For a building owner looking to make a facility ADA accessible, considering wheelchair users turns into a decision between a ramp or a lift. More often than not, the latter gets installed. It seems more budget friendly, it appears to be used by more people, and installation seems minimal.

Yet, wheelchair lifts offer far more benefits than they appear to have initially. Consider these points:

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Accessibility for a Greater Range of Individuals

What many don’t realize is, platform lifts aren’t reserved solely for wheelchair users. Ramps require physical exertion, and for those living with mobility limitations, climbing up or down starts to appear insurmountable.

In installing a lift, you’ll be providing access for:

  • Individuals using wheelchairs
  • Those who use canes, crutches, and walkers
  • Those with heart issues and emphysema

Ramps Take Up Space

When installing a ramp, meeting building codes requires one foot of horizontal distance for every vertical inch. As a result, you’ll need to add about 12 feet of ramp for a one-foot rise.

This is manageable for a 12- to 18-inch distance. However, to cover 18 inches, the ramp takes up about 75 square feet. Then, to continue to meet codes, ramps 30 feet or longer need to have a resting platform. A distance of 60 feet, then, requires two platforms.

Yet, for those with mobility impairments, scaling this distance – up or down – is nearly impossible without assistance. A lift, by contrast, takes an individual from point A to point B with minimal effort.

Too, realize that if the ramp’s left outdoors, you’ll be left clearing off snow and ice to avoid creating a safety hazard. With a lift, you’ll still need to create a slip-resistant surface, but it takes up less space, which means less maintenance for your team.


However, realize that wheelchair lifts are mechanical systems that need to perform up to code. Because of this continual need, you need to set aside time and budgeting for safety checks and maintenance – at least yearly, if not more frequently.

To set up a wheelchair lift in and around your facility, browse the inclined and vertical models offered through Apex, and give us a call to learn more.


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