Surveyors guide to the domestic lift

surveyors guide to domestic lift in the home

A domestic lift provides homeowners with the means to effortlessly travel between floors and are an alternative to the traditional stair lift, over which it has distinct benefits. But installing a lift in the home isn’t just for the less mobile among us, or the super rich – it’s also an excellent way of adding value and future-proofing your home to enable you to remain there into later life.

Today’s typical family home is more and more likely to be multi-generational and a lift can provide the means for the whole family to use the home. No longer do the less mobile or the elderly among us need to be confined to a single room or a ground floor room be dedicated as a bedroom.

The cost of installing a home lift varies, dependent upon what you expect of it as well as the type, size or style you choose or its location within the home. Costs to consider include building work, site preparation and installation as well as the cost of buying the lift and its delivery. A good supplier will undertake a site survey before quoting for the work, so you know the real cost.

There are four main types of lift available for home use, and costs also vary between them.

Non-hydraulic lifts move on self-supporting rails that move the lift through an opening in the ceiling. They have a small footprint and can be positioned just about anywhere and don’t need to be positioned next to a load bearing wall. There is no requirement for a pit below the lift and there is no lift shaft. This type of home lift can also cost considerably less than the other options available.

Vacuum lifts work through air pressure created by pumps and turbines, which pull the lift up. A slow reduction in air pressure lets the lift float smoothly back down again. There is no requirement for a pit below the lift or any hoist mechanism.

Hydraulic lifts are driven by hydraulic fluid and work using a pump that pushes the lift up and down through a piston at its base. They need a lift pit below the lift and require more maintenance than other types of domestic lift. They also need more space, including a separate machine room.

Traction lifts are moved up and down using a system of cables and a counterweight, and do not provide as smooth a ride as other types of lift. They also cost more to install than the other options.