We’ve devoted a lot of time on this blog talking about stair lifts. But this week, we’re devoting this space to a device that’s like a cousin to the stair lift, the vertical platform lift.
What is a vertical platform lift?
Just like the name suggests, a VPL is a platform used to carry people – whether they use a wheelchair, power chair or scooter – into their homes, even if there are steps into the house from a porch or garage. They can also allow people to access their decks or basement.
What are the benefits of installing a VPL?
Installing a vertical platform lift can:
- Improve quality of life for wheelchair users and other people with mobility issues
- Help ensure schools, businesses and other public buildings are up to code
- Provide accommodations in places where a wheelchair ramp might not be feasible
Why can’t I just build a ramp?
We aren’t saying a wheelchair ramp isn’t the answer. But for you to meet the standard building codes for ramp installation – and to make sure the person using the ramp is safe – you’ll have to make sure it adheres to exact measurements.
The formula laid out in the Americans With Disabilities Act requires at least one foot of ramp for every two inches of vertical rise. That means that if your porch is four feet off the ground, you’d need to build a ramp that is 24 feet long.
These requirements might make installing a ramp more expensive than you’re willing to spend or – at the very least – impractical for your property.
Are VPLs safe?
Yes. There are building codes created for the design of these devices, meant to ensure the safety of the user, and anyone else who might be nearby. Buyers should make sure the vertical platform lift they order comes from a qualified installer.
And VPLs are available with stay-dry canopies to protect users – and the lift’s machinery – during inclement weather.
Is a platform lift tough to operate?
Not in the least… There are up and down controls on the unit and the landing, so that ascending or descending on a lift is as simple as pushing a button.