There are several considerations that must be kept in mind if you’re thinking about an elevator, dumbwaiter or any other kind of lift in your home, and one of these is space. There needs to be enough space in a couple different home areas to allow for elevator installation — ensuring you have this space ahead of time is very important for avoiding costly renovations or similar concerns.
At A+ Elevators & Lifts, we’re happy to offer the very best selection of home elevators, lifts and related products to clients in several areas of the country — and we’ll also assist with important concepts like ensuring you have the requisite space available to install one of our products. What are the important factors that will be considered here? Let’s take a look.
Firstly, because many of our clients are installing elevators or other lift products that speak to movement or handicap-related needs, we always make sure to keep the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind. This important document spells out several different considerations that must be kept in mind when installing products like this — and one of them is space.
There are several different factors to consider here, but some of the basic residential elevator compliance rules include a door width of at least 36″, a cab depth of at least 51″, and a width of at least 68″ for side doors (and 80″ for centered doors). These are just the dimensions, however — there are also several other concepts to consider.
These include the elevator shaft, the elevator cab, and the elevator pit. The shaft is the structure that will house the actual moving parts of the elevator — and it must be at least as wide as the cab, and at least twice as deep.
Generally, experts tend to recommend at least 18 square feet of space to build or retrofit a residential elevator, or more in cases where special circumstances are present. These might include a need for a wheelchair lift, or other similar considerations.
While space itself is naturally very important here, so is the weight capacity that your structure is capable of holding. Generally speaking, residential elevators come in four weight classifications: 500 pounds, 750 pounds, 950 pounds, and those over 1,000 pounds.
As you may have guessed, the weight capacity you need will be dictated by the amount of weight you anticipate needing to move on a regular basis. A 500-pound unit is designed for lighter loads, while a 1,000+ pound unit can accommodate not only heavier items but also multiple passengers at once.
In addition, your choice here will be dictated heavily by some of the existing components of your home, and the kind of weight the structure can realistically support. For instance, a concrete foundation will support more weight than a wooden one, while a three-story home can accommodate a heavier unit than a one-story abode.
Elevator Machine Rooms
Another key consideration is whether the elevator you’re looking into is operated using a machine room. Machine room-powered elevators refer to those that utilize a room, typically located on the roof or penthouse level, that contains the elevator motor and related parts.
Such elevators are going to require a little more space than other options, as they will need an area for the machine room itself as well as the elevator shaft. In fact, because of this extra space requirement, some localities don’t even allow machine room-powered elevators in certain structures — so it’s important to be aware of this possibility before making a purchase.
At the same time, however, machine room-powered elevators tend to be much more reliable and offer a smoother ride than their alternatives. So, while they might require a little extra space, they could end up being well worth the investment for many clients.
Naturally, the realm of safety is a huge one when it comes to products like this — and there are several different steps that must be taken to ensure that your elevator is as safe as possible.
In terms of space, one key consideration here is the need for an emergency stop button or switch. This should be installed on both the inside and outside of the cab, and should be within easy reach of any passengers who might be using the elevator.
In addition, it’s important to make sure that there is adequate lighting both inside and outside the cab, as this can help to prevent accidents. There should also be a phone or intercom system in place, so that anyone who becomes stuck in the elevator can easily summon help.
Not only this, but certain safety components that take up space will also typically be required. For instance, code-compliant safety gates are a must-have, as they can help to prevent people or items from falling down the elevator shaft.
In addition, an emergency power source is typically required in case of a power outage. This might be a generator, a battery backup system, or something similar — and it will need to have enough power to operate the elevator for a certain period of time, typically around two hours.
So there you have a few of the key considerations that must be kept in mind with regard to space when installing an elevator in your home. By being aware of these factors ahead of time, you can help to ensure a smooth and successful installation process.
For more on this, or to learn about any of our residential elevators, lifts or other products, speak to the team at A+ Elevators & Lifts today.