Stairlifts / 24 May 2022

Enabling accessibility for all: stairlifts and lifting platforms

Dibujo de rampa inclinada y salvaescaleras

Stairlifts are platforms or chairs that are attached to the staircase using rails to let anyone with reduced mobility travel safely from one floor to another. Through a rail installed on the wall or on the side of the stairs (as in the case of spiral staircases), the chair or platform can hold both people and objects. 

This invention has evolved considerably since it was first introduced around the 1930s, achieving significant advances in recent years in an effort to do away with any type of architectural barrier for people with reduced or limited mobility. Below, we review the characteristics of this solution and its current status.

If you are over 70 and have a disability or mobility problem

If you request it, the building is required to install a lift or stairlift

FAIN can help you find out how much it will cost and what steps to take

If the installation cost:

  • Exceeds 12 typical monthly residents’ association payments: Majority approval is required from a majority of owners to spread out the cost of the work or for the applicant to bear the extra cost.
  • Does NOT exceed 12 typical monthly residents’ association payments. Majority consensus by the owners is not required. The cost of the installation is spread out among all the residents based on their ownership percentages. 

Stairlifts in private homes

The Horizontal Property Act states that any property, such as a residential building, must guarantee the universal accessibility of any person who requires it. The adaptations needed to ensure this accessibility must be made both at the request of the residents’ association proper or at the request of a specific resident. Several measures can be taken to ensure universal accessibility, such as lowering the lift to ground level or installing a stairlift, to give two examples.

All that was required previously was for a simple majority of the homeowners in the residents’ association to reach an agreement. However, since the 2011 reform of said Act, residents’ associations are required to make the changes needed to ensure full accessibility if there are any disabled residents and/or employees in any of the flats in the building.

But who pays for the work? The payment can be financed and various subsidies can be requested, which vary depending on the Autonomous Community in which the property is located. The owners of the building or the residents’ association are responsible for the cost, as long as the annual apportionment of the cost of the work does not exceed twelve ordinary association payments, after deducting any corresponding grants and subsidies.

What types of stairlifts are there and which one is right for you?

Once the decision is taken to install a stairlift, you will no doubt have certain questions. Which type is best for my circumstances? How do the different models available differ in practice?

If what you need is a mobility solution for an elderly person or someone with reduced mobility who has problems walking, we recommend the straight stairlift, since works are not required to install it. This is the most efficient and affordable solution to span a flight of stairs, and does not require a large space to operate.There are also curved stairlifts for people with reduced mobility, which has a seat and also does not require works. It is used to span indoor and outdoor staircases with landings and curves. The majority of these stairlifts have more power and special elements that allow them to span different changes in altitude.

Lifting platforms are the perfect solution for people in wheelchairs or with more severe mobility problems. This solution features a base installed on the wall using one or two rails. Vertical platforms, as well as short-travel vertical lifts, can span heights of up to 3 metres, but, unlike the more compact stairlifts, the latter have smaller space installation requirements, though they do need a power outlet. This smaller space varies depending on the model; for example, the vertical stairlift platform needs a space of 1300 × 1200 mm. For the inclined platform, there are several models with different area requirements, the minimum being 700 x 900 mm. In addition, to ensure people can be evacuated, the stairs must have a minimum clearance of 1,000 mm, which can be reduced to 600 mm when the platform is deployed.  

The only difference is that vertical lifts, in addition to a platform, feature small walls that are open at the top to protect riders. Both can be used in public or residential buildings and are easy to install, providing an elegant and practical solution. FAIN lifts have a hydraulic lifting system and are comfortable, robust, safe and very quiet. But what about the maintenance on these systems? Although this system complies with the current regulations on machinery, meaning maintenance is not required by law, it is recommended since with proper corrective and preventive maintenance, we can identify potential problems and ensure the correct operation of the lift, extending the service life of the device and ensuring the safety of its users. Moreover, with the FAIN maintenance service, we provide same-workday service to resolve any issue you may be experiencing, be it a flooded lift or any other kind of problem.

We help you throughout the process

At FAIN, we specialise in finding the best solutions for your particular case with the aim of helping you to improve your accessibility and mobility within your building or home in the most practical and safest way for you. Our sales reps will create a free, no-obligation budget that reflects the characteristics of your building, your mobility problem (if there are seniors in the home or people with reduced mobility or disability), and your budget. Our technicians, who have years of experience in the sector and are certified, will ensure that your stairlift works perfectly every time. Don’t hesitate to contact us! You can do so by using the website form, calling 914093101 or emailing [email protected].