PLATFORM LIFT I SEPTEMBER 2019
Lift Type: Bespoke Platform Lift
Case Study: KPMG, Cork Office
Location: Cork City
At the beginning of 2018, Premier Lifts was called upon to assist in what the Contracting Engineer described as a unique and challenging project. The engineering company, PJ Hegarty & Sons, specifically approached Premier Lifts, as being the go-to company for tackling complex briefs. That reputation was put to the test in a project not without its irregularities.
KPMG Cork is a professional services company located in the heart of Cork on the famous South Mall. A team of over 160 professionals is based in the city centre office. For those unfamiliar with Cork, the city centre is an island in itself. In fact, the South Mall, the street upon which the office is located, was once a channel of the River Lee. And this was where the first challenge of the brief arose. Because the city centre is susceptible to flooding, the entire office is raised one metre above ground-level. A platform lift was needed to provide access to wheelchair users. But, added to that, as major flooding has occurred several times in the last decade, further flooding is inevitable. For that reason, the brief required a lift which could withstand being submerged in water for at least a short period.
A platform or step lift was required to bypass the five steps leading up to the main lobby. However, KPMG wasn’t sure if a standard platform lift would match the elegant aesthetic. For that reason it was imperative that the lift wouldn’t draw attention to itself. One of the main requirements was that none of the mechanics, masts or driving systems would be visible. It was also important that the lift’s flooring matched with that of the lobby. This meant that the lift would have to permanently hold 50kg of white marble.
For this project Premier Lifts installed a Bespoke Platform Lift with custom glass finish. This lift was manufactured specifically for this project. Although full waterproofing couldn’t be guaranteed, in order to contend with possible flooding, the lift was manufactured to the highest IP rating possible. There were also modifications required to adjust the max capacity. This particular lift has a max capacity of 250kg as standard. This abides by industry regulations. However, in having to carry 50kg of marble at all times, this was reduced to 200kg. Thankfully, a specialised design was able to increase the load bearing weight to 500kg while carrying the marble flooring.
The final hurdle to overcome was to design a lift that matched the luxury office interior. A full excavation, including a 200mm pit, was carried out to integrate the lift into an area perpendicular to the stairs. To match the interior, Premier Lifts opted for a toughened-glass lift with stainless steel posts. To operate without the need for a supporting mast, the entire driving system came from underneath. This meant all mechanics were kept out of sight. This removed the need for a mast. Added to that, the hydraulic unit which would normally be placed adjacent to the lift, was instead hidden behind the reception desk, nine metres away and completely out of sight.
The end result was a bespoke platform lift that is exclusive to the Cork office, an exact copy won’t be found anywhere in Ireland. KPMG was eager to have a platform lift that wouldn’t stand out. However, with the mechanics hidden away, a white marble floor and stainless steel glass, we hope that this lift catches the eye for an entirely different reason.