Skip navigation links Sitemap | About us | FAQs

UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality
Theme: Accessibility :
Accessibility for the Disabled - A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment
previousPrevious : Nextnext




Changes in level between indoor and outdoor areas.

Changes in level inside a building.

Insufficient space for ramps.


To allow people with mobility problems to have free vertical access between different levels.


3.1 General

*Platform lifts are special passenger-elevating devices for the disabled.

*Platform lifts can have either a vertical or an inclined movement.

3.2 Vertical movement platform lifts

*For maximum level changes of 2.50 m, vertical movement platform lifts may be installed adjacent to the stairs (fig. 1).

*For level changes of more than 1.20 m, the lift should be placed in a closed structure with doors at the different accessible levels (fig. 2).

*Vertical platform lifts can have a variety of opening for entry and exit (fig. 3).

3.3 Inclined movement platform lifts

*Inclined movement platform lifts consist of three elements: a railing, an electric generator and a moving platform or seat.

*The operating system of the lift can be either lateral (fig. 4) or suspended (fig. 5).

*Inclined movement platform lifts can be installed along the stair wall, as long as they do not obstruct the required width of the exit. The seat or platform can be folded when not in use.

*The minimum width of the stairs should be 0.90 m to allow the installation of a lift (fig. 6).

*Platform lifts can be installed on all types of stairs including switch-back stairs i.e. those with a rotation angle of 180 (fig. 7) and spiral staircases (fig. 5).

3.4 Lift size

*The minimum width of the lift platform should be 0.90 m and the minimum length should be 1.20 m (fig. 3).


*Platform lifts can provide access to existing buildings where it would be difficult or unfeasible to install a ramp or an elevator.

*Inclined movement platform lifts are usually used to connect one or more floors or to overcome split levels in existing buildings. In buildings that are or would be frequently used by persons with mobility problems, such devices should not be utilized.


(1) Platform lifts are also known as stairway lifts or wheelchair lifts.

Vertical movement platform lift installed next to stairs for max level changes of 2.50 m.
Fig. 1

Lift with alternative door at different accessible levels.
Fig. 2

Vertical platform lifts and variety of openings for entry and exit.
Fig. 3

Inclined movement platform lift with lateral operating system.
Fig. 4

Inclined movement platform lift with a suspended operating system.
Fig. 5

Minimum width of stairs is 0.90 to allow installation of a lift.
Fig. 6
Platform lifts can also be installed on switch back or 180 degree stairs.
Fig. 7
previousPrevious : Nextnext

Home | Sitemap | About us | News | FAQs | Contact us

United Nations, 2003-04
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Division for Social Policy and Development