Many people with mobility difficulties lead happy independent lives, but for the severely affected getting around can be a constant struggle. Fortunately, some have the support of family, friends and even their local councils.
Neath Town Council is well known for its commitment to making facilities accessible to wheelchair users and ensuring local businesses comply with the Equality Act, which forms the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain.
When it became necessary to furnish Neath Town Hall with a new platform lift, the council contacted Hurley & Davies, a local firm of chartered building surveyors and architectural consultants. It opted for the Prestige model platform lift from specialist lift supplier movemanSKG but because the hall is a listed building, building regulation compliance caused difficulties for the project.
"The new platform lift had to fit into an extremely tight space, which was already occupied by an existing non compliant staircase," explains Hurley & Davies Director Andrew Davies. "Building regulations dictated that a fire escape staircase must remain so, after liaising with CADW, the Welsh government’s historic environment service, consent was given to reconfigure the stairwell to accommodate the building requirements a complex architectural task."
"A stair lift wasn’t appropriate so we consulted movemanSKG, which advised us of its Prestige platform lift. The Sales Engineer, Gary Bound, took us to see Prestige in use at other sites and we were extremely impressed. Not only is the unit attractive and suitable for use in public buildings, it operates electrically rather than hydraulically. This is important because it removes the need for a lift pit or plant room and meant the lift does not breach the hall’s roofline, another requirement of CADW. Prestige also has a wide range of safety features. It was the perfect choice."
Neath Town Hall’s finished Prestige travels 4.6 metres between lower ground level, ground level and the building’s first floor hall. It has single entry configuration and a designated user control (DUC) system to prevent misuse.
Anne Ellis, Clerk to Neath Town Council, is delighted: "The hall is an important community resource - thanks to Hurley & Davies and movemanSKG, less able visitors have complete access to its facilities. Prestige also ensures the hall complies with the Equality Act. We worked closely with both companies to resolve the architectural issues facing the project and identify a lift that meets our requirements."
A variety of colours and finishes means Prestige blends into any given environment. To add to its aesthetic appeal, the unit is available with glazing in the shaft and has a wide range of options, such as a choice of handrails.
Hurley & Davies has a vast amount of consultancy experience in the public and private sectors. Established in 2003, the company offers an understanding of the relevant issues within these sectors delivering a comprehensive, innovative and specialist service to its clients.