update: April 2018
Vertical wheelchair platform lifts can be installed in two forms, the enclosed outdoor platform lift or the open-air indoor platform lift. In order to be ADA complaint, wheelchair vertical lift elevations have to be built between the sizes of 12’ and 14’ 3” inches, and which are applied to 2 or 3 stops. Outdoor platforms require a sturdy enclosure made from solid walls and not just open rails. However, outdoor vertical platform lifts are made from aluminum or steel since which are durable for long term usage and weather resistance.
Alternatively, Plexiglas material is great to incorporate elements of style into the vertical platform lifts, in addition to help avoid claustrophobic tendencies. Ventilation systems may also be required as outdoor platform lifts are entirely enclosed from all sides including the top for weather protection. Full enclosures require a space of 42 inches. Other code-compliant features include a five square feet space for wheelchair turnarounds at entrances and exits.
On the other hand, indoor vertical wheelchair platform lifts do not require full enclosure. However, for the purpose of safety, the gates of these lifts have to be high enough to prevent wheelchairs from falling out. An example of a indoor vertical chair platform lift is the OPAL model from Garaventa Accesibilities. This platform lift is equipped with safety features like an emergency stop switch, grab rails, an alarm switch and five safety switches to stop the platform in case of obstructing objects. In the event of a power outage, an assisting power system on batteries activates automatically upon power failure. The hydraulic platform lift model can also be operated manually should the need arise to lower the platform without power.
Some enclosed models for outdoor use include the vertical wheelchair lifts from Garaventa. These units are equipped with all the features mentioned within the OPAL model, with a few additional gadgets such as an interlock for safety and a full-length door in replacement of the partial gate. The frames of this platform lift are produced from extruded aluminum or galvanized steel for durability. Smoked Plexiglas also proves to be an excellent choice as an alternate décor option.