As apartments rise vertically, elevators have become a necessity and they are coming with customised options. By Nandhini Sundar
These are days of sized-down apartment units. Is there room for incorporating home elevators? Certainly, say architects and companies coming with customised options that fit into the narrowest of spaces.
“New apartments are spreading vertical rather than horizontal, which immediately prompts the need for a home elevator”, says Architect Gunjan Das of NG Associates. “Earlier the residences were ground plus one, coming as they did on large sites. Now, with smaller sites, it is very common to see ground plus two levels in a residence and this automatically calls for incorporating an elevator or at least making provision for one for installation at a later date.”
According to Das, the need is not merely for the luxury segment but middle and upper class segment too as in most cases, home elevators are sought because of the need arising out of old age or disability.
Gunjan Das says there are many unbranded players in the market offering customised solutions. Safety parameters need to be addressed in such, she cautions. “In a commercial elevator, maintenance is addressed as it caters to public use but this is not so in a residence which means the safety parameters need to be looked into more rigorously.”
Architect Dinesh Verma, ACE Group Architects,says “Elevators are coming in compact sizes, they are custom designed to suit specific requirements and can be as small as to accommodate just one person too if need be.”
According to him, even if the interiors are packed to leave no room for an elevator, it can be accommodated in the exterior of the building, where the access can be through a window converted into an entry or built into a balcony or corridor or even a gap between two segments of the structure.
“These elevators do not need the conventional 1.5m pit or a lift machine room. They work on the principle of hydraulics and the new technology permits incorporating lifts even in an existing residence. The only factor is that they come with a height restriction of four levels as they work on oil pressure”, he elaborates.
As for cost and affordability, Verma points that it is purely based on the specifications used during customisation. “The elevator has to go with the décor of the interiors, so the material used and the exterior form and design would specify the cost.”
According to Vimal Babu, National Sales Head, Elite Elevators, currently there are no set standards for home elevators in the country. “Recognising this, we have teamed up with Thyssenkrupp to offer home elevators that follow European safety codes and pass through 194 different parameters of safety.
They require no pit and no headroom space. The lifts operate on single-phase power supply and require no oiling and lubrication on rails, which reduces maintenance cost to minimal.”
The premier model HE300 offered by the company runs on an innovative belt-driven technology as opposed to the conventional ropes, chains and piston. “This reduces maintenance cost and improves lifespan,” adds Babu. Elite Elevators comes with customised options to meet individual requirements, in size, shape and material use.
The company also offers a Flow 2A stair lift which is a chair lift operated by using a patented swivel technology.
However, according to Verma, it is not popular in residences unless it helps a wheelchair-bound patient in a space where a normal elevator cannot be accommodated.
Concurs Das, “The chair lift is very slow and not many opt for it unless other constraints prompt them to go for it.” If emerging trends in home elevator are to go by, there appears to be a growing market for it, though Das cautions on the safety standards which at present “may be neglected when opting for more affordable choices.”
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