Goods Lift

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A Goods Lift can save a huge number of trips up and down stairs when running a B&B, and conserve a lot of human energy. In commercial premises they can make lifting of heavy goods fairly easy.

Goods lifts can cost anything from under £100 to many thousand, so a basic goods lift need not be expensive.

Main Types

Overhead Rail Lift

These are the simplest and cheapest of all goods lifts. They have no goods cage, and use a rope hung from an overhead rail at 45 degrees to carry goods. The rope is fitted with hooks, and on these may be hung the goods to be lifted, or a sling or heavy duty bag. They may be mounted above head height over a flight of stairs, and take up no floor space. Weight rating is typically 100kg and up.

See Overhead rail goods lift

Platform Lift

These run up the side of stairs, and comprise a small fold down platform and motor unit on a low mounted rail. These are more often seen as disabled passenger lifts.

Dumb Waiter

These are probably the best known goods lifts, with many from Victorian times still in service. They consist of a small cabinet in a liftshaft, lifted by a loop of rope. A manually operated door at each level enables access to the lifting cabinet.

Victorian dumb waiters typically have no electric lift power or door interlocks, but electric power is easily incorporated into a new dumb waiter.

Small children like riding in dumb waiters, which can be a safety issue. One possible solution is to fit a fixed shelf inside so that a child can't fit in. An in-shaft buffer can also be used to reduce potential impact forces.

The degree of risk depends on the shaft height. Lifts running 3 or more floors present a potentially fatal safety issue, and must be properly interlocked and child-proofed.

Through Floor Lift

These are an old style of medium size lift with no lift shaft. The lift cage rises through the upper floor, often in an area normally walked over. This is arranged in either of 2 ways:

  1. a section of floor lifts up and open as the cage rises
  2. or the top of the lift cage replaces the missing upper floor surface when the cage is on the lower floor.

In the latter case the lift cage has no sides, and does not prevent normal use of corridor space when at the upper floor, you simply walk right through it.

These are space saving designs enabling retrofitting of medium sized lifts to premises with no space for a lift shaft, but there are significant issues that have caused them to fall out of favour.

  1. The floor you walk on lifts up underneath you if you're standing on it as the lift rises. Thus the lift can only safely be used by people that can see the lift's position on both floors, and kids can cause injuries through pranks.
  2. A lift left halfway up can obstruct access corridors on both levels, when fitted in a corridor. Thus a faulty or misused lift can be a fire escape hazard and a nuisance in these cases.
  3. Since in some designs the cage is walked through on the upper level, these warrant safety measures suited to passenger lifts, which are subject to stringent legal regulation.

Walk-in Goods Lift

Often found in industrial premises are full sized goods lifts. These look like passenger lifts, but lack the safety features of passenger lifts, and may not be ridden in.

See Also


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