Re: upstairs for Common House and lifts
From: Fred H. Olson (
Date: Tue, 7 Apr 1998 07:24:39 -0500
Lou Host-Jablonski, AIA   Design Coalition Inc.  designco [at]
is the author of the message below but due to a problem it was posted
by the Fred the list manager: owner-cohousing-L [at]
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------


In response to Lynn N.'s query, from Village Cohousing in Madison Wisconsin:

Our common house will have two shared, common levels (and in addition,
living units above the common levels). We've designed a lift between the
common levels, in a fire-resistive shaft with doors.  Lifts (sometimes
called 'vertical wheelchair lifts') are less expensive than elevators
($12,000 to $16,000), and take up less space (5' x 5' per floor, give or
take some inches, depending on the model you choose).  They're readily
available and the quality and features seem to be improving all the time.

We've placed our lift to serve the two covered accessible parking stalls (a
very desireable feature, if you can manage it, especially in a locale with
ice and snow), and the non-covered ones too.  We're also planning to use
the lift and carts to bring food up from the basement, and garbage and
recycleables down.  We chose to forego accessibility to the upper-level
units since we have a number of well-designed grade-level accessible units.

I don't know what UBC says about lifts, lift heights, weight and safety
requirements, fire ratings and penetrating floors and so on, as Wisconsin
uses it's own, custom building code. You should get very clear on these key
rquirements from your architect and/or inspector.  Here, this is a
permitted application, and I believe a more appropriate one than a
full-blown elevator, since a common house lift is likely to 'see' much less
use than , say, an elevator in a typical commercial building.  We've done a
number of these installations in churches and community centers, and they
work great.

Lou Host-Jablonski, AIA
Design Coalition Inc.
2088 Atwood Avenue
Madison, WI  53704

designco [at]

608/246-8846 (voice)
608/246-8670 (fax)

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