to further clad the platform lift enclosure to your own specific design. The platform lift can be installed as a free standing unit or into an existing masonry shaft. This evolution provides for up to 13 metres travel which is approximately 6 floors.

The entry configuration can be different on different floors and can even include multiple landing doors at each level on any of the three sides. The platform lift is still mandatory hold to run controlleds, but the landing core buttons are single touch operation. The lift is designed for total safety in use and includes all the legislative safety features such as emergency provisions and battery backup. The standard design includes manually operated, fully glazed swing doors with fire rated doors and automatic openers as a design option.


Enclosed Cabin Platform Lift

The next evolution has a full cabin style passenger carrier within the enclosure, this gives the look and feel of a conventional lift with single touch operation throughout the lift. With an enclosed cabin platform lift you get an internal car door as well as the standard designs swing landing doors.


The Latest Evolution

The final evolution brings the enclosed cabin platform lift into the modern era. Incorporating fully automatic telescopic sliding doors this evolution can be installed into a traditional masonry lift shaft. It can also be supplied and installed into a stand alone steel structure incorporating glass or steel panels or individual designed cladding. Larger sizes available for NHS and emergency service stretcher use. And this final evolution provides the look, feel, operation and performance of a conventional passenger lift. So to summarise from the basic lifting platform at the docks to the modern evolution you benefit from:

  • automatic telescopic doors,
  • improved safety in use,
  • larger sizes and capacity
  • shaft enclosure options
  • the look and feel of a conventional passenger lift.


Platform Lift Legislation

Next up, the evolution of platform lift legislation. There has been a lot of legislation of the years relating to platform lifts as their use has evolved. BS 6440 evolved for open platform lifts. The machinery directive involved many changes including safety and operational focus.

ISO 9386 was combined with the machinery directive to create EN 81-41. And the disability Discrimination Act became the Equality Act in 2010 and influenced other legislation including in EN 81-7.


Building Regulations Part M2

Approved document M2 of the building regulations provides details such as the height of handrails, door widths, buttons and controls, all necessary for the inclusive use of the lift.  It contains specific section for platform lifts, covering minimum platform and cabin dimensions. There are just a few mandatory requirements for the client to provide on site such as adequate lighting at each landing.


Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC)

The machinery directive is a huge regulation around the safety of machinery in use, for platform lifts it runs in conjunction with the lift directive. All platform and cabin platform lifts are limited to a speed of 0.15 meters per second, there are no exceptions. Platform lifts with the travel over 3 meters must be CE certified and type tested by an approved notified body. As platform lifts are governed within the machinery directive and not the lift directive, this does allow a greater freedom of design and adaptability to the installed environment, with less time and lower costs.


EN 81-70

EN 81-70 is all about inclusive access and is part of the evolution of the DDA and the Equality Act. One of the main client provisions when planning a building is a 1500 millimetre turning circle infront of every lift landing door. For a standard 1100 millimeter wide platform lift, the entrance must be a minimum of 900mm wide to fully accommodate wheelchair entry.


EN 81-41 (2010)

EN 81-41 is the unified standard for all platform lits supplied and installed in Europe. EN 81-41 ensures compliance for CE certification and current platform lift legislation and standards. All lifts manufactured to EN 81-41 will satisfy the requirements of the machinery directive, approved document M2 and BS 644 where applicable.



A communication interface must be included on your lift which can be a simple intercom or a sophisticated GSM auto dialer. With the latest evolution of the platform lifts there are only two legislative differences between a platform lift and a conventional passenger carrying lift.

The speed, as previously stated, is limited to 0.15  metres per second, no exceptions.

Hold-to-run controls are mandatory on all platform lifts unless they incorporate a full lift cabin with fully closed internal doors.


Other Legislation


Health and Safety

LOLER, lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations. This is a health and safety at work regulation. Platform lifts require a thorough assessment by a certified body at least twice a year. This is a responsibility of the building manager and applies to all lifting equipment in the workplace.


Building Design

BREEAM is a credit based system relating to the environmental impact of a building and is an optional process for building design. 2 credits of the total score is linked to lifts. A platform lift permits the reduction of these two credits from the total BREEAM target. BIM objects are 3D models which are required on all government funded projects.


Features and benefits of Platform Lifts

Let's take a look at the benefits of platform lifts. Open platform lifts include an integral ramp in their basic design and do not usually require any pit. Enclosed platform lifts usually require a shallow recess or a ramped entry can be incorporated into the design. An open platform lift has no specific headroom requirement, but provision must be made for a standing user of the lift. Enclosed platform lifts require 2,250mm headroom and cabin platform lifts require between 2,400 and 2,700 millimeters.


Platform lifts must be supplied with their own enclosure which may eliminate the need for a masonry shaft. A platform lift usually requires a lot less space than a conventional lift and is far more energy efficient. Lower costs and reduced install time and reduce builders work. All we really need is the hole through the floor and a power supply.


Platform Lift Options

So the most common options selected for platform lists are:

  • A full glass enclosure which will give a stunning architectural effect
  • Fire doors can be provided to protect fire zones and escape routes
  • It is possible to have a door on any of the three sides of the platform lift
  • Internal or external installations are possible
  • Bespoke colours and flooring
  • Secure access options including key switches card readers and toggles can be incorporated into the design


Incorporating a platform lift into your project can have a significant impact on project time scales and costs with reduced lead, manufacture and installation time.


Platform Lift Environments

Platform lifts work almost anywhere, however for projects where a lift traffic analysis reveals a very high use of the list is expected, platform lifts should not be considered. Platform lifts have already been installed in hundreds of building types. Platform lifts are installed into over 400 schools each year. They are an ideal solution for shots with a mezzanine level. And an ideal solution for small offices and leisure centres.


With minimal building work and simple fixings to reduce damage, an ideal solution for faith and listed buildings. Certified for light goods and trolleys with up to 500 KG capacity, they are ideal for light industrial use. Stretcher sized cabin platform lifts fits a regulation NHS trolley. They are suitable for communal areas in flats and sheltered housing projects.


Finally, thank you for watching if we can help with any lift projects you have coming up, please just get in touch.


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